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Part I: Your First Web Page > Understanding HTML and XML

Hour 1. Understanding HTML and XML

Before you begin creating your own Web pages with HTML, you need a little background knowledge about what Web pages are, how to view and edit them, and what you can expect to achieve with them. This hour provides a quick summary of those basics, and some practical tips to make the most of your time as a Web page author and publisher.

To Do

Here's a review of what you need to do before you're ready to use the rest of this book.

  1. Get a computer. I used a Windows 98 computer to create the figures in this book, but you can use any Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX machine to create your Web pages. The speed of the computer itself doesn't matter much for accessing Web pages, but the speed of the computer's modem or network interface card (NIC) should be at least 28.8Kbps, and faster is better. If you are buying a new modem, be sure it's compatible with the V.90 56Kbps standard.

  2. Get a connection to the Internet. You can either dial up an Internet service provider (ISP) by using the modem in your computer or connect through the local network of your school or business. An old UNIX shell account won't do the trick; it has to be a modern PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) connection, which most ISP companies now offer for about $20 per month. The ISP, school, or business that provides your connection can help you with the details of setting it up properly.

  3. Get a Web browser program. This is the software your computer needs to retrieve and display HTML Web pages. The most popular browser programs are currently Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape Navigator 5. One or the other of these two Web browser programs is used by over 95 percent of the people who look at Web pages, so it's a good idea to get them both. You can buy them in software stores, or get them free through the Internet at http://www.microsoft.com and http://home.netscape.com.

  4. Explore! Use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to look around the Internet for Web pages that are similar in content or appearance to those you'd like to create. Note what frustrates you about some pages, what attracts you and keeps you reading, and what makes you come back to some pages over and over again.



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