In order to use this tutorial, you must have a web browser and a text editor capable of saving files with an .html extension. Most operating systems come shipped with such a text editor.
If you use Microsoft Windows, you will find an editor called Notepad in your accessories.
Note: a text editor is not the same as a word processor. Do not use a word processor for this course.
Once you get more comfortable authoring webpages, you may want to acquire a more powerful text editor. For now, however, editors like Notepad, Simpletext (Apple Macintosh) or Nano (GNU/Linux) suffice.
Also, some minimal computing knowledge is assumed. If you do not know how to operate a computer, this course is not for you, yet.
Testing: Your first Webpage
In order to test whether you fulfil the requirements, you will now create your first web page in the following simple steps.
- Open your text editor program.
- Type in the following simple HTML document. Note: all valid webpages must start with a DOCTYPE. This selects the version of HTML used by the web page.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd"> <html> <head> <title> Simple document </title> </head> <body> <p>The text of the document goes here!</p> </body> </html>
- Save your text as a file called 'first.html' to your hard disk (or other storage medium; do not type the quote characters). For the remainder of this course, it would be handy if you had a separate folder where you could save your webpages.
- Open your web browser program.
- Open the .html file you just saved in your web browser. Most browsers have a menu called something like 'File/Open File' for this.
- Your browser should now display your first webpage.
This doesn't look very impressive, does it? Well, it will get much more impressive soon, and the good news is that it will not get much more difficult.
To reach true impressiveness though, you need to be able to reach your audience. To reach your audience, a webserver program needs to know about your webpages, so that it can serve your pages to all who ask for them.
You could run your own webserver, but setting up such a program is beyond the scope of this tutorial.
If you follow this course in a class, the teacher will have set up a webserver for you.
If you follow this course by yourself, please check the website hosting options your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has available. (The ISP is the company that connects you to the internet. If you are connected through your work or college, consult with your systems administrator about hosting possibilities.) A form of web hosting may even be a free service your ISP offers you as part of your access package.
In short, you need:
- A texteditor (program)
- A webbrowser (program)
- A webserver (program+internet connection, or computer+program+internet connection)
The first two items you need right away, the last you need when you want to publish your webpages on the internet.