Web Pages

"We can't help but wonder sometimes if maybe the make-it-look-hard school hasn't played a major role in the steady deterioration of the American diet. "Convenience" foods rule the marketplace and once Madison Avenue has you convinced that they are indeed convenient, what does that make the other foods? Inconvenient, of course..."

The quote above is from The Ultimate Soup Book, by Mary and Mike Spencer.

The concept behind HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is that documents ought to be written in a format that everybody can read. That format ought to be simple, and it ought to work on any machine and OS. The implication of a lot of web development software out there is that web development and the HTML language are difficult, and that there is no way you can do it without assistance, and/or without hundreds of dollars worth of software.

Writing HTML with a text editor actually is easy. Writing with a text editor makes it fairly easy to conform to standards such as XHTML 1. On a PC, Microsoft Notepad is a small, fast, convenient text editor. On Linux, there are almost too many text editors to choose from. Most of them feature syntax highlighting, and automatic code indenting.


The original HTML specification was based on something called SGML, for Standardized General Markup Language. XML, eXtended Markup Language, is a development of SGML.

The concept behind SGML is that you ought to be able to write documents in a portable format. When someone wants to read the document, they run a piece of software called a user agent, which renders it into a form the user can understand.

An SGML document consists of a bunch of functional objects like titles, headings, paragraphs and lists. The author of the document does not worry about formatting. They merely define the functionality of the pieces of document text.

For example, I could write an SGML press release for a variety of user agents. Once of them could display the document on a computer screen in an attractive, rich text format. Another user agent could be a script that runs within Microsoft Word, which prints the document out again in a rich text format, with a company logo. Yet another user agent could render the document into a plain text email. Finally, I can have a user agent that reads the text, and converts it to audio for blind people.

An HTML Template

I have created a simple template for new HTML files.

Beginner's Guide to HTML
This is one of the original documents on HTML. It is the one that got me started, and it is a good starting point for any other beginner. It is no longer maintained by the NCSA, and I keep having to search for it, but here it is! It is very old, and there are some anachronisms. Mosaic was an important brower way back when. HTML tags now are lower‑case, as per the new XML standards. There is a website called Beginner's Guide to HTML, but I have not checked it out carefully. It looks interesting.
World Wide Web Consortium
This group, called W3C, defines the HTML and XHTML standards.
Web Pages That Suck
Vincent Flanders. Learn good design by looking at bad design.
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen's Website
This is an excellent website on web useablity.
Best viewed with any browser
This web site is viewable with which ever browser you damn well please. It has been a while since I have seen one of those Best viewed with Internet Explorer at 800x600 buttons. Still, lots of websites are Javascript and Flash happy. The new cellphones make reading a lot of websites a challenge. Support the Any Browser Campaign.
Learn About Domains & HTML
People actually read my page! They even sent me this link! It looks interesting and useful. Maybe I should read it sometime.
The HTML Terrorist's Handbook
How to write evil HTML. This document is old and could use some updating. Opera for GNU/Linux supports the idiotic Microsoft marquee tag, as do all the Gecko based browsers like Mozilla and Netscape! As of 2015Jun10, Opera also supports the blink tag. Watch out!
Doctor Thaddeus Ozone
Doc Ozone tells you how to use all sorts of insane graphics techniques combined with Java Script to create wild websites. Anybody can use his techniques. You need his talent to make a good graphical website.