Teach Yourself HTM Programming
Hi there! This page is for the many of you who have learned everything they
know on Microsoft PCs. You probably browse the Web (well, you found this
page, didn't you?) but wonder what it takes to make your own Web pages.
Well, to do this, you need to learn HTM, and it's not that hard!
If you're an expert HTM programmer, most of this page will be review,
sorry. But there are some good tips on how to encourage your visitors
to use IE.
HyperText Markup (HTM) is the lingua franca of the Web - it tells your
browser what a Web page contains and how to display it.
HTM is pretty primitive; there's not much control over layout and the
fonts look pretty bad. If the people who set up the Web had thought to
use Microsoft's Rich Text Format, we'd all be better off... but we've
got to work with what's there.
Most of the Web pages you see are just text files, with the special
HTM extension. For example, a guestbook page would be called
GUESTBOO.HTM. A good name for the Declaration of Independence on-line
would be DECOFIND.HTM. You get the idea.
Tools you'll need
You'll need the following things before you start:
Sometimes the last one is the hardest. Who wants to put up a Web page without
a reason? If you're stuck, here are some starters:
- Pentium PC running Window 95 or 98. Intel says the new Pentium III will give you the best Internet experience of all.
- Internet account with Web space (or just use Geocities, it's free!)
- Microsoft FrontPage
- an idea
- You! Put a picture of yourself and talk about your interests. Someone
who shares those interests and finds your page will want to talk to you!
- Clip art! Everybody loves clip art.
- Your favorite band, tv show, soft drink, sports team...
- A links page. Pick a topic and put together as many links as you can find. Don't forget to put in a link to Yahoo.
- Rants! How about a list of things that tick you off? Like: bad drivers, or the Cowboys, or Hanson.
- "Warez" or mp3's.
- Put someone else's site in a frame.
- E-commerce! It's really hot!
- A Microsoft advocacy page. To stay on top, Microsoft needs your help.
Tell the world all the ways it's great to run with Microsoft software.
Fire up FrontPage and select File | New. FP will create what it calls a
new "Web", short for web site. Your website has to have a main page,
usually called INDEX.HTM. Let's work on that first.
A Sample Page
We'll create a quick page to show you how it's done, then talk about
some design issues. Click in the INDEX.HTM window and type the following:
My name is Stone Phillips (replace with your name). Welcome to my Home Page!
I'm using Microsoft FrontPage.
This page is best viewed with Internet Explorer.
More to come; this site is Under Construction!
Email me at:
(Now enter a new Link with "mailto:" followed by your e-mail address,
which is probably your firstname.lastname@example.org).
Play around with fonts, sizes, and colors if you like.
Then click File | Save.
Now click View. Your page will open up in Internet Explorer.
How does it look?
Okay. Now let's talk about some ways to make your pages look good on the Web.
Lots of Web page designers don't put much thought into their fonts.
Some even let the web browser decide what font to use! How is some
average guy surfing the Web gonna know what font is best for your site?
Of course not!
So always specify a font for the text you lay
down. Good choices are the good old Arial and Times New Roman; but for
variety, you can use Comic Sans MS, Britannic Bold, or Brush Script.
If the person viewing your website doesn't have those fonts, their loss.
(But you can explain on the page what fonts they need to get).
Not everyone is using Internet Explorer, which will complicate things for you,
because other browsers show your page in slightly different ways.
You can help out your visitors by including a "Best Viewed with
Internet Explorer" image link.
Foiling Enemy Browsers
Your page can also send a subtle message to Web surfers: Get with the
find a way to make areas on your site (or the whole thing!) accessible
only to Explorer. Other browsers will get an error message, or nothing
at all! Pretty cool, huh?
open INDEX.HTM with Notepad and insert <BLINK> at the beginning and
</BLINK> at the end. Save the file. (You might have to rename the file
if Notepad saves it as INDEX.HTM.TXT). Now Netscape will make the whole
page blink at you, while Explorer displays it correctly. Ha!
Java vs. ActiveX
You've probably heard all the hype over Java, the language created by Sun
Microsystems. It is pretty cool for Web animations, counters, and other
little things, but its days are numbered.
For real power, you'll want to go with ActiveX, which
isn't tied down by the least-common-denominator syndrome of "open"
standards, or the crippling security protections. With ActiveX, you
can do a lot more with your Web pages. It's an advanced topic, but
you'll definitely want to look into it.
You definitely want one of these. These magic things appear on your web
page and show everyone how many "hits" you get. I'm always impressed when
I see a site with a lot of hits.
These are the little movies that automatically move in your browser.
They'll make your page more fun and attractive than most of the stale
old pages out there.
They're like AVI's, but their extension is GIF. You don't need to
be Michaelangelo to make one; just look on the Web for one you like
and copy it.
So what animated GIFs should you get? A requirement for cool sites is the
"Under construction" sign with the digging guy. You also must - MUST -
have an animated mailbox for your e-mail link. The rest is up to you
There are lots of "Top 5%" award sites out there. Tell them about your site!
If you don't get awards right away, just copy their logos and put them
up anyway. Who's gonna know? In the meantime, make sure and tell people
to vote for your site in whatever awards are still active.
Interactivity is what the Web's all about, right? So make sure and get
one of those free guestbook programs for your site. On every page, encourage
viewers to sign your guestbook.
Eventually, you'll want to rise above a simple "homepage" to a portal,
which is a destination on the Web. How do you do this? Get a large graphic
(at least 100K) image for your INDEX.HTM, and put a link to INDEX2.HTM
called "Enter". Then put all your content on INDEX2.HTM. This gives the
visitor the "doorway" experience as they actually enter your site.
Uploading your "Web"
Okay, enough design talk. Let's get your page on the Web!
The web's not exactly like your hard drive (the W: drive? :-)
so you can't do File | Save. You use an Internet program called FTP
to do this. FTP's a pain to learn, so it's best to ask someone who
already knows FTP, like your ISP. Call 'em up (but don't turn on your
modem yet! :-)
Also ask your ISP what your URL will be. It's like a file name on a
Windows NT network, which has the server name built in. It'll probably
be something like http://members.aol.com/~(your username)/INDEX.HTM.
It's really freaky that instead of backslashes, the Web uses a nonstandard
slash to delimit directory names. Why they would ignore what 90% of
the world uses is incomprehensible to me, but that's the way it is.
Anyway, once the file's up, do File | Open Location in Explorer and type
in your URL. Voila - your page!
If your page doesn't show up, check the spelling. If that's not the reason,
disconnect, call your ISP and make sure they have FrontPage Extensions
installed. This is Microsoft software that fills in some of the deficiencies
in the Internet and makes your pages look better.
So now you're on the Web - how do you tell people about your page?
Most of the major search engines have page submission sites, so you can
go there. An even better idea is to call them on the phone, because sometimes
they get a little behind in their email.
Also, post in as many newsgroups as you can. You'd be
surprised who'll be interested. The last thing you can do is e-mail everyone
in your Address Book.
Now that you're online, watch the hits pile up. And maybe you're ready for
a lucrative career change - to HTM Programmer!
This page has had 1 ,000,000 hits.
Last modified: Sat Feb 20 00:46:40 GMT 1999
Oh yeah, this is all satire. Sorry if I got you upset...
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