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There is ALOT to learn about HTML, but, the best approach is to start with the basics and keep it simple.  This primer assumes that you have a general understanding of how Web servers/browsers work, have access to a web server, and that you want to produce HTML documents for personal use in local viewing mode.

HTML Documents

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.  HTML documents are plain-text files that are created using any text editor (like notepad).  You can also use any word processing software if you remember to save your document as "text only with line breaks".

HTML Editors

HTML Editors referred to as WYSIWYG (an acronym for "what you see is what you get") editors, are also available.  It means that you design your HTML document visually, as if you were using a word processor, but you are not writing the markup tags in a plain text file, the software does it for you.  It is useful to know enough HTML to code a document before you start using a WYSIWYG editor, in case you want to add HTML features that your editor does not support.

For this class we will be using Web Express , which is highly rated and available for a reasonable cost, but you can use any program that you have or like.

HTML Resources

Let's start with a few resources to get started.  If you have any, please share them and we will add them to the list.

  • There are many great resources online for HTML. The absolute best way to learn how to do something you have seen on a web site that you like is to use the View>Source (or equivalent) from your Internet Browser.  The file contents with all the HTML tags are displayed in a new window.  You can see how the HTML is written and pick up  tips.  You can also save the source file with the HTML codes modify it and use it as a template for one of your web pages.

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

  • Library of Congress for HTML

  • Useful HTML Tags And Their Attributes from Builder.com

  • Resources- HTML Chart from Hitbox.com

  • HTML Cheatsheet from Webmonkey

  • HTML for Dummies at Amazon.com

  • Creating Web Pages for Dummies at Amazon.com

  • Web Express at MVD.com

Loading Files to a Server, FTP

Once you have created your HTML document you will need to publish (upload) your HTML files and images to your web site.  This is done via an FTP connection from your computer to your web site providers server.

FTP, File Transfer Protocol is a client-server protocol which allows a user on one computer to transfer files to and from another computer over a TCP/IP network. Also the client program the user executes to transfer files.  There are many FTP programs available, check them out at CNET.com My personal choice is FTP Explorer , because is so easy to use, has a windows type interface and is freeware.  Many of the HTML Editors also have FTP capability in the program.

We will cover be covering more about FTP a little later.

Web Sites

There are still web site providers that will give you enough free web space to start your web site.  It would be a very good idea to go get a web site if you do not have one already.  There is no way you will be able to learn HTML without one.  By far I think that Geocities is the best one to get started with.  They give you ample free web space and you can also enroll in their Web Tech University to take HTML classes.  They do require that you have a geocities web site to post your lesson results to. 

Note: Many of these providers have their own WYSIWYG programs that you can use to build your site.  The problem is that the each use specific customized HTML tags in their WYSIWYG program, so if  you transfer the HTML Files to another server, you will have alot of editing to do to remove those tags so your web pages will be viewable.

HTML Classes

There is so much to learn that I would recommend that you also take a look at some classes.  Some are free and some are for a fee, but worth the investment of your time and money.

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