NOVICE'S INTRODUCTION TO MAKING A WEB SITE
So you want to create a website, but you're a bit nervous and worried about it?
Well don't be !! Every webmaster out there was at your stage once. Even we started out with little knowledge and went through the same fears and anxieties you have!
Many great sites are created by people who are just like you!! Once you get started you'll find out just how much fun & easy it is.
Now here's a little basic info to get started (please don't panic!!)
(1) HTML EDITING
Essentially almost all web pages are written in a special language called HTML (HyperText Markup Language). This tells a Internet browser how to display the items on the page
for example this picture and caption
Sunset Dominican Republic
is coded something like this
<img src="domsunset.jpg" alt="Sunset Dominican Republic">
<br>Sunset Dominican Republic</p>
Don't worry and stop hyperventilating!!
You don't need to learn HTML (although it's easy to learn and we've a full tutorial area on this) to create a great site.
More advanced HTML editors will give added function such as checking code & spelling or offering a preview pane (blurring the boundaries with WYSIWYG editing). Obviously the more features, the lesss likely the editor will be free
(2) WYSIWYG Web Editors
If you want you can use an webpage editing program which allows you to create a page just as you'll see it. Here is a screen shot of Microsoft's Frontpage Express editing one of our pages
See how it simply appears almost as you would get on the webrowser.
You simply type in text and use the menu or icon bar to add things like links and images
Webpage editors like these are called WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editors. WYSIWYG editors are easy and fun to use. You don't need to know any programming skills to use 'em
Does all this seem a bit familiar?
Bit like the word processing or DTP (DeskTop Publishing) or Word processing software you've used before?
Well infact software like Microsoft Word or Works or Sun Star Office actually can act as webpage editors. If your happy with them you can use them to create a great site (just save the page as a HTML file via the save as.. or similar option). This is because HTML is a text language. If you could see the code your word processing files they would look much the same.
Obviously you can better editing options from dedicated WYSIWYG webpage editors. Our site has tutorials on two free webpage editors Frontpage express from Microsoft® and Netscape® Composer, one of which you should have on your PC (if not you can get 'em for free). These are great introduction to creating your own website
However WYSIWYG editors have their limitations. Just like DTP packages there usually comes a point when the editor won't allow you to do what you want. You are limited by the menu & toolbar options the editor makes available to you (e.g. Frontpage express and Composer do not allow you to directly code a web page with frames (2 split windows))
Also some editors will include HTML that only certain browsers will respond to meaning pages can appear radically different
Obviously the range of function vary from editor to editor (old adage of you get what you pay for applies but most basic free software will satisfy the novice)
The usually solution is to directly edit the HTML (we've a full tutorial area on this)
Most WYSIWYG editors will have an option to do this or you can use a basic text editor like Microsoft® Notepad (oh yes , you just though it was another bit of junk sitting on your PC.
HTML writing isn't hard to learn and gives you absolute flexibility in page layout and design. However you can't see the results of your coding directly with a basic text editor, so you can't see the page until you preview it with a browser (there are some more advanced HTML editors that have a preview window).
Also a standard page may run to over 300 lines of code which can take mucho time to create
(3) Blogging & Online webpage Creators
For some there is the option of online webpage editing.You simply use an online interface to create your webpage. Obviously this may have limited functions and many allow you just to create a simple "blog" which is a webpage made up of short, hopefully frequently updated posts a bit like a journal. Some can act as personal journal other act as a collaberative work allowing others to post.
Several independant sites offer this free with grandaddy being blogger and now many Internet service providers (ISP) offer online webpage editing due to phemonal success of blogging.
The plus points are the interface is normally free and easy to use. For users of services such as Web TV they allow the chance to create a webpage without a computer.
However your editing range may be limited & you will only be able to use fixed webspace. You also need to be online to use 'em.
Which to learn?
No firm answer. What suits you best.
One approach is to learn both WYSIWYG & HTML editing. Start out using a WYSIWYG editor and learn HTML as you go so you can code beyond the limitations of your editor (it's what we and most webmasters do!!)
Blogging & online editors are fun and easy to use (and often the only option for web TV users) but are limited
We haven't even discussed how to get your page published yet but lets begin by creating your site first. Our tutorials will show you how to get your site online later (bit info overload to talk about that here!!)
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