Learning the basics of HTML codes and finding a good HTML editor will greatly accelerate building high-quality Web pages.

HTML Codes for Your Pages


Why learn HTML?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the main programming language that makes the Web. Background HTML codes lurk behind all zillions of Web pages on the Net.

Many pros actually build Web pages or at least fine-tune them by typing in and editing HTML codes directly. If you don't want to do that, fortunately, you don't have to.

Microsoft Word, for example, lets you save your documents as HTML-based Web pages. This way of working is called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)... You design a document on screen so it looks like what you want. The program you're using then generates the necessary HTML codes to create a Web page that a Web browser such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer can display.

The WYSIWYG HTML editors allow beginners to build complex Web pages by simply "dragging and dropping" onto the work area. These programs eliminate the need to learn HTML, so you can concentrate on the look of your page.

But if you are serious about doing more than a page or two, it's to your benefit to learn HTML basics, because these programs generate too much extraneous code and it's often necessary to "tweak" it manually. That's why many pros think that the best Web pages should be hand-constructed.

How to learn HTML

The basics are quite simple. HTML files are plain text files with special "tags" or HTML codes that a Web browser knows how to interpret and display on your screen. See HTML Tags for short description of basic HTML tags.

If you're serious about learning HTML, you need a good book...

HTML: A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition
by Wendy Willard

This is a great book that provides a solid starting point for beginners who have no programming experience. It will help you learn HTML as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

For more books on HTML and CSS see Resources: Books on Web Designing.

There are a lot of great HTML learning resources on the Net. Here are a few...

If you feel the need for more, see Resources: HTML Tutorials or surf over to your favorite Search Engine and type "HTML tutorial" into the search box...

HTML editors

Although Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Adobe PageMaker, and many others can convert documents to HTML, if you are serious about your online business, you need a good HTML editor, which generates clean HTML codes, includes a website building system, and helps you view and maintain all the hyperlinks between Web pages and the links to graphics files included in those pages.

Here are the most powerful and popular HTML editors...

CoffeeCup HTML Editor CoffeeCup HTML Editor

This is one of the most popular HTML editors in the world. It's inexpensive, easy to use and yet has a powerful set of features. It comes with more than 25,000 graphics, icons, photos, animated GIFs, and background images. It also includes 125 JavaScript scripts, a frame designer, a table designer, a font designer, and an HTML code cleaner.

You can work on and test multiple pages at once. Other features include an internal browser for testing and editing from the Web, an image-previewing utility, a thumbnail image-creation wizard, a sound gallery, right-click FTP upload, online help, a step-by-step Web design guide, and references for the latest HTML 4.0 tags.

If you prefer the WYSIWYG HTML editors, one of the most powerful visual website design tools is...

Dreamweaver Adobe Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver)

This program allows beginners to...

  • Insert text or images or set the values of lists, check boxes, input fields, and other tag attributes without writing background HTML codes.
  • Bind objects on your page to dynamic content with a drag-and-drop interface.
  • Format the data any way you want it while working in the visual view.
  • And lots more...

For more HTML editors, see Resources: HTML Editors.

If you want to build a professional looking website without the need of expensive desktop software or any knowledge of any programming language, you can use website builders. See Online WebSite Builders for more information.

Check your work

As you begin to write HTML codes, don't forget to check appearance of your pages on at least the latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. You'd be amazed at how differently your website may appear in different browsers.

And one more warning...

Keep in mind that if your Web pages contain errors in HTML codes (unclosed tags, illegal attributes and so on), different browsers can gloss over them in different ways, producing unexpected results. For more information on checking errors, see HTML Validators.

Once you've learned HTML basics, go to the next important element... Web Graphics.

See also...

Basic HTML Tags
Short description of basic HTML tags.

HTML Validators
Checking errors in HTML codes.

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