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Teach Yourself

HTML 3.2 in 24 Hours


This book would almost certainly not exist today were it not for the author'sloving family, who brought enough fresh carrot juice, tender popcorn, and butterykisses to sustain him through the long hours of its creation.

Nor would you have ever had the enjoyment of reading these pages without the kind-heartedsupport (and insistent "nagging") of my beloved acquisitions editor, BeverlyEppink.

Special thanks must also go to the folks at the Buffalo Mountain Food Cooperativein Hardwick, Vermont, for providing the carrots, popcorn, and butter.

This book is dedicated to my mother, Darlene Hewins (http://netletter.com/hewins/),who had to teach herself HTML without this book.

About the Author

Dick Oliver (dicko@netletter.com) is the tall, dark, handsome authorof lots of great books and software, including Web Page Wizardry, Netscape Unleashed,Create Your Own Web Page Graphics, and Tricks of the Graphics Gurus. He is also thepresident of Cedar Software and the warped mind behind the Nonlinear Nonsense Netletterat http://netletter.com (and severalother Web sites). When he isn't banging on a keyboard, he's usually snowboarding,sledding, skiing, or warming up by the woodstove in his cozy Northern Vermont home(where they celebrate a day of summer each year, too). He likes writing HTML, eatingkiller-spicy Indian food, and waltzing wildly around the office with his daughters--notnecessarily in that order. He also thinks it's pretty cool that authors get to writetheir own "About the Author" sections.

Tell Us What YouThink!

As a reader, you are the most important critic and commentator of our books. Wevalue your opinion and want to know what we're doing right, what we could do better,what areas you'd like to see us publish in, and any other words of wisdom you'rewilling to pass our way. You can help us make strong books that meet your needs andgive you the computer guidance you require.

Do you have access to CompuServe or the World Wide Web? Then check out our CompuServeforum by typing GO SAMS at any prompt. If you prefer the World Wide Web, check outour site at http://www.mcp.com.

Just A Minute: If you have a technical question about this book, call the technical support line at (800) 571-5840, ext. 3668.

As the publishing manager of the group that created this book, I welcome yourcomments. You can fax, e-mail, or write me directly to let me know what you did ordidn't like about this book--as well as what we can do to make our books stronger.Here's the information:

FAX: 317/581-4669

E-mail: newtech_mgr@sams.mcp.com

Mail: Mark Taber
Sams.net Publishing
201 W. 103rd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46290


In the next 24 hours, approximately 100,000 new Web pages will be posted in publiclyaccessible areas of the Internet. At least as many pages will be placed on privateintranets to be seen by businesspeople connected to local networks. Every one ofthose pages--like over 100 million pages already online--will use the Hypertext MarkupLanguage, or HTML.

If you read on, your Web pages will be among those that appear on the Internetin the next 24 hours. And this will be the day that you gained one of the most valuableskills in the world today: mastery of HTML.

Can you really learn to create top-quality Web pages yourself, without any specializedsoftware, in less time than it takes to schedule and wait for an appointment witha highly-paid HTML wizard? Can this thin, easy-to-read book really enable you toteach yourself state-of-the-art Web page publishing?

Yes. In fact, within two hours of starting this book, someone with no previousHTML experience at all can have a Web page ready to place on the Internet's WorldWide Web.

How can you learn the language of the Web so fast? By example. This book breaksHTML down into simple steps that anyone can learn quickly, and shows you exactlyhow to take each step. Every HTML example is pictured right above the Web page itwill produce. You see it done, you read a brief plain-English explanation of howit works, and you immediately do the same thing with your own page. Ten minutes later,you're on to the next step.

The next day, you're marveling at your own impressive pages on the Internet.

Just A Minute: Before you go any further, there's something you should know from the outset. Professional Web page authors talk about three kinds of HTML pages:

The goal of this book is to help you skip past the first and second generations, straight into the exciting world of third-generation Web pages. So don't expect to learn obsolete HTML, or create boring pages with no visual interest. Fortunately, if you start with a "third-generation mindset," learning HTML can be faster, easier, and more rewarding than ever.

How to Use This Book

There are several ways to go through this book, and the best way for you dependson your situation. Here are five recommended options. Pick the one that matches yourneeds.

1. "I need to get some text on the Internet today. Then I can worry about making it look pretty later."
(Total work time: 2-4 hours.)
2. "I need a basic Web page with text and graphics on the Internet as soon as possible. Then I can work on improving it and adding more pages."
(Total work time: 4-8 hours.)
3. "I need a professional-looking business Web site with an order form right away. Then I can continue to improve and develop my site over time."
(Total work time: 6-12 hours.)
4. "I need to develop a creative and attractive `identity' Web site on a tight schedule. Then I will need to develop many pages for our corporate intranet as well."
(Total work time: 8-16 hours.)

5. "I need to build a cutting-edge interactive Web site or HTML-based multimedia presentation--fast!"
(Total work time: 12-24 hours.)

Just A Minute: It may take a day or two for an Internet service provider to set up a host computer for your pages, as discussed in Chapter 4, "Publishing Your HTML Pages." If you want to get your pages online immediately, read Chapter 4 now so you can have a place on the Internet all ready for your first page.

No matter which of the above approaches you take, you'll benefit from the uniquepresentation elements which make this book the fastest possible way to learn HTML.

Visual Examples

Like the "Instant HTML" reference card in the front of this book, everyexample is illustrated in two parts. The text you type in to make an HTML page isshown first, with all HTML commands highlighted. The resulting Web page is shownas it will appear to people who view it with the world's most popular Web browser,Netscape Navigator 3.0. You'll often be able to adapt the example to your own pageswithout reading any of the accompanying text at all.

Special HighlightedElements

To Do: As you go through each chapter, sections marked "To Do" guideyou in applying what you just learned to your own Web pages at once.

New Term: Whenever a new term is used, it will be highlighted in a special box like this one. No flipping back and forth to the glossary!

Time Saver: Tips and tricks to save you precious time are set aside so you can spot them quickly.

Just A Minute: Crucial information you should be sure not to miss is also highlighted.

Q&A, Quiz, andActivities

Every chapter ends with a short question-and-answer session that addresses thekind of "dumb questions" everyone wishes they dared to ask. A brief butcomplete quiz lets you test yourself to be sure you understand everything in thechapter. Finally, one or two optional activities give you a chance to practice yournew skills before you move on.

Coffee Breaks

In every chapter, you'll find a "Coffee Break" section that takes youto an extensive Internet site called the 24-Hour HTML Café (http://www.mcp.com/sams/books/235-8/).I built and opened the café especially to provide readers of this book withoodles more examples and reusable HTML pages than I could ever picture in a shortbook.

At the 24-Hour HTML Café, you'll find every example in this book and manymore complete Web pages designed to reinforce and expand your knowledge of HTML.In fact, you'll see how I developed the 24-Hour HTML Café Web site itself, step-by-step,as you go through the book.

You'll also get to have some fun with whimsical "edutainment" pagesand break-time surprises. You'll find links to a wide variety of Internet resourcesto help you produce your own Web pages even faster. See you there!