HTML 3.0 Manual of Style


Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is not a programming language. It's a surprisingly simple system of formatting tags that allows even those with no programming experience to design World Wide Web pages. How simple is HTML? So simple that this one small book contains all you need to know to create your own personal, hyperlinked Web pages. Author Larry Aronson covers every vital aspect of HTML3, using concise explanations and lucid examples. This handy manual shows you how to exploit the newest features of HTML3, ...
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Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is not a programming language. It's a surprisingly simple system of formatting tags that allows even those with no programming experience to design World Wide Web pages. How simple is HTML? So simple that this one small book contains all you need to know to create your own personal, hyperlinked Web pages. Author Larry Aronson covers every vital aspect of HTML3, using concise explanations and lucid examples. This handy manual shows you how to exploit the newest features of HTML3, including how to use inline figures, tables, and style sheets. You'll produce professional-looking Web pages with hyperlinks and graphics in no time! HTML3 Manual of Style features instructions for using HTML syntax and formatting tags, annotated examples of actual Web pages, helpful hints for designing a home page and converting existing documents, and explanations for incorporating graphics into your HTML documents.

HTML is the programming language used to create World Wide Web pages, so that users of Mosaic and other Web browsers can access data. The expanded, second edition concisely introduces the language and acts as a great reference tool. The heart of the book is approximately 30 spreads where the left page is programming code and the right page is a real-world example of the results of the code.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781562763527
  • Publisher: Ziff-Davis Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 7.31 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1 What Is HTML? 1
2 The HTML Language 11
3 Writing HTML Documents 51
4 Tutorials 67
5 Advanced Design 91
6 Interactivity 111
7 HTML Examples 125
App. A HTML Quick Reference 175
App. B Resources 187
Index 193
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First Chapter

Chapter 3 - Writing HTML Documents

  • General HTML principles

  • Good HTML style

  • Creating a home page

  • Converting an existing document to HTML

HTML is so easy that it''s tempting to jump right in and starting writing text with markup tags, checking the files with Mosaicor one of the other graphical browsers and making correctionsas you go. You can put information on the World Wide Web veryquickly. In a day or two, you can create an HTML hypertext workthat will establish a solid presence on the Web for you or yourorganization. However, it''s just as easy to create a sloppy hypertext work as it is to create a neat one. In this chapter you''ll find a discussion of the principles of writing good World Wide Webpages, plus step-by-step walk-throughs of two kinds of Webapplications-- building a personal home page and converting an existingdocument to hypertext.

Of course, all of this is rapidly growing and changing. Perhapsthe most widely observed convention found in Web documents isthe inclusion of the phrase "Under Construction." Youcan write a home page in a few hours, but you''ll never be finished with it-- it will grow as you do. This is one reason observing afew principles of good design can be so important. The creationof a personal home page, in particular, is an act of creativeexpression in a brand new medium. It is the setting up of yourbooth in Cyberspace to provide information, goods, and services,and to define who you are to the Global Electronic Village.General HTML principles

Another reason good design is so important with Web applicationsis that you have no control over the context from which peoplewill establish links to your Web pages. Think of your Web applicationas a house in Cyberspace; the door is always open. Each HTML pageis a room in this house. Most people will enter via your homepage. A good home page takes care to properly welcome its visitorsand let them know where they are and what interesting resourcesare to be found inside. The navigation controls of their browserwill let the reader exit the way they came in; still, it''s nice when the home page provides suggestions and links to other placesin Cyberspace to visit.

Not everybody will enter your Web application through its homepage. Some people will come in through the windows of other roomsin your Cyberspace house. There are a number of automated programsthat continually explore the World Wide Web, building databasesof titles, headings, and URLs as they link from one Web serverto another. These are sometimes called robots, spiders,worms, or web walkers. There is a page on the Web withinformation on known robots at You could askthe World Wide Web Worm, for example, to provide a list of all Web pages thathave the word fractal in their title. Such links are independent ofthe structure the authors of those pages intended. The point is that readerswill find ways you didn''t anticipate to enter your hypertext work. Help these people out; at a minimum, provide a link back to your home page fromevery other page you put on the Web. Don''t leave lost readers feeling more lost than when they entered.

Remember also that your HTML documents-- the source code of yourWeb application-- are readily available to anyone who can accessthe Web. Other HTML authors may copy elements of your pages andincorporate them into their Web applications. Hypertext workson the World Wide Web are living, growing structures. If you keepthis in mind, with a little preparation, practice, and planning,your hypertext works can grow and evolve as smoothly as the Webdoes.

Probably the best preparation for writing HTML documents for theWorld Wide Web is reading World Wide Web HTML documents. Get afeel for what other authors have put on the Web and the approachesthey''ve taken in organizing and formatting their work. You'll need a graphical browser to fully appreciate what others havedone with HTML. You should at least have NCSA Mosaic. Other browsersmay have more features than Mosaic; however, most of the documentscurrently on the Web have been written with Mosaic in mind. Mosaicis great software. It comes in versions for Microsoft Windows,Apple Macintosh, and Unix X/Windows, and it''s free-- a heck of a deal.

The home page for all three versions of Mosaic,, is a good place tostart your study of Web pages. Another good place is NCSA''s What's New page on the same server, page is updated every two weeks with links to Web pages that have justbeen created. It''s a good sampling of what people in many different fields are doing right now on the Web with HTML.

Mosaic and most of the other graphical browsers can save any HTMLdocument on the World Wide Web in its original form as an HTMLfile. It is then a simple matter to open that HTML file in a texteditor to see how HTML was used to create the display seen inMosaic''s window. As practice in writing HTML documents, edit these files and change the tags. Mosaic has an Open Local... choiceunder its File menu that you can use to view the reedited pagesto see your changes reflected in the browser''s display. After looking at a number of HTML documents and playing with the elementsof HTML, you should start to have an idea of what you can do withyour own applications. But before you start, it''s good to review a few principles that apply to computer programming in generalbut have special application to HTML documents on the World WideWeb.

General principle number 1: Keep it simple. Emphasize contentover form. You have little control over the exact look your documentwill have when viewed by the various browsers readers have attheir disposal, so don''t waste a lot of effort trying to get something to look just right; instead, spend your time making the content-- theinformation you want to convey to the reader-- clear and compelling.If the typography of a document must be exact, consider puttinga version of that document on your Web server in a format thatcan be downloaded by the reader-- a Microsoft Word document in RTF(Rich Text Format) or an Adobe PostScript or Acrobat file, forexample.

Make sure the images on your Web page are informative. A smallpicture of you on your home page provides readers with informationthat words alone cannot convey. A picture of your car, unlessyou''ve done something extraordinary with it, does not. Avoid putting up Web pages that emulate automated teller machines with largegraphic buttons for links. They take too long to load and areharder to maintain. HTML provides different list structures, oneof which should do to organize any set of links. As the applicationevolves, you''ll find it a lot easier to change these list structures than you would a set of pictures. Your Web page should not looklike a magazine cover, either. Readers will choose to link toyour page because they are browsing related information, not becauseof your cool graphics. Web pages are not in competition with eachother for the reader''s attention.

The Internet, and the World Wide Web in particular, is growingso fast that many Internet experts are worried that bandwidth,essentially the networks'' capacity to handle traffic, is starting to get scarce. So it''s considered polite practice (good netiquette) to keep the amount of data you''re asking others to move across their networks on your behalf to a minimum. Large graphic elementseat up bandwidth. Your PC graphics program is probably great atcreating beautiful three-dimensional bar charts with gradientcolor fills, but you can probably provide the same informationwith a two-dimensional black-and-white graph. One approach commonlyfound on the Web is the use of a small version of a graphic, oftencalled a thumbnail, as a link to a larger version. For example,this bit of HTML

Click <A HREF="Large_AE.GIF"> Albert<IMG SRC="Small_AE.GIF" ALT="Einstein" ALIGN=MIDDLE></A> to see a large (9Øk bytes) picture of the scientist.
creates the Mosaic display shown in Figure 3.1.

The relative URL addressing (using a partial URL to refer to thelocation of a file relative to the URL of the current page) usedin generating Figure 3.1 requires that the two image files referencedin the HTML anchors-- Large_AE.GIF and Small_AE.GIF-- be in the samedirectory as the Web page containing the links. The name Albertand the small image are together the anchor of a link to the largerimage file, Large_AE.GIF. Clicking either one will fetch the largerfile and pass it to a helper application to display it in a separatewindow as an external image. By telling readers in the text howlarge the image file is, you provide them with the informationneeded to estimate how long it will take to load. Note the useof the ALT attribute in the IMG tag to direct nongraphical browsersto display the text "Click Albert Einstein to see a large(90k bytes) picture of the scientist."

General principle number 2: Good work is never done. It is notuntil after your information is made available on the Web thatyou''ll begin to appreciate the hypertext structure that is natural for it. You should expect to frequently update and revise anywork you put on the Web. As you add to and change the informationon a page, you''ll have the opportunity to work with its structure, improve its looks, and replace any dead URLs-- links to Web pagesor servers that no longer exist. You''ll also have the benefit of feedback from other people who have read your work. It''s a good idea-- in fact it''s an accepted Web convention-- to include your signature and e-mail address on your work. And don''t be embarrassed to ask for comments.

A decade ago, a speaker at a computer language conference I attendedformulated this principle into the following law which he namedafter himself. Herewith is Biddlestone''s law:

The requirements of any system are a function of theexperience gained installing that system for the user.

One implication of this law is that whatever information you have,in whatever state it''s in, you should put it up on your server and let people see it. It''s better to make the information available with an explanation than to not make it available at all. It''s not uncommon to come across a page on the World Wide Web (or ona gopher server) with a heading following by the phrase Underconstruction or Work in progress, so you should not beembarrassed to place unfinished or unverified information on your Web pages,as long as you inform your readers of this fact.

General principle number 3: Have fun :-).

The way you approach creating a hypertext work for the World WideWeb depends on what kind of information you want to serve andhow much of is already in digital form. Broadly speaking, thereare two approaches: top-down and bottom-up. If you are startinga work from scratch and there is little or no existing informationalready on line, then work from the top down. If there is alreadya lot of information available that needs organizing, or if there''s an existing work to be converted to hypertext, then start fromthe bottom and work your way up. Of course, not all hypertextapplications fall easily into one of these two categories. Mostreal-world projects are a combination of new work and existingmaterial. This is typical of organizations that already make useof distributed information.

A third approach you might find useful is stealing. Yes, theft-- ifyou find something you like, copy it. Edit other people''s pages and replace their information with yours. You may prefer to thinkof this as borrowing ideas; if so, you should pay back the ideaswith interest.

Stealing from other Web pages can be very productive. I must recommend,however, that you only copy the structure and the hypertext links,not the content from somebody else''s Web page. Avoid copying anything from pages that have explicit copyright statements or that areconnected to organizations with large financial and legal resources.When in doubt, ask. And give credit where it''s due.

Good HTML style

As the Web continues to grow, it becomes ever more important toAs the Web continues to grow, it becomes ever more important towrite HTML that conforms to certain guidelines and styles. Rightnow there are about a dozen Web browsers available. A year fromnow I fully expect that number to triple. The major online servicesall have plans to provide Web browsers as part of their offerings.The new releases of the most popular operating systems, MicrosoftWindows 95, Macintosh System 7.5, and OS/2 Warp have built-inInternet connectivity. This will greatly expand the potentialInternet and World Wide Web user base; expect the major softwarepublishers to respond with a flood of Web products.

So it''s important to write HTML that will look good on any client, not just on Mosaic and the current generation of browsers. Thissection will offer some guidelines as to the do''s and don'ts of writing good HTML documents that are easy to maintain and willproduce presentable results on any browser. If you follow theseguidelines, your document may not look its best on every browser,but it will not look ugly on any browser. Please keep in mindthat none of this is written in stone. The Web, large as it is,is still in its infancy, and nobody wants to inhibit its growth-- or,for that matter, yours.

It is a good idea to sign and date all documents you put on theWeb so that your readers can form some impression of the authorityof the document-- how recent it is and how reliable the source ofthe information is. On a home page or any page that serves asan introduction to a hypertext work, your signature should includeyour full name and e-mail address so readers can send you commentson your work. You can make your name into a link to your personalhome page. On less important pages of the work, your signaturecan just be your initials linked back to the authorship informationon the home page.

You can add an external signature to a Web page by placing a linkelement in the heading of the page. It should be written

<LINK REV="made" HREF="mailto:email_address">

with your e-mail address appearing in place of email_address inthe example. Place it after the title tags and before the closing</HEAD> tag. The REV (reverse relationship) indicates howthis document is related to the object pointed to by the HREFURL-- your e-mail address. The value made says that your e-mailaddress "made" this document. This convention is relativelynew but gaining wide acceptance as a way to provide servers andbrowsers with your identity.

Remember that your documents are going on a World Wide Web, sowhen dating a document, use a long date format with the name ofthe month spelled out or abbreviated-- in other words, October 1,1994, or 1-Oct-94. Formats such as 10/1/94 can be ambiguous.

Probably the most prevalent kind of error in writing HTML is themisuse of paragraph breaks. In part this comes from working somuch with one browser that you begin to accept its handling ofwhite space as common; it also comes from the misconception thatthe <P> element signals an end of paragraph, rather thana paragraph break. According to the HTML specification, "<P>is used between two pieces of text which otherwise would be flowedtogether".

Usually this is not important. In certain contexts, however, useof extra paragraph tags should always be avoided, such as before or after any element that already implies a paragraph break.Avoid placing the <P> element either before or after headingsor text marked with ADDRESS, BLOCKQUOTE, or PRE tags. You shouldnot place paragraph tags immediately before or after a list structureor between the items of a list, either. The list item tags

  • ,<DT>, and <DD> already imply paragraph breaks. Someclarification is needed with the glossary list tags <DT>and <DD>. It is not legal HTML to have more than one <DD>tag following a defining term <DT> tag. If the definitionpart of the entry requires more than one paragraph of text, theuse of paragraph tags to separate them is correct; the use ofmultiple <DD> tags per <DT> is not.

Another common source of error is not properly closing an HTMLelement. With character entities this means forgetting the trailingsemicolon or having blanks separate the character entity fromthe rest of the text. It''s also easy to forget that the ampersand is the escape character. Make sure you write AT&amp;T andnot AT&T. Forgetting one of the double quote marks that shouldenclose a URL is also a common error. Some browsers don''t care if a URL is in quotes, but some do; many will have a problem ifone quote mark is there and the other isn''t.

With tag elements, errors can occur when the closing right anglebracket (>) is missing. Many browsers will properly renderstrings that contain a single right angle bracket with no matchingleft bracket (<) as if that character were part of the text.For example, &lt;This is not a tag> will be displayed as:<This is not a tag>. However, it is recommended that thecharacter entity &gt; be used for the right anglebracket-&lt;This is not a tag&gt;-because if there are any other tagerrors in the document, having an extra > around will only make mattersworse. With nonempty markup tags, forgetting the slash (/) thatbegins the ending element will cause errors, as will having blankson either side of the slash. In both cases, most (but not all)browsers will ignore the incorrect ending tag and produce thesame errors as they would if you forgot the ending tag entirely.Whatever tag was in effect, its formatting would continue intothe following text, possibly to the end of the page.

The nesting of tags should be done carefully. As a general rule,tags that define styles should be inside of tags that imply structure.Without enumerating all the possible combinations, here are afew guidelines:

Avoid nesting other tags inside of a heading. The big exceptionto this rule is anchors marking the text of the heading as thestart or destination of a hypertext link. Headings should nevercontain any tags that imply paragraph breaks. This includes otherheadings, paragraph tags, horizontal rules, list structures, blockquotes,addresses, and preformatted style tags. If you want to createa multiple line heading, use the line break tag
. Likewise,headings should never be enclosed in tags other than <BODY></BODY>and <FORM></FORM> and, of course, the <HTML></HTML>tags that define the document. Enclosing headings with any othertags doesn''t make sense, and the results are unpredictable.

The use of style tags to change the rendering of a heading shouldbe avoided except when applied to a small part of the headingtext, for example:

<H3>Some <STRONG>Important</STRONG> phone numbers<H3>.

Image tags can be used inside of a heading to provide a smallgraphic counterpart to the heading text. Having the image insidethe heading tags is necessary for the browser to recognize theALIGN attribute and place the image properly with respect to theheading text.

Anchors should be the innermost items of a set of nested tags.For example:

<H3>William Shakespeare</H3>An English playwright ....etc., etc.,<ul><li><CITE><A HREF="...">Macbeth</A></CITE><li>...</ul>

One last point with regard to tags is that you should avoid usingany obsolete tags; they can creep into your work if you copy partsof it from other pages on the Web. These elements include <PLAINTEXT></PLAINTEXT>,<XMP></XMP>, <LISTING></LISTING>, <HPx></HPx>,and <COMMENT></COMMENT>. The first three should bereplaced with the preformatted tags <PRE></PRE>; <HP></HP>(highlighted phrase) should be replaced with appropriate styletags; and <COMMENT></COMMENT> should be replaced withSGML comments which are enclosed by the strings <!-- and -->.

URLs can be a source of errors. A URL error won''t affect the rendering of the page in a browser''s display, but a badly composed URL may be incorrectly interpreted by some browsers. Relative URLs, whichare used in the next two sections of this chapter, have strongadvantages-- they''re shorter and they make a collection of documents more portable. However, relative URLs should be used with caresince the URL does not contain all the information necessary toconstruct the link. The missing server and path information istaken by the browser from the URL of the document that containsthe link. Unfortunately, not all browsers do this exactly thesame way. What is always safe is a relative reference to a filein the same directory as the current page. Files in a subdirectorycan usually be referenced by using slash-- a forward slash (/),not the backslash (\) used in DOS path names-- as in:

our clerk, <A HREF="staff/Cratchet.html">Bob Cratchet</A>

You can also refer to the same file above by using a dot to referto the current directory:

our clerk, <A HREF="./staff/Cratchet.html">Bob Cratchet</A>

You can refer to the parent directory by using two dots (..).However, this may not work with all browsers and servers. To beabsolutely safe, any files that are not in the same directoryas the current page should be referenced by their full path andfile names.

Be careful with the use of the file URL method. What this issupposed to do is reference the file on the local host of whoever is browsingthe document. This might be a file on your hard disk or it mightbe a file on your Internet server provider''s computer. It is not supposed to be a file on the Web server pointed to by the currentURL. Unfortunately, some early browsers treat file as synonymouswith ftp. Unless you know what you are doing, avoid using thisURL method.

These are only some of the more common sources of error. Developinga good HTML style is a matter of practice, studying the work of others, and finally, good common sense.

Creating a home page

A home page is the one hypertext document within a work that isintended as the primary starting point of the work. This is wherethe work is introduced and placed in the larger context in whichit''s contained. This definition has to be a bit abstract as it depends partially on the reader''s point of view. The World Wide Web can be viewed as a single hypertext work, albeit one withmany authors. The default home page for the Web is at CERN, theEuropean Center for High Energy Physics Research. The URL is

Your personal home page is the starting point for all of yourhypertext works. Since it will be created from scratch, I recommendusing a top-down approach, starting with a simple outline likethis:

  1. Your Name
    1. A welcome message
    2. Information about you
    3. A statement of your goals
    4. Current activities/announcements
    5. Related information
    6. Signature, address, time stamps

You needn''t follow the above outline exactly, but this is the information readers generally expect to see on a personal homepage.

Before you begin editing the HTML files you need somewhere toput them. Create a new directory for these files. A subdirectoryof the one that contains Mosaic or your favorite browser is agood location as it will keep your path names short. Figure 3.3refers to this directory as WebSpace; you can name your directoryanything you want. Into this new directory place a text file containingan HTML template. Give this file an obvious file name such astemplate.html. If your operating system supports stationary orread-only documents, you should save this template as such toprevent overwriting it accidentally. Make sure you also save itas a plain text file instead of saving in your word processor''s normal format. Next start with a copy of the template file andfill in the TITLE and BODY sections based on the outline above,like so:

<HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Johannes Kepler''s Home Page</TITLE> </HEAD><BODY><H1>Johannes Kepler</H1><STRONG>Welcome to my Home Page!</STRONG><HR><H2>Who am I</H2><H2>What is this Document</H2><H2>Current Projects</H2><H2>Related Information</H2><HR><ADDRESS>Johannes Kepler &lt;;</ADDRESS>Created: September 26, 1994,Updated: September 27, 1994</BODY></HTML>

and save it in WebSpace directory as homepage.html. All HTML documentsshould have filenames that end with the extension .html unlessthe files reside on a DOS system, in which case they should havethe extension .htm. If you now load this file into Mosaic, you''ll get the display shown in Figure 3.2.

From here on, it''s just a matter of filling in paragraphs of narrative text under each heading with perhaps some subheadings and maybea picture of yourself. At this stage, don''t worry about the hypertext structure; that will evolve as you develop the page from the topdownward. If you find that under some heading you are just listingitems, then use one of the HTML list structures. A common featureof many home pages is a list of links to the author''s favorite Internet sites. Put such lists under the Related Information heading.

Now read what you''ve written. Did you mention the World Wide Web? If you did, then make that reference into a link to the WorldWide Web''s home page at CERN:

<A HREF="">World Wide Web</A>

Likewise for any organizations that you refer to in the text thathave home pages on the Web.

Do you have a copy of your resumé on line? If you do, thencreate a plain text version of that file and save it in the WebSpacedirectory as resume.txt. The .txt extension (and the lackof <HTML></HTML> tags) tells browsers not to interpret the fileas a hypertext document-- in other words, to respect the carriage returns andother white space in the file and present it as is. Later on you can createan HTML version of this text file, but this will do for now. Your filestructure should now look something like the directory listing (slightlysimplified) in Figure 3.3. In the section that tells the reader who you are,make a link to the text file, like this:

 ...can see my <AHREF="resume.txt">resume</A>, if you wish. 

Try to incorporate the text that anchors hypertext links intothe natural flow of the paragraph''s prose, as the example above does and not refer to the anchor text explicitly, as in:

Click <A HREF="resume.txt">here</A> to seemy resume.

The word here has no semantic relation to the file that it pointsto. That is, if a program should scan your Web page recordingeach anchor URL and its associated anchor text, the word resumewould provide additional information about the file it pointsto; the word here would not. Besides, you can pretty well assumethat the readers know what is and what is not a link by the timethey get to your page.

The entire home page should not be more than a few screens. Ifany section starts getting more than a few paragraphs long, it''s time to create a new page and link to it from your home page.For example, suppose under the heading Who am I you list yourfavorite activity, astronomy. In the same manner that you createdyour home page, create a astronomy page containing a descriptionof your equipment, your favorite planets, and perhaps, a linkto the Usenet newsgroup news:sci.astro. Save the astronomy pagein the WebSpace directory and on your home page, making the word"astronomy" into a link, like so:

blah, blah, blah, favorite activity:<A HREF="astronomy.html">astronomy</A>.

By keeping all the files in the same directory as your home page,all the links can be specified relatively with simple file names.When you copy these documents to a directory on a Web server,these links will still be valid. This way, you maintain a localworking copy of your Web application that mirrors what you haveavailable on the Web.

The final touch is to add your picture to your home page. Thereare many ways to get a picture onto your computer-- scanner, digitalcamera, Photo CD-and the image file formats differ from one operatingsystem to another. However you got your picture onto your computerand whatever file format it is in, it must be converted into oneof two image file formats, GIF or JPEG, before you put it up inyour WebSpace as a part of your home page.

Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) is the older and more commonlyfound format. It was invented by Compuserve and is widely usedon the Internet and BBSs for downloadable images. It is the preferredformat for inline images. JPEG, a standard developed by the JointPhotographic Equipment Group, is newer and not yet supported bymany browsers. It incorporates data compression so that an imagefile in JPEG format can be considerably smaller than the sameimage in GIF format. There are many utilities programs, both sharewareand freeware, for converting files from one image format to another.

When an image is expanded in a Web page, it is treated as if itwere a character of text. If the image follows an explicit orimplied paragraph break, it will be positioned at the left marginof the page. If the image begins with or is embedded in a lineof text, that text will be aligned with the top, middle, or bottomof the image according to the value of the ALIGN attribute. Nospace is inserted either before or after the image to separateit from the text it is embedded in; you must explicitly providethat space, if you want it there.

It''s quite permissible to place an image in a heading, for example:

<H2><IMG SRC="kepler.gif" ALIGN=MIDDLE>Johannes Kepler</H2>

or to use an image as the anchor of a link, as in

<A HREF="kepler.html"><IMG SRC="kepler.gif" ALT="Johannes Kepler"ALIGN=BOTTOM></A>

Note the use of the ALT attribute; without it, readers with nongraphicalbrowsers wouldn''t know what the link was. All they would see is [IMAGE].

Unfortunately, there''s no provision in HTML level 2 for wrapping text around an image. One thing that you can do, however, is makea transparent GIF image. The GIF format allows one color on theimage pallet to be transparent so that when the image is placedon top of the background color of the display page, the backgroundshows through whatever pixels have that color. Transparent GIFsare especially useful for placing images on a page so that theyappear without a border, such as lettering in a fancy or coloredtypeface. See Chapter 4, Figure 4.7, for a home page with a transparentGIF image.

Converting an existing document to HTML

In contrast to creating a home page, converting an existing documentto hypertext is best approached from the bottom up. Suppose youhave a user''s guide for some aspect of your business. It could even be a guide to using the Internet. We will assume that thedocument is rich text, a general term for any document that''s more than a simple text file. A rich-text document uses type stylesand sizes, margins, and line spacing. The ability to create rich-textdocuments is what distinguishes word processing programs, suchas Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and MacWrite, from text editors.SGML languages such as HTML provide machine-independent methodsfor adding rich-text information to a plain text document. Hypertextdocuments on World Wide Web servers are text files, so first youhave to create a plain text version of the guide before you buildit back up to rich text with HTML elements.

Working from the bottom up, you''ll create a series of versions, each a refinement of the previous one. When the conversion ofthe guide is completed, you''ll have a full hypertext version consisting of linked files, a single file version suitable for printing,a text-only version for readers with nongraphical browsers, andthe original version in a stuffed and encoded form for downloadingvia ftp. On top of all this, you can create a home page for theguide that describes the work and has links to the various versionsas well as authorship and status information and links to relatedworks.

Let''s assume that our user's guide is written and maintained in Microsoft Word. The first thing to do is create a new directoryfor the project-- let''s call it Guide. It can be a subdirectory of WebSpace or a sibling, whatever is appropriate to the relationof this work to your other hypertext works. Make working copiesof the file (don''t work on the original), one in Microsoft Word's normal format and one in text-only format, and put them in theGuide directory. Give the latter a file name ending in the extension.txt. This file is what you will point out to readers with line-modebrowsers. Later you may want to edit this text-only version andput in notations where the figures and illustrations were.

Go back to the working copy in normal format. It will be the basefrom which the other versions are created. You can create theftp version from this file by stuffing and encoding it. Stuffingcompacts the file by removing excess space, encoding creates a7-bit portable version of the file, allowing it to be moved andstored as a text file on any kind of operating system. Place thenew file in the Guide directory.

Before you can add any markup tags to the working copy of thefile you must replace the special characters that are needed forHTML markup with appropriate character entities. First do a globalreplace of the ampersand with string &amp; This will ensurethat the final HTML document will be free of any unintended characterentities. Next, replace all occurrences of the left angle bracket(<) and right angle bracket (>) with the strings &lt;and &gt;, respectively, to ensure that the only markup tagsin the document are the ones you intended to be there. Then tryto find and replace any of the special characters in the textfrom the ISO Latin-1 character set (such as å or ç),curly quotes, and symbols.

Horizontal tabs present a problem as they are not interpreteduniformly by all browsers, although most browsers will ignorethem completely except in preformatted text. It''s generally a good idea to get rid of as many tabs as possible by replacingthem with an appropriate number of blanks. Delete any tabs thatare used only for paragraph indentation and enclose any tablesor other nonparagraph text with the preformatted style markuptags <PRE> and </PRE> to preserve their line breaksand spacing. Later on, you can go back and replace some of thepreformatted sections with other HTML structures.

Note: The specification for HTML+ includes a TABLE markup. Atthe time of this writing, that specification is not complete andI can''t recommend using it. This may change by the time you read this.

if there are figures and illustrations in the file (figures havecaptions, illustrations do not), they will have to be copied toindividual files and removed from the text. Use a file-namingconvention that preserves the image''s location-- for example, GUIDE03-F04.PICT-- for the fourth figure in Chapter 3 of the guide. Theleading zeros in the file name will insure proper sorting in a directorylisting if you have more than nine items. The .PICT extension used hereindicates that this file is in the Macintosh PICT format. Theseimage files now have to be encoded into the GIF format. As youremove each figure and illustration, leave an in-line image tagin its place with an ALT attribute describing it-for example

<IMG SRC="GUIDEO3-FO4.GIF" ALT="Fig. 3-4. A typical Gopher menu">

As with any other computer project, save frequently and make backups.

Remove any headers and footers from the guide, since you haveno control over how many lines a browser will display per pageor screen and page numbering is not important in hypertext works.At the beginning of the file create an HTML head section withthe main title enclosed in title tags, followed by the startingtag for the body section, followed by the main title again asa level 1 heading. Place the matching end tags at the end of thefile. It should look something like this:

<HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Internet Guide</TITLE></HEAD><!-- Guide.html, a hypertext guide to the Internet --><!-- Converted from MS Word file: INT_GUIDE        --><!-- J. Kepler, September 29, 1994.                --><BODY><H1>Internet Guide</H1>...{ rest of the file }...</BODY></HTML>

Save this file as a text-only file. Give it a file name with.html as the extension-- Guide.html will do. Next, starting from thebeginning of the file, work your way through, placing line breaks(
) and paragraph (<P>) tags where needed and enclosingheadings in heading tags. Use heading level 2 for the major divisions of theguide, level 3 for the next level, and so on. As you go through the file,enclose any styled text with appropriate tags-- <STRONG></STRONG>for boldface text, <EM></EM>for underlined text, <CITE></CITE>for text in italics, and so forth. Try to avoid using the explicitstyle tags <B></B>, <U></U>, and <I></I>unless that style is explicitly referrred to within the text.Look for places in the text where HTML lists can be used to structureinformation you previously marked as preformatted text. When you''ve completed this pass, the first draft of the HTML version of theguide is finished. Save this file. Your directory should now looksomething like Figure 3.4:

It''s time to load your work into Mosaic and see what it looks like. Print it out and show it around. You may at this point wantto work with an HTML editor or a text editor with HTML extensions;See Appendix C for some of the software now available.

The next step is to go through the file adding anchors and links.Make the text of each of the major headings a named anchor. Usethe heading''s index from the table of contents as the name, for example:

<H3><A NAME="G32">3.2 Gopher</A></H3>

In the table of contents, create a link to each of these headings:

<li><A HREF="#G32">3.2 Gopher</A>

Do the same with any footnotes in the work. If there are referencesto other documents on your network or references to resourceson the Internet, create links to them as well. If you''re not sure about the URL, make a guess. An incorrect URL will not crash thesystem; you can repair these bad links when you have the correctinformation.

When you are finished with this process you''ll have the long hypertext version of the guide. This version will be more suitable for printingthan your final version will be, but will still be suitable foronline browsing (although it may take some time to load over aslow line). Take some time to clean up and test this version,using different browsers if possible. If the original guide hada glossary, an index, or a quick reference section, now is thetime to decide how to implement these features in hypertext.

When the long version is fairly stable, decide how to break itup into separate files. Having a hypertext work in a series oflinked files has several advantages. The individual files arefaster to load and the reader can have more than one section ofthe work displayed at the same time. Ideally, no single part ofthe guide should be more than a dozen screens worth of information.The exception to this is very long list structures, which shouldgo into separate files for easier maintenance. The table of contentswill go into the guide''s home page. If a section of the guide is long and has many subsections, consider creating a mini-homepage for that section with its own, linked mini-table of contents.

Each file will have to begin and end with the HTML tags definingthe head and body of the page. Copy the title of the work as awhole and make it a level 1 heading as the very first elementof the page body of each file so your readers know what they''re reading. Put a horizontal rule under the level 1 heading and youhave a page header. Here is what the beginning of the Chapter3 page might look like:

<HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Internet Guide, Chap. 3</TITLE></HEAD><!-- GuideØ3.html, Chapter 3 of Internet Guide     --><!-- Converted from MS Word file: INT_GUIDE        --><!-- J. Kepler, September 29, 1994.                --><BODY><H1>Internet Guide</H1><HR><H2><A NAME="G3Ø">Chapter 3 - Clients</A></H2>A nice introductory paragraph should go here.<H3>Contents</H3><MENU COMPACT><li><A HREF="#G31">ftp</A><li><A HREF="#G32">Gopher</A><li><A HREF="#G33">...</A></MENU><H3><A NAME="G31">3.1 ftp</A></H3>...

Any links to anchors that are now in different files must be updatedto include the file name of the destination. Links in other filesto anchors in this file, Guide03.html, will also have to be updated.The home page for the entire guide will contain the table of contents,the introduction, the guide''s authorship information (make your name a link to your personal home page) and links to related works.

A nice touch is to add a set of navigation buttons to the bottomof each page in the guide. This next bit of HTML, at the end ofthe file for Chapter 3, creates a set of four text buttons thatlink to other files of the guide. The last link, [CONTENTS], goesto an anchor named ToC on the guide''s home page, the file GuideHome.html. You can also use small icons for these buttons, but eachicon will have to be in a separate file. Following the buttons is a link backto the authorship information on the guide''s home page.

<HR><A HREF="GuideHome.html">[TOP]</A><A HREF="GuideØ2.html">[PREVIOUS]</Agt;<A HREF="GuideØ4.html">[NEXT]</A><A HREF="GuideHome.html#ToC">[CONTENTS]</A><ADDRESS><A HREF="Guide.Home#author">JK</A></ADDRESS></BODY></HTML>

Figure 3.5 shows what the Chapter 3 page (minus a lot of the middle)looks like in Mosaic.

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