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TECHNICAL FAQ Technical FAQ The web language 'html'
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‘html' : hyper text mark-up language

In very simple terms, ‘html' is a language which client browser programs such as Netscape or MS Internet Explorer can interpret.

‘html' is used as the base structure of all web pages on the Internet. There are different versions referred to as ‘html 2', ‘html 3' etc., which indicate the capabilities of page formatting etc. The file can be viewed using any text editor to see the actual codes used for page formatting. More knowledgeable web developers would use a standard text editor to edit the ‘html' code directly, but there are many programs that have been developed to assist the beginner, some links can be found here.

Graphic files, sizes and formats :-

When incorporating graphics files into your web pages, the first thing to bear in mind is the size. A page may look excellent when viewed locally with all it's graphics onscreen, but if that page takes an hour to download to a user on a modem connection it is unlikely that it will ever be viewed ! Where possible, you should always try to keep the average image size to around 4K.

File formats
The two main image formats widely used in web pages are ‘GIF' and ‘JPG'. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

The ‘GIF' file format uses 256 colours and does not have any specific compression algorithm to compact the file size, it does however allow a certain colour to be treated as transparent when saved using the GIF 89a format. This ability of transparency is the main reason why GIF images are preferred over JPG, the images can then be treated as objects that float over the background colour of the page.

‘JPG' format images have two benefits over ‘GIF'. i) The format uses compression to pack the files, hence they download quicker, and ii) the files can use 16 million colours.

It may be worth experimenting with the two formats depending on the effect that you are trying to achieve on your pages, but again try and remember that the best looking pages can take a very long time to download.

Software for creating web pages :-

There are a great number of ‘WYSIWYG' (what you see is what you get) web page editors available. You simply create the pages and when complete the program saves the file with either a ‘htm' or ‘html' file extension.

Numerous programs are available for all the major operating systems, we have selected a few links shown below which should set you on your way :-

Product Description
Dreamweaver The most complete editor available, a must.
Frontpage Microsofts web site editor, simple and easy to use.
Home Site Excellent 'html' page creation program.

Paintshop Pro

Superb image creation and manipulation program.

You should also take a look the Tucows site.


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