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Getting Started

Introduction to Tags

The commands in HTML are called various things--flags, tags, codes, etc. Basically the "tags" are commands with attributes and values. A command will begin with a less than sign <, end with a greater than sign > and the command itself will be encased between the two.

For example:
<HTML> - This is the beginning tag for all HTML documents. Most tags will have an ending tag: </HTML>

The attributes and values will go inside the less than < and greater than > signs the same way the command does.

For example:
Will produce a horizonal line aligned to the right with a size of 65% of the screen (or table cell in this case) and no 3D effect:

All commands will be formatted as so: <command attribute="value">.
Attributes and values are always joined by an equals sign (=) with the specification on the left, the value on the right, and no spaces. Most values usually will be encased in double quotes (" ").

Unlike other programming languages, the commands in HTML can be either in upper or lower case. Some people prefer to use upper case commands for locating the commands easily during editing, others perfer to use lower case for simplicity in typing the code. Use whichever you are more comfortable with.

Planning a Web Page

First thing you should do is determine the content of your page. A good web page always begins with careful planning. Once you determine the content, decide on a layout (how you want the information to be positioned on the page), then decide on design (the look and feel of the page). Good web page design depends on these three aspects. Never begin a page without planning the page first.

Coding a Web Page

To get started coding your web page, you will need either an HTML editor or a word processor. I use Notepad with Windows. Most free hosting services have an editor built in with your account. Check the FAQ if you use a free hosting service.

If you want to make your own grahics, I strongly recommend PaintShop Pro or Adobe Photoshop which are excellent programs that are easy to learn. 

Notepad is included in all Windows OS. If you'd rather have a few shortcuts and auto codes, you should download or purchase an editor such as Tag (basic layout)< HotDog (excellent help), or one of the many shareware editors you can find at Download.com. If you are not comfortable with downloading ZIP files, you may want to purchase an editor, there are many excellent commercial editors to choose from. 

Saving the file

You must always save your main page file as index.htm or index.html. You can name the rest of your pages anything you wish. Don't use spaces in your file names. CASE MATTERS! If you use caps in your file name, you must reference that file by using the upper and lower case letters used in the file name. If you get an error such as "404 - File not found", check to make sure you have spelled the file name correctly in your <a href=> tag and that you've got the file in your directory. It is easier if you just keep all of your files in the same directory. Always look for the simplest mistakes first.

Viewing the page

You can view your page by opening it in any web browser. It is a good idea to have both Firefox and Internet Explorer (IE) installed on your computer so you can test your page in both. Different browsers will display a web page differently. Firefox and IE are the two most widely used browsers on the market; there are many others, but it wouldn't be wise to put all of them on your PC just for testing purposes. Go with the majority.

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