The Tools

by Joe Gillespie — Apr 1, 2000

I'm not going to start explaining the finer workings of HTML here, there are lots of other sites and books that do that. You can create a Web page in any text editor, and a lot of people prefer to do it that way. But HTML is like a magic spell, get the spell right and you get magic, get the words wrong and instead of a handsome prince, you get an ugly toad. Nearly right, is not good enough!

To make things easier, there are WYSIWYG editors (What You See Is What You Get), except that, where the Web is concerned, what you see is seldom what other people get. Never assume that what you see on your computer screen is what other people are going to see, it just doesn't work like that.

The first couple of generations of WYSIWYG editors produced pretty awful Web pages. When I say awful, I mean that they were inefficient, with loads of unnecessary data that increased the size of the files, and the bandwidth requirements, for no good reason. Some still do that, but the better ones like Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive produce code that is reasonably close to pure, hand-coded HTML. These programs are aimed at professionals though, they are quite expensive and you have to spend a considerable amount of time to learn how to use them properly. The days of the 'simple' WYSIWYG editor are long gone, but if you want a taste of what they are all about without spending a lot of money, Netscape Communicator has something called 'Composer' built-in, which is fine for simple pages and is completely free.

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