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Tell Us What You Think!

Tell Us What You Think!

As the reader of this book, you are our most important critic and commentator. We value your opinion and want to know what we're doing right, what we could do better, what areas you'd like to see us publish in, and any other words of wisdom you're willing to pass our way.

You can email or write me directly to let me know what you did or didn't like about this book—as well as what we can do to make our books stronger.

Please note that I cannot help you with technical problems related to the topic of this book, and that due to the high volume of mail I receive, I might not be able to reply to every message.

When you write, please be sure to include this book's title and author as well as your name and phone or fax number. I will carefully review your comments and share them with the author and editors who worked on the book.

Mail:Mark Taber
Associate Publisher
Sams Publishing
201 West 103rd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46290 USA

Put Your HTML Page Online Today

In the next 24 hours, approximately 100,000 new Web pages will be posted in publicly accessible areas of the Internet. At least as many pages will be placed on private intranets to be seen by businesspeople connected to local networks. Every one of those pages—like over 100 million pages already online—will use Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML.

If you read on, your Web pages will be among those that appear on the Internet in the next 24 hours. This will also be the day that you gained one of the most valuable skills in the world today: mastery of HTML.

Can you really learn to create top-quality Web pages yourself, without any specialized software, in less time than it takes to schedule and wait for an appointment with a highly paid HTML wizard? Can this thin, easy-to-read book really enable you to teach yourself state-of-the-art Web page publishing?

Yes. In fact, within two hours of starting this book, someone with no previous HTML experience at all can have a Web page ready to place on the Internet's World Wide Web.

How can you learn the language of the Web so fast? By example. This book breaks HTML down into simple steps that anyone can learn quickly, and shows you exactly how to take each step. Every HTML example is presented immediately before the Web page it will produce. You see it done, you read a brief, plain-English explanation of how it works, and you immediately do the same thing with your own page. Ten minutes later, you're on to the next step.

The next day, you're marveling at your own impressive pages on the Internet.

Beyond HTML

This book isn't just about HTML because HTML isn't the only thing you need to know to create Web pages today. My goal is to give you all the skills you need to create a stunning, state-of-the-art Web site in just 24 short, easy lessons. I've received literally thousands of email messages from readers telling me that the earlier editions of this book achieved that goal better than any other book available.

Go ahead and scan the bookstore shelves. You'll discover that the book you're holding now is the only one on the market that covers all the following key skills and technologies in plain English that even beginners will understand.

  • XHTML (eXtended HyperText Markup Language) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) are the new standards for Web page creation. Every example in this book (and on the accompanying Web site) is fully XHTML and XML compatible, so you won't have to relearn anything as XHTML and XML replace old-fashioned HTML.

    Do you have existing Web pages that you need to bring up to date so they're compatible with the new standards? If so, Hour 24, “Planning for the Future of HTML,” gives you complete, easy-to-follow instructions for converting HTML pages into XHTML.

  • At the same time, all the examples you learn here have been tested for compatibility with every major Web browser version in use today. That includes Microsoft Internet Explorer, from 4 through 5.5, as well as Netscape Navigator 4 through 6, and Opera. You'll learn from the start to be compatible with the past, yet ready for the future.

  • Hours 8 through 13 teach you to design and create your own Web page graphics (including animations) using industry-standard software that you can download and try for free. Creating graphics is the single most important part of producing a great-looking site—and the part that most HTML books leave out.

  • Along with HTML, you'll learn cascading style sheets (CSS), JavaScript, and Dynamic HTML (DHTML) in Hours 15 through 19. Your Web pages will be interactive and enchanting, not static and unresponsive.

  • In Hour 23, you will learn the basics of using eXtensible Markup Language (XML) to describe data. You will see how easy it is to make data available to Web pages without having to purchase and use complex databases.

  • The technical stuff is not enough, so I also include the advice you need when setting up a Web site to achieve your real-world goals. Key details—designing an effective page layout, posting your page to the Internet with FTP software, organizing and managing multiple pages, and getting your pages to appear high on the query lists at all the major Internet search sites—are all covered in enough depth to get you beyond the snags that often trip people up.

  • A new generation of graphical Web site editors such as Microsoft FrontPage 2000 and Macromedia Dreamweaver have made Web design accessible to more people than ever—but these tools also make it more necessary than ever to understand HTML yourself so that you can create pages that do exactly what you want and are easy to read and maintain. Throughout the book, I include notes telling you when the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editors are helpful and when they are dangerous, along with tips for fixing any mistakes or problems they might put into your pages.

All these essentials (which some authors treat as “extras,” or don't discuss at all) are what made the first four editions of this book non-stop bestsellers. For this edition, I've incorporated the email feedback of thousands of readers to make every lesson easy, fast, and foolproof. I've also added even more hands-on examples for you to experience online and modify to suit your own purposes—nearly 300 sample pages in all. The updated reference appendixes are sure to keep this volume at your side long after you've become an experienced Webmaster.

How to Use This Book

There are several ways to go through this book, and the best way for you depends on your situation. Here are five recommended options. Pick the one that matches your needs.

  1. “I need to get some text on the Internet today. Then I can worry about making it look pretty later.”

    • Read Hour 1, “Understanding HTML and XML.”

    • Read Hour 2, “Create a Web Page Right Now.”

    • Read Hour 4, “Publishing Your HTML Pages.”

    • Put your first page on the Internet!

      (Total work time: 2–4 hours)

    • Read the rest of the book and update your pages as you learn more HTML.

  2. “I need a basic Web page with text and graphics on the Internet as soon as possible. Then I can work on improving it and adding more pages.”

    • Read Hour 1, “Understanding HTML and XML.”

    • Read Hour 2, “Create a Web Page Right Now.”

    • Read Hour 8, “Creating Your Own Web Page Graphics.”

    • Read Hour 9, “Putting Graphics on a Web Page.”

    • Read Hour 4, “Publishing Your HTML Pages.”

    • Put your first page on the Internet!

      (Total work time: 4–8 hours)

    • Read the rest of the book and update your pages as you learn more HTML.

  3. “I need a professional-looking business Web site with an order form right away. Then I can continue to improve and develop my site over time.”

    • Read all four hours in Part I, “Your First Web Page.”

    • Read Hour 7, “Creating HTML Forms.”

    • Read Hour 8, “Creating Your Own Web Page Graphics.”

    • Read Hour 9, “Putting Graphics on a Web Page.”

    • Read Hour 10, “Custom Backgrounds and Colors.”

    • Put your pages and order form on the Internet!

      (Total work time: 6–12 hours)

    • Read the rest of the book, and update your pages as you learn more HTML.

  4. “I need to develop a creative and attractive 'identity' Web site on a tight schedule. Then I need to develop many pages for our corporate intranet as well.”

    • Read all four hours in Part I, “Your First Web Page.”

    • Read Hours 5, 6, and 7, which deal with Web page text.

    • Read Hours 8, 9, 10, and 11, which deal with Web page graphics.

    • Read Hours 12, 13, 14, and 15, which deal with Web page design.

    • Put your pages on the Internet and your intranet!

      (Total work time: 8–16 hours)

    • Read the rest of the book and update your pages as you learn more HTML.

  5. “I need to build a cutting-edge interactive Web site or HTML-based multimedia presentation—fast!”

    • Read this whole book.

    • Put your pages on the Internet and/or CD-ROM!

      (Total work time: 12–24 hours)

    • Review and use the techniques you've learned to continue improving and developing your site.

It may take a day or two for an Internet service provider to set up a host computer for your pages, as discussed in Hour 4. If you want to get your pages online immediately, read Hour 4 now so that you can have a place on the Internet all ready for your first page.

No matter which of these approaches you take, you'll benefit from the unique presentation elements that make this book the fastest possible way to learn HTML.

Visual Examples

Every example in this book is illustrated in two parts. The text you type in to make an HTML page is shown first, with all HTML commands displayed. The resulting Web page is shown as it will appear to people who view it with the world's most popular Web browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer. You'll often be able to adapt the example to your own pages without reading any of the accompanying text at all.

Although the figures use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, I always tell you if the page will look different in other browsers or older versions. Everything in this book works with both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Special Highlighted Elements

As you go through each hour, sections marked To Do guide you in applying what you just learned to your own Web pages at once.

Whenever a new term is used, it is highlighted with a special icon like this one. No flipping back and forth to the Glossary!

Tips and tricks to save you precious time are set aside so you can spot them quickly.

Crucial information you should be sure not to miss is also highlighted.

Coffee Break sections give you a chance to take a quick break and have some fun exploring online examples.

When there's something you need to watch out for, you'll be warned about it in these sections.

Q&A, Quiz, and Exercises

Every hour ends with a short question-and-answer session that addresses the kind of “dumb questions” everyone wishes they dared to ask. A brief but complete quiz enables you to test yourself to be sure that you understand everything presented in the hour. Finally, one or two optional exercises give you a chance to practice your new skills before you move on.

The 24-Hour HTML Café

Every sample page illustrated in this book, plus over 150 more complete Web pages designed to reinforce and expand your knowledge of HTML, can be found at an Internet site called the 24-Hour HTML Café (http://24hourHTMLcafe.com/). I built and opened the Café especially to provide readers of this book with oodles more examples and reusable HTML pages than I could ever picture in a short book.

You'll also get to have some fun with whimsical “edutainment” pages and break-time surprises, plus an extensive hotlist of links to a wide variety of Internet resources to help you produce your own Web pages even faster. See you there!

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