YOU NEED A FOLDER (also called a DIRECTORY)
You should set up a folder or directory to hold only your HTML files (also called documents) for the web pages you are designing. Work in that folder only. If you are doing all these lessons, you may also wish to set up a separate folder to hold all my examples for testing in your browser. The best way to learn is by doing so when I give you an example or a problem for you to work on, be sure to try it out to see what it would look like on the web through your browser. You can then alter the example to experiment with different effects. In any event, you need some place to put your work. If you do not know how to create a folder, be sure to call someone who does know and can tell you how to do it.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
You can write and design your HTML pages (that is, your web pages) off-line. If all you are doing is designing and creating web pages, you do not need to go on the internet. If you have a regular telephone dial up connection, and there is only one telephone line in your house, there is no need to tie up the line.
YOU NEED A BROWSER
Internet Explorer and Firefox are among today's most popular browsers for viewing web pages and for surfing the internet. Netscape Navigator (also called Netscape Communicator) is still being used by many surfers but, as stated in Lesson One, it is no longer supported by AOL. That is, there will be no more browser updates, updates on security patches, etc. There are other browsers also but they are not nearly as popular as Explorer and Firefox. In addition, today, web pages are being viewed in browsers through cell/mobile phones, cars, televisions, plus a host of hand-held wireless devices and communicators.
YOU NEED A WORD PROCESSOR
You need a simple word processor such as NotePad or WordPad. These simple word processors are also called text editors and are ideal for creating web pages. Now you can also use word processors such as WordPerfect or Microsoft Word or Works but they are not simple text editors. They include a lot of formatting which we do not want. For these and other reasons, many webmasters like using NotePad which can be found in the Accessories folder (also known as the Accessories "Group"). In Windows, for example, NotePad is found by clicking on "Start", then choosing "Programs" (or All Programs), then choosing "Accessories" and finally choosing NotePad. That is:
Start --> Programs --> Accessories --> NotePad
As we will see later in this lesson, there are good reasons for using a text editor such as NotePad for creating web pages.
Sometimes the coding for a web page can become so big that it will no longer fit into NotePad. In this case, you will need to switch to another text editor to complete the page. When you are faced with this situation, WordPad is the answer. It allows for much larger files and is also located in the Accessories folder. You may wish to try WordPad sometime. It has a few more features than NotePad and so you may prefer to use WordPad instead of NotePad. From here on in I will be referring to NotePad as the text editor of choice. Of course if you wish, you can use any text editor or word processor.
In summary, you basically:
When you save your web page for the first time, you need to give it a name. You not only have to give it a name but you also need to add a suffix (an extension) to the name.
THE NAME: If you are not running at least Windows 95, your file name is limited to a maximum of 8 characters. Otherwise the name can be longer. Since most people today are using at least Windows 95, this is not an issue. It is strongly recommended that you do not use spaces in the file name. Browsers will replace the space with a coding such as %20 so that the name "my web page" will look like "my%20web%20page" which is confusing and does not look good. We do not want strange symbols in our file names and so it is best to avoid spaces in the name.
THE SUFFIX: The suffix is an extension to the name and declares the kind of document that it is. In HTML, the suffix is either ".htm" or ".html". "Htm" or "html" tells the browser you are working with HTML files - that is, an HTML document.
You must use ".htm" if you are not running Windows 95 or higher. Again, this is no longer an issue and so you can use either .htm or .html for the file extension.
So if "homepage" is the name of the HTML document (your web page), you can have either
Once you have saved your web page (your HTML file or document), you need to SWITCH over to your browser which is running in the background. Once you activate your browser, choose File from the menu bar, and then choose Open or Open File or Open File in Browser (one of them should be in the File menu). You will then need to locate your web page, click on the file name and then click the OK button. Your HTML file will appear in the browser. You can only observe your file in the browser - you can not edit in the browser. Once you have seen how your web page looks in the browser, you can then SWITCH back to NotePad to continue working and editing.
(1) If you want to LOAD an HTML file for the first time into NotePad, and the name does not show up in the correct folder in the dialog window, choose All Files (*.*) in the Files of type box and the name should then appear. In the case of WordPad, it must be All Documents (*.*). Click on the name and then on the Open button.
(2) If you use a word processor other than NotePad or WordPad, you may first need to CLOSE the HTML file before it can be loaded into your browser. With NotePad and WordPad this is not necessary.
If some of this sounds confusing, don't worry, you will get a chance to practice saving and loading in Lesson Three.
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