Web Authoring - an Introduction Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Web Authoring - an Introduction

1 Conversation

Home pages are easy to write, and once you have the bug, the only thing that'll stop you is a pesky virus. You can write about anything you want: rock bands, ducks, backgammon, Star Wars, The Body Shop's Cocoa Butter Stick, it doesn't matter. As long as you feel it's worth devoting your time to, the Web wants it.

There are two things you should do before you start writing your first page:

  • Under the View menu of your browser you'll find an option for viewing the source. Click it. A separate window will come up covered with something that looks frighteningly like computer talk. In the midst of it you'll see the text of this paragraph. You see? It's only words. Don't be frightened. Now, shut the window. You've just had your first glimpse of HTML - the bricks that built the web page.

  • Forget about HTML. Your first Web page should be a knock-together affair that something else sticks together for you so you can get the feel for the thing. To have your hand held as you work your way through the ether, visit Tripod, The Globe or Free Web Space.

An Inhouse Job

So you've picked through your many interests and varying obsessions and found the thing you feel most worthy to speak on. You've done the online building thing, but now you'd really like to be able to take the time to lovingly mould your site on beetroots offline and in your own time.

The first thing you're going to need is a program that can write HTML. Many word processing programs (Word and Claris Works to name a few) now save documents in HTML, and Netscape provides the Composer web-authoring program with the Communicator Suite. Many free CD-ROMs (such as the ones on the covers of magazines) will provide web authoring programs as trial versions, and there are lots of places you can go to download other programs that take your fancy.

Follow the help menus and the walk through, and you'll soon be throwing stuff up like a pro.

Web Authoring Software

There are now hundreds of web authoring packages out there, many available in free versions. Download a few, have a play and get the feel for what it's like to write your own little corner of cyberspace.

For Mac

  • Dreamweaver - Great software with a dumb name. Better as a WYSIWYG1 tool for those who already know HTML than something for beginners.

  • Adobe GoLive - Originally called GoLive Cyberstudio, it was been bought out and renamed by Adobe. An extremely powerful, intelligent program

  • Adobe Pagemill - A forgetful little program that does best on small websites. It's so good that Adobe's been giving it away for free.

  • Visual Page - A good, sturdy editor bundled with nasty little green Java applets.

  • Beyond Press - Converts Quark documents to HTML. Particularly good if you're involved in more traditional paper-publishing.

  • BBedit - Designed for editing HTML by hand rather than for WYSIWYG web work, it's a very powerful little editor (often bundled free with Dreamweaver).

For Windows

  • Dreamweaver - The same as above.

  • Adobe GoLive - Originally just for Macs, it made the transition to PCs around the time Adobe snapped them up.

  • Microsoft FrontPage - Microsoft's own web publishing tool gets better every year. A cut-down version (FrontPage Express) comes free with Internet Explorer.

  • Allaire Homesite - A very powerful text editor, best for editing raw HTML though it does now have a WYSIWYG mode. (Bundled free with Dreamweaver.)

  • Visual Page - Good editor with lots of Java to terrorize your friends with.

Further Reading

1WYSIWYG, pronounced 'wizzy-wig', stands for 'What You See Is What You Get'. It means that while you are designing it, you see the page on the screen as it will eventually appear on the web.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Written by

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more