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HTML for Dummies

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Doggeh, I know that we have a few posted links that explain basic HTML, but since you made this site, you must be a MASTER! So, can you explain HTML on a simple level for someone who's never done any coding and doesn't even know what HTML is besides it's used to make a website. How do I write this code? Do I just make it up? Help me DoGG! Help! how can I make my own website using HTML.

{mod edit - this is for DUMBFOUND the DoGG}

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Evil Monkey
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Re: HTML for Dummies

Well im not the DoGG but maybe I can help you out a little bit. What you ask is not an easy task Smile

Let's see, the basics. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is the language that your web browser understands and reads to display websites to the user. HTML is written in a "TAG" based format. Everything in HTML has an open tag and a closeing tag. It would look something like this.

<title>My first HTML document</title>

Where as the <title> is the open tag, text in the middle get's displayed to the user

and </title> closes the tag. To really get a start on understanding html and how to write an actaul website I'd suggest googleing and reading everything you can. there are tons of books on the subject as well. But I'll go on a bit here and explain a few other things. HTML has been around for quite some time. and does have limitations. To get around many limitations of actual html code they implemented something called CSS wich stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS isn't really a language of it's own but is there more to compliment HTML. It gives you much more freedom over your web pages. Before with writing in html you were limited to basic "left, center, and right" alignment. To get around this the use of tables are used wich basically allow you to build tables for your site's layout. In each cell of the table you then can align you text or image or what ever you want to display per cell. Now with CSS the need for tables or use of tables has become much less. You have much more freedome over margins and placement of

things on your site using css. You can implent css "inline" meaning you can place css code as you go in your page. Or you can write an intire style sheet for the entire site and would carry over all your implementation like text color, font, font size, backgrounds etc thoughout your site. There are times and uses for all implementations of CSS. Just depends on your needs. But I wont' go into CSS to much here.

Now sites like this one are is using a CMS type of system. CMS stands for Content Managment System. There are a bunch of different ones around these day's. They manily run on PHP code which is very similar to html. Some CMS type sites are Php Nuke, Dragonfly, Drupal, Joomla, Word press. These type of sites are more "sites in a box" kinda things. They allow you go basically download and install them giving you managment systems which allow you adminster them fairly easily. They are a starting point. And I say easily but there not really easy to manage. You need to have good knowledge of computers, networking, HTML, knowledge in order to run a site and modify it to your liking. But they do allow you freedom over having to code EVERYTHING yourself from scratch. They're open source and work on a "modular" system. Meaning you can download modules for your site to do different things. Some mods are easy to use and some can get pretty complicated. Nuke to me is one of the easiest to setup and configure, but it's older. Newer ones can get more technical, but in my opinion give a nicer website.

Well I don't know if I answered your question or not but I hope I gave you a starting point! Really I do suggest just googling html basics and you will find a ton of sites out there with a ton of basic html tags to get you started.

Hopefully someone else here can join in and add anything or elaberate on things that maybe I didn't!
Happy coding!
Evil Monkey!

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Re: HTML for Dummies

Nice post EM. I have some great links at home I can add later that are kinda cheat sheets (I'm at work now). Big Grin

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Re: HTML for Dummies

Focusing on your HTML question (and not how to actually get a website up, which requires renting server space, uploading your files, etc.) basic HTML is probably the easiest coding language out there to learn. There's a limited set of "tags" as EvilMonkey described, and most of the time, you just add the tag, put whatever you need to behind it, then close the tag by using the same tag name with a forward slash in front of it. There's a few that don't require a closing tag though, like the line break, and horizontal rule tags.

You CAN code up a page or even an entire website all from within good ol fashioned Notepad, but it'd be a slow, tedious, painstaking process, so most people use some sort of HTML editor, usually a WYSIWYG type of editor, the best out there is Adobe Dreamweaver, but it's expensive. There are many, many other alternatives just a google search away however. In those, most of the hard work is done for you, you just design the page like you would in say, Microsoft Word, and then it adds all of the tags and formatting for you. You can switch to a text version of the page for tweaking if you want. Once you have the page designed how you want, you just save it as a .htm or .html file and upload it to your server. Boom, you have a webpage!

You already have a basic idea of how it all works right here on GeekDrop. The editor that you're typing your posts into is an HTML WYSIWYG editor. When you click the buttons above, like inserting an image, or highlighting some text, clicking the link button, and adding a link, it's generating all of the HTML automatically for you . You can see the tags it created by clicking on the link below it named "Switch to plain text editor".

From there, as Evil Monkey started to point out, things can get much more technical and complicated, but also more powerful and better looking, by adding in other helper languages, that sort of 'intermingle' with the HTML itself. Languages like Flash, CSS, PHP, .NET, Cgi/Perl, Javascript, VBScript, Ruby on Rails, XML, and a very long list of others. They all have their own language that you need to learn in order to use them, some easy, some trickier. In order to be a hot item in the website coding world, you need to be a sort of Jack of all trades with all or many of them, (very few , if any are masters of all of them, it's just simply too much to learn and remember, and new languages popup constantly, and old languages change over time with upgrades, etc. Usually you just choose a specialty or two to focus on, and dabble in the others, asking for guidance as needed in forums dedicated to that language, to the people who chose to specialize in that language), but to simply make a very basic site for your own personal use, you just end up needing a basic grasp of HTML and Javascript (oftentimes).

I could go on and on, but entire books are written on the subject, and college semesters, so it's beyond the scope of just one post. You actually hit it right on the head with the title of your post, a GREAT place to start is to grab an HTML For Dummies book and start reading. Many of the languages I started on, I picked up a "For Dummies" book to kick start me. I love those Dummies books. If you have any specific questions in your ventures, ask away. Smile


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Re: HTML for Dummies

James I can tell you that I use yahoo Web Hosting and have for years. For building my site I use the ever so simple Pagebuilder. Since I happen to be working on mine tonight I thought I would take a screen shot of what dogg was talking about as far as the tools that you can use.

There is more but this gives you a rough idea of what they have

You don't have to know alot of scripting. Its pretty much close to how we post here. However here are two great sites for HTML help:

HTML Cheatsheet

HTML Code Tutorial

Re: HTML for Dummies

Thanks everyone. I figured this one wouldn't be hard for DoGG to answer, but I have always wanted to learn HTML and be able to use the coding. I have tried to make websites in the past, but I always have to use templates, since I have no idea how to work with coding.

I'm much too tired tonight, but I will read all the links you guys posted, and will get back to you guys... Thanks though! I feel like it really isn't something that should be that hard to do!

---When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.---

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Re: HTML for Dummies

It's just like anything else. The more you do it and work with it the more you learn and get better.

Everyone starts at the same place and works from there!
Good luck and enjoy playing around! It can be a lot of fun!

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