NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
A Little More HTML
Dale Oliver, Vice President, September 99
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I'd like to begin by thanking Joe for his excellent presentation on HTML basics during our last meeting. It appears that quite a number of our members are interested in learning more about creating their own Web pages. For this reason, I decided to discuss HTML a little bit more, and briefly review from an overview perspective what it is and what it isn't.

What it is: A clever way of using plain text to give special software (Web browsers) the ability to display documents in a beautifully formatted way.

What it isn't: Too awfully complicated.

HTML is actually quite simple. Really! It's not some arcane programming language designed specially for eggheads and computer geeks. In fact, HTML files are nothing more than plain text files that contain some extra "tags" that indicate how you want your document to look when viewed using Web browser software.

Think about older versions of WordPerfect software, or even WordStar for that matter. You had to manually insert codes into your document to tell the word processor how to display certain parts of the document (bold, italic, right aligned, center aligned, etc.) That's really all you are doing with HTML-- nothing more, nothing less. That's not too mysterious, is it?

When designing your Web page, consider only typing the body text first. Once you have finished with what you want to say, go back and start formatting it one step at a time using the various HTML tags. This may help provide you with a stepwise approach rather than trying to tackle everything at once and becoming overwhelmed.

In addition to the sites listed in Joe's helpful handout, you may also want to consider stopping by the following excellent HTML tutorial sites: The NCSA Beginner's Guide to HTML can be found at: http://www.ncsa.edu/General/Internet/WWW/HTMLPrimer.html. This is an excellent starting point for learning (or brushing up on) HTML. Sizzling HTML Jalfrezi is an impressive guide to every facet of HTML you can imagine, starting with the basics and progressing through to advanced tips and tricks. It can be found at http://vzone.virgin.net/sizzling.jalfrezi/iniframe.htm. Once you've mastered the basics and are ready to push your HTML knowledge to the limit, check out D.J. Quad's Ultimate HTML Site at http://www.quadzilla.com/. Be careful, this last one may make your head explode!

And don't forget, when you're surfing around on the Internet and you find a particularly attractive or well designed Web page, be sure to view the source HTML to see just how they did it. You can learn more about HTML this way than practically any other way I know of. Happy HTML'ing!

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