Part I - HTML Basics and Overview of Tools needed.

For starters just what is HTML? It stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and is essentially the ability to read text on a screen that has many different characteristics such as font size, font color, text formatting and of course HyperLinks which let you navigate according to the author’s direction. If you have been surfing the Web for a while it is very easy to take this powerful language lightly. The best reference I have found on HTML, is the "HTML Reference Library". This free resource loads as a help file that can be run anytime you need help or information on HTML or how to code it correctly.. Look in the Links section of this newsletter for the URL address where you can find it or you may go to your favorite shareware site and it will probably be there.

Please don’t try to learn everything about HTML before beginning a few trial pages. We will show you how to play with HTML without letting anyone else see your creations but you. Of course, you will want to strut your stuff, and we will help you find ways to announce yourself to the world. If you don’t think the Web reaches the world, in November our site had visitors from 18 countries including South Korea, Turkey, and the Russian Federation. How do we know this? We will show you how to tell who has been to your sites in future issues.

If you would like to get the most from this series, I would suggest you obtain two tools. First, you will need some form of HTML editor. Many editors can be obtained free of charge from shareware, while others can be obtained as add-ons to your existing programs (Microsoft has FREE add-ons to most of their packages such as the Internet Assistant for Word). The second tool is a mini Web Server that can be run on your current computer. This will allow you to view and navigate your computer just like it was on the Web. A very good one can be obtained from Microsoft for FREE called the MS Personal Web Server. If you wish to create a professional looking site that contains multiple pages I would strongly suggest you obtain Microsoft’s Front Page. Front Page is a very powerful, yet easy tool to create many of the features you see in good web sites today. Front Page also let’s you manage all of your pages as one site. The "Site" approach makes features such as spell checking and publishing much more effective and powerful. None of the tools mentioned will be required to follow along. You will be amazed just how much you can accomplish with a text editor such as Notepad, but it will be a lot harder for anything but small projects.

That should keep you busy for the next two weeks. Don’t be frightened off, there is a lot to learn here. The feeling of accomplishment when you finish your first page is a wonderful feeling. If you own a small business or work for a large business, this series may be essential reading.