Creating and viewing HTML pages

Getting started with HTML is a very straightforward task. All you need is a basic text editor typically Notepad on Windows systems or TextEdit on Mac systems. In order to save your file as a web page rather than a text document you need to add the extension ".htm" or ".html" to the end of your file when saving. To view the file, simply double click on it and it will open in your web browser. That's all there is to it!

When designing your web pages it is worth bearing in mind that when a web browser is sent to a website it will automatically look for the file named "index.htm" or "index.html". Therefore it is important that you give your main home page this name.

A note on HTML editors

There are a number of programs available that allow you to create HTML web pages without the need to actually learn any HTML; instead you simply use a WYSIWYG editor to lay out your page and the editor produces all the necessary code. However, these programs are inferior for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, because they are automated they aren't especially good at interpreting your layout into nice 'clean' HTML code. The result is your code with come out looking very higgledy piggeldy, with a lot of unnecessary information in there. This means that the file sizes are larger, and will therefore take longer to load for your users, and use up your bandwidth much faster.

Secondly, by using an HTML editor you never actually learn how to code HTML yourself. Understanding HTML can give you a huge advantage over other web designers because it allows you to see exactly what is going on in your code, making it much easier and faster to redesign pages or resolve problems.

For these reasons I strongly recommend you stick with a simple text editor and learn HTML properly you'll thank me in the long run!