In order to create a webpage, you need a few basic tools and ingredients:
First, you need
HyperText Mark-up Language (HTML)
"Hypertext" is the text, images, sound files, etc that make up your content, and "mark up language" means the platform-independent styles that tell the browser how to display your content. HTML was invented by Tim Berners-Lee while at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva. Since its original development HTML has been under constant development, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) manages this development. At the time of writing the most current version is XHTML1 1.0, you can find the official Document Type Definition for XHTML 1.0 here.
To write XHTML you will need a text editor or a HTML editor to write your web-pages. HTML documents are plain text files that can be created using any text editor2.
An HTML editor3 is like a word processor on the surface, but while you're typing ordinary text, the program is creating the HTML for you in the background. This saves a lot of time, since typing the same HTML tags over and over is tedious, and you can organize the tags by colours to make them easier to keep track of. They also contain useful tools such as checking for broken links in your site, spellcheckers, etc. Examples of editors are large commercial packages such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, and GoLive. There are also free editors such as Amaya, Netscape/Mozilla Composer or Web Dwarf. The OpenOffice free Office suit include a HTML editor and EvrSoft First Page 2000 is a text editor optimised for editing HTML. Despite their advantages, HTML editors aren't perfect so they will often make mistakes in their HTML, and sometimes the files they create are not universally compatible with other editors or even other browsers. It can take a while to learn a particular editor’s interface (how to do what), and the interface will vary from one editor to the next so knowing one doesn’t mean you will necessarily pick up another easily.
In short, editors can be great time-savers, but it helps to understand what they're doing in the background in order to fix any mistakes and be able to use them to their full potential. This article will also give you a basic rundown of HTML tags and syntax (the way you have to phrase commands).
Further on in this series of article you will be shown how to use images, backgrounds, fonts, colours and sound, to spice up your site.
The host web-server is a powerful computer capable of handling many Internet connections. This is the computer that stores your site so that others can view it.
You may also need an FTP4 program to move the files from wherever you store them (a disk or your hard drive) to the host web-server.
FTP is the most common technique that computers on the Internet use to move files from one computer to another. There are many FTP programs available including a few free ones.
There are several hosting options, each with advantages and disadvantages.
In the UK many domestic Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) provide free web space but this not always the case elsewhere in the world but it is worth checking. Alternatively a quick web-search will reveal a plethora of advert supported free Internet host (such as Geocities, Portland, Tripod or Xoasis) which should meet the needs of a basic web-site alternatively you could look at a Public Access Unix Server.
If you require more advanced features or your own domain then you may be better off looking at a paid for host. Prices vary, but since you are paying for the hosting there is no advertising put in your page. You can keep the account for as long as you keep paying them. The amount of space offered and the bandwidth available can vary.
Which ever host you choose you will have to accept their Terms of Service agreement. Read over the ToS agreement carefully before you accept to get an idea of what your responsibilities (and theirs!) are, and what that host considers "appropriate use" of their services.
The browser mentioned before is simply the program that displays web-pages. The three most popular are Netscape/Mozilla Navigator, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Opera, but there are many others. It is recommended that you preview your web-page with as many browsers as possible in order to ensure compatibility.
Since this is an HTML tutorial, this assumes that you are using either a text editor or are using the “edit source” feature of a WYSIWYG5 editor. This means that you will have to write the HTML yourself. Don't be scared- it won't "byte"6...