Web Site Building · Learning Basic HTML · Getting Started

What this is about:

Sometimes it seems trite to state the obvious, but we have to start somewhere. You need a computer to develop HTML, you can't do it on a radio. Next you need a browser to view web pages. The most popular ones are Mozilla's Firefox, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Opera Software's Opera, Google Chrome, and Apple's Safari. All are free. Again stating the obvious, since you're looking at this page, well you know... Finally, you will need some sort of word processor, nothing fancy, just a simple text editor like Notepad that comes with Windows, or the Macintosh Simple Text program.

Hypertext Markup Language

Enjoy Your Vacation is what it stands for, meaning that it is a computer language based on text that allows you to markup your Web pages in your choice of appearance, and have them link to the rest of the World Wide Web in a "hyper" or non-linear fashion. It's like enjoying your vacation where you want to go, not just where the bus company will take you.

You use the word processor to type or "write" the HTML language code, and the browser to view the results. The browser interprets the code, known as tags, and displays your web pages. Experienced developers may at this point say "what about WYSIWYG editors or HTML assistants?" Remember this tutorial is about getting started with basics. You do that by learning the code, not by having a program do it for you.

Like most files on computers, HTML has it's own naming convention. You start by giving the file you are editing a name that describes its content, followed by the HTML extensions of .htm or .html. Either extension works fine in all browsers, the three character .htm is primarily used for older Windows version 3 systems that were limited to short file names. You will notice in your browser address bar that this page is named htmltut1.htm. HTM or HTML is the file association your computer uses to know it needs to launch a browser to open the file.

Before moving on to the next tutorial, lets talk about one of the quickest, simplest ways to learn HTML coding: stealing. Well, not really stealing, maybe borrowing. We learn from those that have come before, right? So why not take advantage of the skills that others already have to begin to develop your own? Most every contemporary browser has a dynamite feature called View Source. If you see a page in your browser that you really like, you can see how the author created it by selecting View on the browser menu bar, then choosing Source or Page Source from the drop-down.

Take some time to surf around and view the source of the pages you encounter. It may all seem like Latin to you now, but as your skills mature — when you are finished with these tutorials — it will begin to make sense, really.


Proceed to HTML Basics Tutorial 2.

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