What is the World Wide Web?


* The World Wide Web (WWW) is most often called the Web.

* The Web is a network of computers all over the world.

* All the computers in the Web can communicate with each other.

* All the computers use a communication standard called HTTP.



How does the  WWW work?


* Web information is stored in documents called Web pages. 

* Web pages are files stored on computers called Web servers.

* Computers reading the Web pages are called Web clients.

* Web clients view the pages with a program called a Web browser.

* Popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.




How does the browser fetch the pages?


* A browser fetches a Web page from a server by a request.

* A request is a standard HTTP request containing a page address.

* A page address looks like this: http://www.someone.com/page.htm.




How does the browser display the pages?


* All Web pages contain instructions for display

* The browser displays the page by reading these instructions.

* The most common display instructions are called HTML tags.

* HTML tags look like this <p>This is a Paragraph</p>.




Who is making the Web standards?


* The Web standards are not made up by Netscape or Microsoft.

* The rule-making body of the Web is the W3C.

* W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium.

* W3C puts together specifications for Web standards.

* The most essential Web standards are HTML, CSS and XML.

* The latest HTML standard is XHTML 1.0.




Internet Joke


Customer: "I don't have a computer. Is the internet available in book form?"


What is an HTML File?


* HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language

* An HTML file is a text file containing small markup tags

* The markup tags tell the Web browser how to display the page

* An HTML file must have an htm or html file extension

* An HTML file can be created using a simple text editor




The first tag in your HTML document is <html>. This tag tells your browser that this is the start of an HTML document. The last tag in your document is </html>. This tag tells your browser that this is the end of the HTML document.


The text between the <head> tag and the </head> tag is header information. Header information is not displayed in the browser window.


The text between the <title> tags is the title of your document. The title is displayed in your browser's caption.


The text between the <body> tags is the text that will be displayed in your browser.


The text between the <b> and </b> tags will be displayed in a bold font.



HTM or HTML Extension?


When you save an HTML file, you can use either the .htm or the .html extension. We have used .htm in our examples. It might be a bad habit inherited from the past when some of the commonly used software only allowed three letter extensions.


With newer software we think it will be perfectly safe to use .html.



Note on HTML Editors:


You can easily edit HTML files using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor like FrontPage, Claris Home Page, or Adobe PageMill instead of writing your markup tags in a plain text file.


But if you want to be a skillful Web developer, we strongly recommend that you use a plain text editor to learn your primer HTML.



Frequently Asked Questions


Q: After I have edited an HTML file, I cannot view the result in my browser. Why?

A: Make sure that you have saved the file with a proper name and extension like "c:\mypage.htm". Also make sure that you use the same name when you open the file in your browser.


Q: I have tried to edit an HTML file but the changes don't show in the browser. Why?

A: The browser caches your pages so it doesn't have to read the same page twice. When you have changed a page, the browser doesn't know that. Use the browser's refresh/reload button to force the browser to read the edited page.


Q: Can I use both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator?

A: Yes, you can do all your training with both Netscape 3.0 or higher, and Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher. However, a few of the examples in our advanced classes assume you are running Internet Explorer 4.0 / 5.0 or 6.0, or Netscape 6.0.


Q: Does my computer have to run Windows? What about a Mac?

A: You can do all your training on a non Windows computer like a Mac. However, a few of the examples in our higher classes assume that you are running a newer version of Windows, like Windows 98 or Windows 2000.


HTML documents are text files made up of HTML elements.


HTML elements are defined using HTML tags.





* HTML tags are used to mark-up HTML elements

* HTML tags are surrounded by the two characters < and >

* The surrounding characters are called angle brackets

* HTML tags normally come in pairs like <b> and </b>

* The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag

* The text between the start and end tags is the element content

* HTML tags are not case sensitive, <b> means the same as <B>


This is an HTML element:

<b>This text is bold</b>


The HTML element starts with a start tag: <b>

The content of the HTML element is: This text is bold

The HTML element ends with an end tag: </b>


The purpose of the <b> tag is to define an HTML element that should be displayed as bold.


This is also an HTML element:


This is my first homepage. <b>This text is bold</b>



This HTML element starts with the start tag <body>, and ends with the end tag </body>.


The purpose of the <body> tag is to define the HTML element that contains the body of the HTML document.



Why do Use Lowercase Tags?


We have just said that HTML tags are not case sensitive: <B> means the same as <b>. When you surf the Web, you will notice that most tutorials use uppercase HTML tags in their examples. We always use lowercase tags. Why?


If you want to prepare yourself for the next generations of HTML you should start using lowercase tags. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommends lowercase tags in their HTML 4 recommendation, and XHTML (the next generation HTML) demands lowercase tags.



Tag Attributes

Tags can have attributes. Attributes can provide additional information about the HTML elements on your page.


This tag defines the body element of your HTML page: <body>. With an added bgcolor attribute, you can tell the browser that the background color of your page should be red, like this: <body bgcolor="red">.


This tag defines an HTML table: <table>. With an added border attribute, you can tell the browser that the table should have no borders: <table border="0">


Attributes always come in name/value pairs like this: name="value".


Attributes are always added to the start tag of an HTML element.



Quote Styles, "red" or 'red'?


Attribute values should always be enclosed in quotes. Double style quotes are the most common, but single style quotes are also allowed.


In some rare situations, like when the attribute value itself contains quotes, it is necessary to use single quotes:


name='John "ShotGun" Nelson'


Basic Notes - Useful Tips


When you write HTML text, you can never be sure how the text is displayed in another browser. Some people have large computer displays, some have small. The text will be reformatted every time the user resizes his window. Never try to format the text in your editor by adding empty lines and spaces to the text.


HTML will truncate the spaces in your text. Any number of spaces count as one. Some extra information: In HTML a new line counts as one space. 


Using empty paragraphs <p> to insert blank lines is a bad habit. Use the <br> tag instead. (But don't use the <br> tag to create lists. Wait until you have learned about HTML lists.)


You might have noticed that paragraphs can be written without the closing tag </p>. Don't rely on it. The next version of HTML will not allow you to skip ANY closing tags.


HTML automatically adds an extra blank line before and after some elements, like before and after a paragraph, and before and after a heading.


We use a horizontal rule (the <hr> tag), to separate the sections in our tutorials.



Basic HTML Tags

Tag Description

<html> Defines an HTML document

<body> Defines the document's body

<h1> to <h6> Defines header 1 to header 6

<p> Defines a paragraph

<br> Inserts a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal rule

<!--> Defines a comment