A Quick Guide to HTML Authoring and Designing
And Links to Other Cutting-Edge Technology on the Web

By Dong Secuya

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There are scores of links on the Internet that talk about web authoring and good page designs. Reading through all of them may not only be confusing but insurmountable as well. The following links are what I considered to be the cream of the crop and could help an aspiring HTML student to have a jumpstart on good page authoring and designing.

At the outset, any serious HTML designer needs all the room to maneuver. The current crop of Web authoring tools available on the market has not, in my opinion keep up to this standard and therefore I do not recommend using any one of them.

For your authoring tool, any good text editor will do but I found WinEdit

from Wilson WindowWare especially helpful as it allows you to create your own utility macros. This makes it possible for you to assign keystrokes combination to all HTML codes you need. This is equivalent to building your own personalized web authoring tool! This is specially beneficial since working on the keyboard is always a lot faster than working with a mouse. For the Mac, BBEdit is it.

Next is you should have total mastery of HTML codes, meaning, you could write HTML in your sleep :) . It used to be easier to learn the codes until the advent of tables and frames, plug-ins, scripts and applets, as well as the different extensions espoused by different browsers! For the uninitiated, there is a formidable Tower of Babel out there.

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A good way to start is to get a copy of the latest (yes, it keeps on changing) HTML specification from W3C , the organization that keeps tab on HTML development. This gives you a fairly good idea of what the beast is all about. However, learning the W3C supported codes is not enough as other browsers on the market, the majors as well as the minor ones, have their-own-browser-specific supported codes. To get a glimpse of which browser supports what code, get a copy of Kevin Ready and Janine Warner's HTML Tag and Atrribute Support by Browser, which covered 12 different browsers on the market today including MS Explorer 3.0. If you want to know what all these codes will do, then get a copy of Ron Wodall's Compendium of HTML Elements.

All the above-mentioned materials give you a well rounded perspective of the current state of HTML affairs and therefore guides you in your decision on what codes to include or not to include in your web pages depending on the kind of browsers you want to support or the kind of market you want to reach.

You're now then ready to tackle the designing phase of your journey towards HTML perfection. A visit to David Siegel's site is a must for every aspiring student of web design. David Siegel is the single most innovative person I know on web page authoring and designing. Many of the techniques I used I learned just by visiting his site.

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We should not also forget that the coding side of web page creation is probably only half of the entire job, depending on the kind of page your are designing. The other aspect is graphics production--a very important component because of the bandwidth limitation of the Internet. For a very comprehensive coverage of web graphics creation and manipulation, get Lynda Wiemann's book <designing web graphics>.

Another popular graphic material being used right now is GIF animation. GIF animation allows you to put some action (literally) to your pages which does not require any extra component on your browser. For a good starting point on GIF animation, visit Royal Fraser's GIF animation gallery.

Enhancements. For a well-rounded presentation, you may want to put some counters, clocks or database searches on your pages. Visit Digit Mania for a repository of web access counters and clocks. For setting up a search engine on your pages, the Simple Web Indexing System for Humans or SWISH is the most popular.

Although not currently widely supported by most browsers and the browsing public, plug-ins, scripts and applets are now available to do some wonders to your pages. If you have plenty of time to spare, you may want to try and experiment with them before they get to be the norm. The Java Boutique has a wide collection of applets. Real Audio is the most popular plug-in for sound capability on Netscape browsers (MS Internet Explorer has a built in sound player).

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For Video, Quick Time by Apple seems to be the choice. VRML for 3D animation are making inroads at some high bandwidth sites and for Video presentation, Shockwave is it.

Sample Pages. To check on some actual applications of some of the things discussed above, visit Make it Cebu's welcome page where you find complex table layouting techniques sychronized with GIF animations and image maps to create a wholesome and eye-catching presentation. The idea of one whole image broken into different GIF animation parts was originlly presented into the net by the creator of VirginUSA.

The Near Future. These are early days of the Internet revolution and even now it already has a telling effect on how people conduct their affairs in the world. In the forefront of this development is the World Wide Web and people shaping its course are the same people that are shaping our future. To get a glimpse of what lies ahead check out the following sites:

Online TV - It has been expected that the telephone, cable, radio and television will be incorporated into your desktop

computers. Don't fail to see this first attempt to bring interactive TV shows into your desktop. Note: no plug-ins required on your browser to see and hear this online television.

Web Cinema - TV or Cinema, same banana. This web page brings you right in the front seat of cinema development on the web.

Online Radio - Online music has been going on for quite a while now. Check out this page for updates.

Real time Video Chat on the Web - The Internet keyboard chatters have graduated into real time Video chat. Check out this latest craze on the net.

Cable Modems - Expected to replace the telephone modem we are currently using, cable modems could transmit data at a speed of 40mbps, that's 1,300 times faster than the fastest telephone modem we have now. Cable modems were seen to herald the realization of total interactiveness on the World Wide Web.

Electronic Cash - The final nail to seal Internet's dominant grip on our lives.

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