Setting Up A School Website: HTML The Language of the Web
Hyper Text Markup
Language made up of regular letters and numbers (ASCII
text), it is a code that tells the browser how to render the page. The
code consists of a variety of "tags" which contain commands that are consistent
with many word processing and page layout elements. HTML is a "language"
that is in its third generation (HTML 3.2 is the current officially recognized
standard, with 4.0 being used by designers who want to take advantage of
all of the capabilities of the Communicator and IE 4.0-generation browsers).
Web designers must have some command of HTML if they are to have some control
over the elements on their pages and on their web sites.
One can do a search using any of the major search engines using the
terms "HTML Tutorial" in order to gain a huge list of HTML lessons on the
web. One such lesson can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/doc/basics.html.
This site contains a list of often-used HTML tags. To view other great
HTML web sites, visit my organized bookmarks and look for HTML tutorials,
especially the HTML Tutorials page
by John C. Gilson.
HTML editors can be divided into two flavors: code-based editors, and
WYSIWYG editors. WYSIWYG stands for "what you see is what you get" and
the term applies to these editors because as one moves the elements around
the screen, the page is being developed pretty much as it will appear on
the page itself. These editors require little or no knowledge of HTML code.
The code is automatically generated as the designer activates the buttons
and dialogue boxes of the program. One can still alter the program-generated
code by using a code based or regular text-based editor. Two of the most
effective and popular WYSIWYG page editors are Netscape's Composer and
Code-based editors require a reasonably commanding knowledge of HTML.
These editors simplify the tasks of adding links, images, manipulating
page layout elements, and previewing the page in the browser, but one must
still be able to analyze and correct the code that results from pointing
and clicking within the editor. One of the most effective code-based editors
North's HTML Assistant Pro. This editor was available as freeware (HTML
Assistant Pro Free 3), but now only the shareware version is available from its web site. After thirty days, get ready to shell out $89.95. Composer
is free with your download of Netscape
Communicator. Microsoft FrontPage sells for about $200. But a "lite"
version of it is available for free with a free download of Microsoft's
Internet Explorer 4.0.
While WYSIWYG editors are great time savers, they often fail to achieve
the effect desired by the web page designer. It is important, therefore,
for the designer to be able to manipulate the code after it has been generated
by the editor. Microsoft FrontPage is the strongest editor in this area
because it allows the designer to easily move between WYSIWYG and code-based
modes. Once the code has been corrected or manipulated, the designer can
move back to a non-code mode, which allows for both time-saving and control.
Composer requires the designer to go to an external editor such as notepad
or HTML Assistant to manipulate the code of the page being worked on.
Which editor is the best? That depends on what task one is working
on at the time. Composer and FrontPage have great tables editors. FrontPage allows for the easy development of frames. Notepad and PICO (used with
telnet while dialing to a designer's Unix Shell) are great editors for
quick, brief non-code-based corrections. HTML Assistant is excellent for
adding links and graphics without having the editor rewrite one's code
by accident (Composer is notorious for this). It all depends of what the
designer is trying to achieve at that moment in the least amount of time.
Setting Up A Web Page Template
One way to save much HTML coding time is to develop a simple template
into which web content can be inserted by way of text-editor or HTML editor.
The template will contain the basic HTML tags of any simple HTML document.
The busy webmaster, be s/he stude nt or teacher, can just bring up the
template, and when the document is done, it should be saved under another
title so as to not overwrite the original. Here is what a template might
look like using HTML Assistant:
This screen shot illustrates many of the basic HTML tags one needs to
know to code simple web pages.
In the various trainings I have designed, I have used two rudimentary
web page templates. These are avilable to you here. Just click on the link,
load the page, hit the file menu in your browser and save the file to your
hard drive. The file will need to be renamed when you save it after editing
so that your template remains untouched. Use your favorite editor to make
the needed changes. Be sure to delete any "dummy information" and add in
your own data.
View Source: Your Own HTML Tutor
One way to see how it's all set up is to look at the HTML that makes
up the pages of the web itself while viewing them, which can be done by
using Netscape's View Source feature. With it, you can see the URLs that
point to the other pages, the tags that give a page that special flare,
and the filenames of graphics that have been used. One can also use the
Windows commands "copy" (control-C) and "paste" (control-V) from the source
document being viewed to cut and paste elements from the Web itself directly
to the text- or HTML editor. So the next time you spot a table or effect that you like, you can go to View, Source, cut and paste that HTML text
into the document you are working on. LYNX also allows you to view the
source HTML with the \ command. Internet Explorer also allows one to see
HTML source code by clicking on "view," then "source." Notepad with open
with the code contained within.
If you have Microsoft's PowerPoint, you can download this quick classroom-based
tutorial on Developing
Web Pages With HTML Assistant.
If you have installed the
plug-in for PowerPoint Animations (Win 95 only), you can view this
presentation right in your own browser.
Links to other pages and sites
Your school's website would be quite limited if it did not consist of
a number of pages on different topics and links to other sites that might
interest the reader. One can link pages to other pages within the site
or to documents existing on computers a all over the world. As seen below,
one can create a link by using the URL of the target document and placing
it within an HTML command that looks like this:
<a href="http://www.someplace.com/filename.htm">The name of the
This series of tags tells the browser to look for a document on the
WWW server of someplace.com. The "a" stands for anchor, the "h" for hypertext,
and the ref is for reference. The </a> tells the browser to end the
To set up a link within one's own website, a partial URL is all that
is needed: <a href="/directory/subdirectory/filename.htm>filename
or even <"filename.htm"> if the file is in the same directory
as the HTML file being edited.
Using Paint Shop Pro For Your Website's Images
George Cassutto's Cyberlearning
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