HTML Web Design Planning a Web Page
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HTML Web Design Planning a Web Page

This article discusses some of the pros and cons for using html to design web pages.

HTML is the acronym for hypertext markup language.  It is designed for easy creation of web documents; which, of course, means that it can be used to design a web page. 

Since HTML is a mark-up language rather than true programming code, it is readily understood and utilized by the average computer user.  There are a number of good manuals on the market; my favorite is the "Sams Teach yourself Web Publishing" series by Laura Lemay.  Available from Amazon.com and other book stores, this volume with take the user step by step through the basics of setting up a web page.  It includes dynamic HTML, a small amount of graphical editing, and some practical tips on publishing your web page.

Designing a web page is only the first step in creating a presence in the World Wide Web.  After the page is designed, it must be published.  In the olden days (about ten years ago) the preferred method was to purchase space from a host and upload your design using an FTP or File Transfer Program.  Ipswitch was the preferred provider of these programs, having versatility and ease of use.  Nowadays, you can bypass writing in HTML and using an FTP program altogether by utilizing one of the free web page providers, such as Google Sites.  The better ones (which includes Google Sites) give the user a choice between WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) programming or utilizing personal knowledge of HTML.

My first experience with web design was for a college class.  The college provided the Website, and we were required to create at least three inter-linking pages.  We were required to purchase the Ipswitch FTP program.  It is not a bad program.  It did the job, and the cost was within my slender budget.  My next Website was posted on the SFWA Website.  I had some thoughts of becoming a writer of fiction in those days; but I quickly discovered that when promoting oneself, it is a good idea to have something to promote.

My next experience with web design was when my oldest child set up a family domain.  By this time, I was fairly familiar with writing in basic HTML, and had mastered some of the more advanced design techniques.  I especially enjoyed cascading style sheets, which enables creating web pages that have a similarity in design and color, thus tying a themed site together.  I'm not completely sure how he wangled it, but there was plenty of room to build a sprawling web design that branched out in all directions, and meandered through a variety of themes.  That is not a very practical way to develop a web site, but I had fun with it and learned quite a bit about embedding sound files, up-loading pictures, and persuading the elements of my pages to display as I wanted them to look--not as the computer seemed to want to place them.   I learned that tables can be both friend and foe in the battle to create desired appearance.

My newest page may be found at http://sites.google.com/site/daisypeasblossomfernchild .  This is very much a work in progress.  Since its specific purpose is to tie together my web publications and to display my writing and art work, it need not be particularly complex.  The price is very much right (free), and I am enjoying the hybridization of HTML and WYSIWYG.

However, if you wish to truly give your pages some sparkle, you may want to invest some time in learning to borrow javascript code.  You need not necessarily learn to program in it.  Websites such as http://searchscript.internet.com/Javascript provide snippets of programming that you may copy and incorporate into your HTML document.  These snippets are a fast way to add movement, color and a little glitz to what otherwise might be a fairly bland warpage.  Xhtml and Dhtml also offer alternatives to the basic HTML design.

Yes, you can design a web page using HTML.  It is, after all, the purpose for which HTML was created.  However, for your page to truly sparkle, you may want to look into a few other skills as well.

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