Writing Your Own Web Pages In HTML
- On This Page
- What Is HTML?
- Writing HTML on Your Desktop Computer
- Writing HTML on Dante or Homer
- Linking Between Pages
- Resources and Training
Web pages are typically written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML can be written by hand or with the help of a tool known as a HTML authoring tool. This article briefly describes HTML and the various ways to author Web pages.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the language used to create and link together Web pages. HTML defines a set of elements, known as tags, which describe the structure and format of Web pages. These tags markup HTML files, thereby defining such things as paragraphs, headlines, hyperlinks, as well as bold, italic, or emphasized text. When you open a Web page with a browser, the tags are interpreted to produce what you see or hear.
Here is an example paragraph, written in HTML, with some emphasized text:
<p>Geez, this doesn't look so hard.
Now I <strong>really</strong> want to
The <p></p> and <strong></strong> tags help define the boundaries of the paragraph and strong text, respectively. It is up to a Web browser to decide how to handle this paragraph. Most likely the word "really" will be emphasized through bolding or some other means.
To write HTML on your desktop computer, all you need is a simple text-editing program:
- If you use Microsoft Windows, you can use Notepad to create/edit files.
- If you use a Macintosh, you can use SimpleText to create/edit files.
- If you use a word processor to create/edit files, be sure to save as plain (ASCII) text.
The procedure is straightforward:
- Start your text editor.
- Create/Edit as needed.
- Save your work to your hard drive.
- Save files with a .html extension.
- Preview your work with your Web browser.
- When ready, move pages to your Web directory.
There are several text editors available that display HTML tags in color. This makes editing HTML much easier. Among these applications are:
- TextPad (free evaluation)
- ConTEXT (free)
- MacroMedia HomeSite (free trial; has added site-creation features)
Dante and Homer have Web development environments you can use to create and edit your Web pages within your Web directory. With a working knowledge of HTML, a text editor such as Pico, and a few Unix commands, you can maintain your Web site without having to move files from your desktop computer. To do so:
At the prompt, enter the following command to change into your Web directory:
You can now use Unix commands to create and edit your Web pages. For example, the following command opens your home page for editing with the Pico text editor:
To quit Pico and save your work, type ctrl x.
See Getting Started with Unix for help with Unix commands such as these.
Whether you are using an HTML authoring tool or not, there are some general guidelines to use when linking between Web pages.
To link between your own Web pages, insert hyperlinks using relative target addresses:
<a href="info.html">read my info page!</a>
To link to other Web sites and Web pages owned by others, insert hyperlinks using full target addresses:
<a href="http://www.washington.edu">UW Home Page</a>
- 10 minute Guide to HTML
- HTML Code Tutorial
- The Complete 4.01 Reference
- HTML 4.0 Reference
- IT Connect - Accessibility
HTML Training Available on Campus:
- Basics of World Wide Web Browsers and HTML
- HTML and Web Training (offered through UW Computer Training)