HTML Complete

Overview

HTML Complete, Second Edition is a one-of-a-kind computer book—valuable both for its broad content and its low price. This completely updated book contains the essentials you need to know about creating and modifying Web pages with HTML.

With HTML Complete, Second Edition, you'll learn all about Web publishing&#151working with HTML, designing pages, and using page components&#151and you'll quickly take advantage of all that HTML has to offer. Get up to speed with HTML, ...

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Overview

HTML Complete, Second Edition is a one-of-a-kind computer book—valuable both for its broad content and its low price. This completely updated book contains the essentials you need to know about creating and modifying Web pages with HTML.

With HTML Complete, Second Edition, you'll learn all about Web publishing&#151working with HTML, designing pages, and using page components&#151and you'll quickly take advantage of all that HTML has to offer. Get up to speed with HTML, then move on to Web design and advanced Web languages such as JavaScript, DHTML, ASP, XML, and XHTML. As you become more proficient with HTML, you'll find the Master's Reference appendix an invaluable daily tool. This in-depth reference quickly puts the latest HTML tags, properties, and attributes at your fingertips.

Getting Started

  • Understanding Web pages and HTML
  • Designing and navigating Web sites
  • Formatting the body section of your pages
Using HTML Like a Pro
  • Learning Web typography
  • Achieving high-end color
  • Adding graphics
  • Using layout technology
  • Optimizing your pages for Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape Navigator
  • Formatting your site with Cascading Style Sheets
Going Beyond HTML
  • Adding advanced content to Web pages
  • Working with Perl and CGI
  • Creating real-world HTML forms
  • Exploring and navigating Dynamic HTML
  • Learning JavaScript
  • Introducing XML
  • Understanding how Active Server Pages work
  • Catching the next wave: XHTML
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
All this for less than 20 bucks: A detailed HTML introduction. A complete guide to planning and designing your site. Great techniques for using tables, typography, graphics, and navigation. Specific techniques for optimizing your site for IE5 and Netscape. Chapters on multimedia, style sheets, forms, and dynamic HTML. Coverage of Perl, CGI, JavaScript, ASP, even XML and XHTML. Plus a 100-plus-page reference to all HTML tags, including IE and Netscape-specific tags, older tags, and more. Such a deal!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780782142099
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 1008
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sybex, Inc.: Sybex editors and authors have pulled together the best information from these books: Mastering HTML and XHTML; HTML 4.0 No Experience Required; web by design; Mastering XML; XML Processing with Perl, Python and PHP

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Read an Excerpt

HTML Complete


John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-4209-5


Chapter One


Introduction to Web Design

Web designers and web developers today play many different roles, and need a tool kit with a wide variety of skills. Designing and creating a website includes both technical skills and design skills, as well as an overall knowledge of how the web and web technologies work. In this chapter, you will learn some fundamental principles of design and information architecture for the web and be introduced to the history of the web and the development of HTML.

If you were to venture to your local bookstore, you would find that web design books are for the most part split into two separate sections: tools/technology and design. Why is this? Aren't design issues important to those learning web design tools? Absolutely! Unfortunately, most tool-specific books on web design are just that: tool-specific. Readers buy them to learn about a specific program. Many people have difficulty seeing that the tool itself is just the beginning of web design. It's something you use to realize the creations that, if you've done your job right, have already been completed in your head and on paper.

This paper and brain production (sometimes referred to as predigital production) is the web design topic that appears in those other books in the other part of your local bookstore's computer section. What's the big deal about big picture web design issues anyway? It is that your website will sink or swim based on its design (a general term that covers many different issues that will be discussed in this chapter). As a result, even if you are focusing on a specific tool, it's a good idea to at least have a primer in the basics of web design.

This chapter is an introduction to the big picture of web design issues; there is no way that I could cover everything you need to know in one chapter. However, this chapter, which is part web history lesson and part web design starter, should give you a basic introduction to web design, along with an idea of what you might want to explore further on your own. At the very least, it will introduce you to some of the most important design issues, so that you don't inadvertently make a major blunder when you are building your HTML creation.

How the Web Works

As early as the 1940s, computers were seen to be instruments to manage and distribute huge amounts of information. Douglas Engelbart, upon reading Vannevar Bush's famous 1945 Atlantic Monthly article "As We May Think," noted that "If these machines [could] show you information on printouts, they could show you that information on a screen." Further, he saw a link between the TV-like interface and the information processor as a medium for representing symbols. An individual could steer through different information spaces, viewing data and graphics in different ways. Most importantly, however, was the fact that Engelbart saw the expansion of the medium into a theater-like environment in which one could sit with colleagues and exchange information simultaneously on many levels. The realization of these ideas, however, did not come to fruition for some 44 years.

Why should a humble web designer or web developer care about the roots of the web? In order to better understand the medium in which you'll be working, it's helpful to have at least a cursory idea as to how it all came about. After all, most traditional artists (whether they are painters, printmakers, or sculptors) benefit from a solid understanding of the particular form in which they are working.

This section of the chapter will start off with a brief exploration of how the web got started. From there, we'll move on to how Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the lifeblood of the web, works. Finally, we'll finish off this section with a brief look at the web as it exists today.

Not So Humble Beginnings

Originally developed as an initiative of the Defense Agency Research Projects Administration (DARPA) in partnership with several prestigious universities and research institutions, the Internet, which at that time was called ARPAnet, was a prototype communication system designed to withstand the inevitable electromagnetic pulse generated by a thermonuclear attack. It wasn't long before ARPAnet spawned a sister network for the research community, supported and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Called the NSFnet, the network soon found its way into most universities around the world.

For all of its technological wonder, however, NSFnet was little more than an obscure scientific endeavor. NSFnet, which ultimately became known as the Internet, required adeptness at cryptic computer programs and obscure protocols. Even if one mastered the necessary skills to take advantage of the Internet, where to go and what to do was pretty puzzling, and it wasn't useful for much other than e-mailing.

At its height, NSFnet was a massive library of some of the most advanced information on the planet. The problem rested on the fact that it was extremely difficult to identify and locate a given source of information. It was akin to walking down each isle of an enormous library in the dark and scanning each book to figure out what was available. Once you found something relevant to your needs, you had to "read" (that is, download) the entire book rather than browse just the parts that were of interest to you. Worse still, once found, a piece of information often referred to another valuable source without providing the means to locate it.

In 1989, tired of the perpetual hunt and peck of the Internet, a researcher named Tim Berners-Lee at the CERN atomic research center in Switzerland proposed software and protocols that would enable computers to browse the information contained on the NSFnet. This one event irrevocably changed the nature of how this global computer network was used.

NOTE

CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucleaire.

Berners-Lee's software (dubbed a browser) and protocols created the ability to browse information easily and navigate not only different documents on the same computer, but documents on other computers. Key to the technology was the concept of hyperlinks, which were highlighted words or symbols the user could click and be transported to the next "page" in the sequence. Berners-Lee's Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) made hyperlinks possible.

Within months of the release of the early version of the web browser developed by Berners-Lee, web software spread throughout the research community like wildfire. By July 1993, more than 130 servers were web enabled.

Shortly thereafter, a small group of students at the University of Illinois, among them Marc Andreessen (who later founded Netscape), took it upon themselves to rectify many of the shortcomings of the very primitive prototype web browser available to the public. Most significant among their accomplishments was the addition of a graphical user interface (GUI) to what had been mostly text-based software and the adaptation of the browser, enabling it to function on the Windows operating system. Following this, there was an incredible jump in the number of websites-a phenomenon that can be directly correlated with the release of the first version of the University of Illinois NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) Mosaic web browser (see Figure 1.1).

The rest, as they say, is history. NCSA Mosaic changed everything. Not only did the web become graphical, but it became accessible way beyond the academic community. Not long after Mosaic's introduction, Andreessen, along with five others, left the University of Illinois to found the Mosaic Communications Corporation, which later became the Netscape Communications Corporation, one of the first truly commercial web software ventures. Before you could say "holy alleged antitrust, Batman," Microsoft got in on the action, and thus begun the browser wars. However, before we discuss these and other browser-related design issues, there is some additional ground that needs to be covered in this section.

HTML: The Lifeblood of the Web

As mentioned earlier, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was one of the things that made the web possible. In reality, HTML is not a computer language such as C++ or Pascal; it is a system for describing documents. A plain text document is "marked up" using a series of commands called tags (see Figure 1.2). A browser interprets the HTML document and displays it.

The fact that an HTML document is plain text is significant for a couple of reasons. First, because plain text can be interpreted by any platform (IBM, Macintosh, and UNIX), HTML is truly cross platform and universal. Second, because HTML is plain text, it can be written using the simplest of programs (such as Windows' Notepad or Mac's SimpleText).

The first incarnation of HTML (version 1) allowed very basic page layout, including font size, hyperlinks, and embedding of graphics. It is important to remember that HTML 1 was the standard only insofar as the first popular browser, Mosaic, was designed to interpret it. It wasn't until more browsers appeared on the market that a standard version of HTML was defined. As various versions of HTML were proposed and adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C, an organization that develops web standards), the language became more powerful. The inclusion of new layout features, such as frames and tables, allowed greater options for the development of web pages. In addition, image maps and new graphics formats increased the integration of images and basic interactivity.

The most recent version of HTML (version 4.01), which has been dubbed Dynamic HTML (DHTML), has some very exciting features that give web designers a lot more freedom than they previously experienced. Although each successive version of HTML offered unparalleled opportunities for publishing hypertext documents, the medium was not as malleable as many would have liked. HTML documents were far more difficult to lay out than traditional print documents. In HTML, text could be arranged only in a limited number of ways, making it hard to create a compelling visual experience. In addition, the way HTML treated graphics made it difficult to lay out a document. Finally, the interactivity in HTML documents was limited to the actual hypertext. It was not until the release of Dynamic HTML that many of these problems were solved.

Strictly speaking, Dynamic HTML is really just the most recent version of HTML. The difference, which is relatively substantial, comes from two primary new features: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and the capability to integrate scripting languages more efficiently with HTML.

NOTE

If you are particularly interested in learning how to create Dynamic HTML, see Chapter 18, "Bringing Pages to Life with DHTML and XHTML."

CSS lets the designer precisely define fonts, margins, line spacing, and other elements of an HTML document. Unlike HTML, in which fonts could be defined in only four sizes, DHTML allows type to be defined in point size. In addition, CSS allows designers to specify x and y coordinates to achieve exact positioning of elements within a document. Further, much like traditional print documents made with Adobe PageMaker or QuarkXPress, elements can be stacked one upon another by defining their position with z coordinates. Simply put, CSS gives designers the opportunity to lay out web pages with a greater degree of accuracy, enables much more control over how a document will appear in a browser, and provides for the stacking and composition of text and images.

NOTE

The word element has a specific meaning when we talk about markup languages such as HTML and XHTML. An element in HTML and XHTML is used to define a structure in a document, for example, p is an HTML/XHTML element that defines a paragraph structure. For more details on using elements in HTML and XHTML, see Chapters 2 and 3.

DHTML becomes even more powerful when you add in the greater integration of scripting languages. For some time now, designers have been using JavaScript to create simple effects and mouseover events. In most cases, however, the script controlling the event was just replacing one image with another, creating the effect of a dynamic change. With DHTML, JavaScript or Microsoft's VBScript can be used to achieve true dynamic control of page elements. For example, using conventional HTML and JavaScript, a designer can make a headline appear to change when the user runs his mouse over it. What really happens is that the script replaces the image of the headline with another image. With DHTML, the same effect can be accomplished using text and changing the font definition tag in runtime. This is extremely important because text is loaded far faster than images are. Figure 1.3 illustrates an HTML document in which JavaScript has been integrated.

NOTE

Offered up by the W3C in January 2000, XHTML, a synthesis of HTML and XML, is the heir apparent to HTML. For more information on XHTML, go to www .oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2000/04/28/feature/xhtml_rev.html.

Waiter, There's a Fly in My Soup

How does the web work? Without getting too crazy and technical, you can think of the web as a fancy restaurant.

Let's start off with a brief exploration, in very dry terms, of how the web works, and then we'll bring in the restaurant thing. It's important to know that the web works on what is called a client/server relationship. A client, the web browser in this case, is software that runs on a local computer that communicates with a server in another location. The other half of the equation is the server, which is a computer that performs tasks for other computers, such as sending out e-mail. When you type a URL into a browser (or click a hyperlink), two separate technologies (HTTP and TCP/IP) are used to send a request to a router. The router, which is a piece of hardware that sits between the user's computer and the web server, looks at the request and decides to which web server (there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, in the world) it should be sent. The server examines it, decides (based on the URL itself) which document is being requested, locates and retrieves the document from somewhere within its directory structure, and sends it back along the route from which the request came. On the way back, the router makes sure the requested document is sent to the client that originally made the request. The last leg happens when the client (the web browser) receives the requested document and displays it for the user's reading (or viewing) pleasure. That's the basics of how the web works.

A little confused? Don't worry; even a description as stripped down as this can be a tad perplexing. This is where the restaurant analogy comes into the picture. Imagine if you were to walk into one of your favorite restaurants and were seated at your favorite table. You peruse the menu and decide upon a delectable soup to start your meal. You put down the menu and signal your waiter. When he comes to your table, you say, "Good evening my good man, I would like to start off with a bowl of gazpacho, please." He nods his head, quickly moves to the kitchen and hands the order to the head chef, who gives the order to one of his newest chefs (it is only a bowl of soup). After a while, the soup is made. From there, it is handed back to the head chef, who hands it to the waiter, who takes it to your table, where you sit back and enjoy the beginning of a lovely meal.

Let's recap: You tell the waiter what you want to eat-that is, you type a URL into a browser. From there, the browser/waiter sends your request to the head waiter, who fulfills a task not unlike a router, making sure the request gets to the proper place. After your request/order has been passed on to the appropriate chef/server, it is fulfilled and handed back to the router/head chef, who then hands it back to the waiter/browser, who finally gives it to you for consumption. Make a little more sense?

Browser Madness

We left off in our history of the World Wide Web somewhere in 1994. Netscape Communications Corporation had just released the first version of Netscape, affectionately nicknamed Mozilla. Not long after that, wanting to get in on the action, Microsoft released Internet Explorer, which quickly became Netscape's primary competitor. In addition, around the same time, Sun Microsystems developed a browser called HotJava, and America Online (AOL) developed one called the AOL browser.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from HTML Complete Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I Introducing HTML 1
Ch. 1 Introduction to Web Design 3
Ch. 2 Getting Acquainted with HTML and XHTML 29
Ch. 3 Creating Your First HTML or XHTML Document 59
Ch. 4 Stepping Out: Linking Your Way Around the Web 101
Ch. 5 Publishing Your (X)HTML Documents 133
Ch. 6 Planning for a Usable, Maintainable Website 153
Pt. II Planning and Designing Your Web Page 195
Ch. 7 Formatting the Body Section of Your Pages 197
Ch. 8 Dividing a Window with Frames 235
Ch. 9 Layout Technology 269
Ch. 10 Adding Graphics 299
Ch. 11 Presenting Information in Tables 333
Ch. 12 Web Typography 381
Pt. III Advanced HTML 417
Ch. 13 Optimizing Your Web Pages for Internet Explorer 419
Ch. 14 Optimizing Your Web Pages for Netscape Navigator 445
Ch. 15 Including Multimedia 463
Ch. 16 Using Style Sheets 487
Ch. 17 Developing Forms 541
Ch. 18 Bringing Pages to Life with Dynamic HTML and XHTML 587
Pt. IV XML 611
Ch. 19 XHTML: HTML Goes XML 613
Ch. 20 Introduction to XML 627
Ch. 21 Fundamentals of XML 635
Pt. V Appendices 647
App. A HTML and XHTML Elements and Attributes 649
App. B Cascading Style Sheets Reference 863
Index 921
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2004

    A must read - - if you want to learn HTML

    This is an excellent book to learn all about web publishing. Any one can quickly learn all about HTML tags, adding graphics,formating a Web page, creating forms etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2000

    HTML COMPLETE IS COMPLETE!

    This book is excellent, I really enjoy reading it and find it very useful, I can't wait till another edition comes out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2000

    A Motherload of Information!

    I bought this book because I needed an easy reference for simple HTML code. But then was so pleased to find that its so much more! I recommend anyone who needs a good HTML reference to not waste your money on those others that are inflated in price. This book has it all and then some. It may not be an end all solution for those who are advanced web designers. But It is such a great start. It will even get you started in JavaScript, CGI and Perl etc..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2000

    Good Reference

    I liked the book's reference section, but I found it light on programming and heavy on design. Some of the content was very repetitive. If you are interested in design, buy this book. If you are interested in advanced topics, like Perl, CGI, or JavaScript, you'll probably be disappointed.

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