Dave Masters aka webman@althits.com

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Free Web Sites

Basic HTML Introduction

So, you want to build a web site but don't know where to begin? Based on my own experience, I have found the following items to be essential to the creation of a viable presence on the web. Sure, other utilities exist that are equal, maybe even better than the ones listed here. However, these are the items that I have used and can speak for.


Operating System Platforms

If you are going to create web sites, the fact of the matter is that you should probably use a 32 bit operating system (OS).


Browsers

Most web surfers have a browser, and many have two. As a web site developer you will need to be familiar with the latest versions of both 'big gun' browsers: Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. A web page is presented slightly differently on both browsers. You should be aware of your site's appearance and functionality on both browsers at different resolutions (480 x 640 and 600 x 800 at least). Also, each browser supports some unique features. You may have to devise a means to present your site's content in a manner which is satisfactory to both browsers. You could even have a 'front door' that directs the users of one browser to one version of your site and the others to another version. This will become more important with the increased use of Web TV which doesn't support many of the added accouterments of the browsers.



Authoring and Maintenance Programs

As a site designer you can use a variety of web page editing programs, and each one has its own merits and pitfalls. While I still use my page editor to update my site, I input all of the HTML code by typing rather than by using the provided 'shortcut' buttons. It just seems quicker and I have a better idea of what I want and what I can do and use as I go. The editors are a great way to learn HTML code, though, and I recommend any novice web author use one.

Of course, once the site's pages are complete, the author needs to upload them to a service provider (ISP). Many ISP's give their clients free storage space on the server for web pages. My ISP costs $20.00 / month for 200 access to the internet as well as 10 MB of storage space free. Each additional MB costs $1.00 / month. Check your service provider's agreement to see what options you have for a web site. Some web editing tools provide a file transfer protocol (FTP) utility to send pages to the service provider.


Content

No way can I or anyone else (with the exception of your ISP) tell you what you can and cannot post on your web site. But you should consider content carefully before you 'make your presence known.' In my disorganized ramblings around the web, I have found some truisms that I can pass on to you.

My information is far from comprehensive, especially when it comes to programs. If you know of an exciting web tool that should be included e-mail me here!

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