So you've heard about this World Wide Web thing, and you wanna get your own grinning mug stuck up on a billboard along the Information Superhighway. Or maybe you've amassed so many photographs of your beloved calico cat, Bixby, that your scrapbook is bursting at the seams. At any rate, you believe it's time to take advantage of the web's massive space and convenience, as well as its ability to transform the trivial by etching it into the ether for eternity.

Well, all right, but just remember, no one wants to stumble onto your self-absorbed crap while looking for material that is genuinely useful, entertaining, or, ahem, stimulating. With that caveat, we proceed.

First of all, go visit your favorite page and see what you like on it. What's that? You're here already? You're so sweet. (We're blushing.) Now look at what the designer of the page has done to impress you. Complex arrangements of graphics? Sophisticated use of logos? Animation? Interactive JavaScripts? Are you going to learn today to do all these things for yourself, in the comfort of your own home?

Altogether now: No. Instead, we are going to show you how to construct a simple personal page, which will demonstrate the essential features of web-authoring, while saving the use of bells and whistles for a later installment. Your multimillion-dollar e-commerce portal and IPO will have to wait for another time (and another SYW). Patience, grasshopper.


There are several ways to create HTML documents. First of all, you can type in HTML code instructions and content yourself, using a text-editing program. Simple text editors are included with Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 (WordPad and Notepad), and on the Macintosh (SimpleText). These are basically stripped-down word processors that your computer already has. You could also use an HTML editor like Microsoft FrontPage 2000. These applications let a user simply point and click his or her way to a completed web page, without ever having to look at a confusing line of HTML code. Finally, several word-processing and desktop publishing applications (e.g., Microsoft Word 97 and 2000, Adobe PageMaker 6.0) allow you to easily convert your word-processed documents into HTML code by saving them in HTML format.

We'll be using the first method, 'raw' HTML code, because there is something bold and daring about manipulating the primordial elements of the World Wide Web, shaping and molding it to our will. We will also be coding our HTML by hand because: 1) it will help you to better understand how web pages work, 2) you will then know how to edit pages, no matter how they were created, and 3) some browsers may not recognize all of the features that an application such as Microsoft FrontPage might add to a web page. (We know it's hard to believe that Microsoft would ever make one of its products less than perfectly compatible with somebody else's, but hey, it could happen.) Think of it like learning to drive on a stick shift -- learning the tough way first gives you the skills to drive any car in the future.