Basic HTML Necessities
You may have thought that you needed to install some kind of complex web design doohickey to write up some basic HTML code but really it's not as hard as all that. Chances are you already have everything you need right on your own computer.
In fact —believe it or not— you don't even need to be hooked up to the internet to create and display a web page.
What you will need, however, is the following:
- A basic text editor ~ A text editor differs from a word processor (like WordPad) in that it saves text to a file completely stripped of any formatting (such as italics, bold, fonts, and colors, etcetera. A method of saving text to a file so that it only contains the text and nothing else is essential to create a web page. Remember that web pages are text files which apply all the formatting using HTML code. All Windows operating systems contain a text editor by default called 'Notepad'. If you're on a Mac then you can use SimpleText.
- A means to save files ~ If you working on your own computer at home or at the office then this is not a problem. You will be saving your web page files to your hard drive (typically drive C:). If you're currently at an internet café then you'll probably need a floppy disk to save your web page files to (typically drive A:) so that you can remove it and take it with you after you're finished.
- A web browser ~ You most assuredly have this already if you are viewing this web page. And for those who are not aware, the software that creates the interface on your computer screen that allows you to browse the internet and view web pages is known as a web browser. Contrary to what you might believe, you do not have to actually be online to use a web browser. It's just that most people have their web browser's home page set to some online web address (like Yahoo, MSN, Google, etc) so when they first open up their web browser, it immediately tries to load one of those pages. You can, however, actually set your web browser's home page to be a web page you created on your own computer.
- Some basic typing skills ~ This isn't an absolute necessity in order to make a web page but it will certainly help a lot. If the web design bug hits you bad (like it hit me) then you're going to want to be able to do more on a computer keyboard than just 'hunt and peck'. If you're a student then now's the time to sign up for that typing class. There are also numerous online typing courses you can take that will have your fingers flying over that keyboard in no time at all.
Why Work With the HTML Source Code
So assuming a text editor, a means to save files and a web browser, you are now ready to —in essence— learn how to bake a cake from scratch using just some utensils and pans that you already have lying around the kitchen and some fundamental culinary techniques.
This is not to undermine the value of any commercial web editors as they do have their merits. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you take the effort to understand what goes into the making of a web page otherwise you will always be:
- Creatively bound by the limits of the web editor you're using and...
- Horribly stuck when something goes wrong and your 'instant cake-mix' program doesn't offer a solution.
Alright then, let's get cracking and whip up your first web page...