Part 1: Basic Introduction to HTML & Some Philosophy
For starters, we should learn some commonly used terms:
We will be writing code in HTML. HTML is a simple, plain-text based language that can be written with any text editing program (with word processing programs, one must remember to save the document as text only with line breaks). Unlike other computer languages, you do not compile the document yourself to create an executable. Instead, browsers on all types of machines (from Macintoshes to PC's to UNIX) can read this language and display what is supposed to be displayed according to the code.
Many people choose to use a program designed specifically for writing web pages. Many of these such programs are What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editors. WYSIWYG editors are very similar to many of today's word processing programs. Basically, the name of the program type explains what it does. Instead of seeing the HTML code on the screen as you design the web page, you see the page as it would print out on the screen or on paper. This is similar to many word processing programs where the user is now able to see the document as it will appear printed out (with font changes and images) instead of writing it in plain text.
It is good idea o have a basic understanding of HTML before you start using a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG editors can be a wonderful tool to help you design pages more quickly and efficiently than if you had to constantly retype similar coding on a page. Knowing the basics of HTML before using such an editor allows you to determine which editors may be best for you. Also, many editors do not support all of the features that many browsers may support; if you want to use these features, you will probably have to code them yourself.
This manual is meant to be a guide. Use it to get you started, or refer to it when you need to find the tag for a certain function. One of the best ways to learn HTML is to look at what other people have done. Most browsers have a function to "View Source". This will allow you to look at the coding that someone else used to make her page. If you see something that looks really cool, and you want to know how to do it, LOOK at the source! Just remember, the coding may not be correct or strictly proper. I am not saying to copy someone's code word for word, but use it to figure out what you need to do.
On to Part 2: Writing a Basic Web Page