Step 2: HTML

At the heart of web page design is a computer language called "HTML". Although many new languages and technologies are superseding HTML, it still forms the foundation of virtually all websites. For this tutorial we will simplify the situation and pretend that all web pages use only HTML.

This is where you're probably thinking "Oh no, they don't expect me to learn about this do they?".
Well, yes and no. You don't actually need to know anything at all about HTML and if your ambitions aren't high then you can get away without it. However, if you're even slightly serious about making a good website then it will help you a lot if you understand a few basics. Don't be put off — it's not as intimidating as it sounds.

If you really can't be bothered, there are other options available (at a cost — more on that later).


HTML Documents

A web page is an "HTML Document". This is a file format which usually uses the extension ".html" or ".htm". For example, if you use Microsoft Word, you will usually save your files with the extension ".doc". However you can also save your files with many other extensions such as ".txt", ".wps" etc. Amongst the options is ".html".

HTML documents are actually just plain text, but contain snippets of code which carry vital information about how the page should be displayed. You can create such a document using any text editor - even a very simple one like Windows Notepad. In fact many web designers prefer to use simple text editors.

This is what a very simple HTML document looks like:

<html>
<head>
<title>A Simple Web Page</title>
</head>
<body>
This is about as simple as a web page can get.
</body>
</html>

To view an HTML document, you must use a browser (or similar software). The browser opens the HTML document in the background and "decodes" it before showing it to you. What you see is your browser's interpretation of how the web page should look (note: this is actually an important point - it's why you should test your site using a variety of browsers). To see what the above example document looks like, click here, then click your browser's back button to return and continue.

We won't go into any more detail at the moment, but at the end of this tutorial we'll show you how to learn more about HTML.

Move on to Step 3: Editors

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