Home Page Construction:
Basic HTML

by Randall S. Davis




"Sharing ideas is what the Internet is all about!"

- Randall Davis



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Purpose of Lesson:
  • You should understand copyright law and the Web, be able to explain what a home page is, and be able to write basic HTML code.


I. What copyright laws are associated with the Web?

Basically, copyright is the legal exclusive right of authors to control their works (a paper, book, song, photograph, Web page, invention, etc.) and how they serve to protect an individual's work from someone else using it unfairly or from making a profit from it. I'm introducing these issues now because we will start exploring the use of text and graphics on the Internet because it is important to recognize others' works when using them. There are certain basics you should understand, and an excellent article explaining them is 10 Big Myths about copyright explained by Brad Templeton (1999).

  1. "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, than it isn't copyrighted."- - WRONG
    This was true years ago, but since 1989, most nations of the world will protect an author's work whether or not there is a copyright notice.
  2. "If I don't make money from using it, than it's okay." - - WRONG
    It doesn't matter if you make money or not; it's still a violation of copyright law. Even sending a picture via e-mail to a friend could be violating the law because you are distributing unlawfully the image without permission.
  3. "Using their pages and images is free advertising, so it doesn't hurt anyone." - - Wrong
    The owner of the copyright needs to determine that, not you.


I. What is a homepage?

A home page is usually the first page you see when you visit a Web site (a collection of pages put together on a related topic). Pages are created using HTML, a series of symbols or codes that allow information to be viewed on your browser. You have seen many examples throughout our class.

In this class, you will create your own Web site consisting of two areas: personal history and a culture research paper.

The overall process to organize your site from start to finish includes:

  1. developing a plan and purpose to the site on paper;
  2. creating the content for your personal home page [See demo page];
  3. selecting and collecting information on a research topic;
  4. writing the HTML code including graphics;
  5. selecting a Web hosting site;
  6. uploading files to the host's server
  7. validating the pages
  8. promoting the site


II. What is HTML and how do I create it?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, and web pages are written in this language so they can be viewed on the Internet. Fortunately, using HTML language does not require a degree in physics to write, and basic pages are not difficult to create. It can be written with any text editor, like SimpleText on Macintosh computers and Notepad on Windows machines. You don't need to buy a program to create it. You can always view the code by selected Page Source from the Edit Menu. Here are some basic concepts to remember before beginning:

There are two general approaches to creating home pages, and I would like to compare them to baking a cake: you can either make it from scratch or use an instant mix.

If you create your cake from scratch, you have complete control of the outcome, and you can add your own personal touch and flavor to it. You also know how to fix mistakes or problems easily because you know exactly what is in the cake.

If you use the instant mix, you don't need to know anything about how to bake nor do you need to know what is inside, but your cake will taste just like the millions of others that use the same mix, and it will lack a creative and original flavor. You will also have a very difficult time identifying and then correcting any problems with you cake if it doesn't taste just right.

Conclusion: Learn the code and, at some point when you feel you understand it well enough, use a HTML editor to help you.

Start out visiting the page, How to Make a Successful ESL/EFL Teacher's Web Page. The ideas discussed relate to any home page. Also, print out a copy of the HTML Quick-Start Guide to use when writing HTML.


III. What does HTML look like?

HTML looks like regular text with some special symbols. Charles Kelley, in his page "How to Make a Successful ESL/EFL Teacher's Web Page," points out some very important basics:

  1. "Anything between < and > is HTML code and does not show on the page.
  2. Any number of consecutive spaces, returns, or tabs only equal one space on the web page.
  3. You can view the source code of any web page, using the "View Source" or "Save as Source" menu items in Netscape or Internet Explorer. This means that you do not need to type any of the HTML code in the the page templates which are included since you can just download one and change the parts that need to be changed.
  4. Different browsers and different computers display web pages differently which means the way the page looks on your computer is not necessairly the way it will look on other computers.
  5. Files should always be saved as "text" and should have the extension ".html" or ".htm".

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Copyright © 1998 - 2005 by Randall S. Davis, All rights reserved.