HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition


As both the Web and the browsers used to navigate it mature, work-arounds that compensate for the myriad factors that affect Web page appearance no longer cut it. Users expect Web pages to look beautiful regardless--and with the Fifth Edition of this popular Visual QuickStart Guide, you can make your Web pages comply. By following the generously illustrated, step-by-step instructions that are the hallmark of the Visual QuickStart series, you'll create beautiful code that works consistently across browser versions...

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As both the Web and the browsers used to navigate it mature, work-arounds that compensate for the myriad factors that affect Web page appearance no longer cut it. Users expect Web pages to look beautiful regardless--and with the Fifth Edition of this popular Visual QuickStart Guide, you can make your Web pages comply. By following the generously illustrated, step-by-step instructions that are the hallmark of the Visual QuickStart series, you'll create beautiful code that works consistently across browser versions and platforms (including hand-held devices and cell phones) in no time.

This updated edition includes a new section on foreign-language and multilingual Web sites as well as ample coverage on how the use of HTML is changing. What hasn't changed, however, is the book's popular format: Task-oriented, step-by-step instruction that builds on your growing knowledge. Info-packed appendixes, a comprehensive index, and plenty of screen shots and code examples make HTML for the World Wide Web, Fifth Edition, with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide a must-have reference. Whether you're just getting your feet wet (no prior HTML knowledge is required) or design Web sites for a living, you'll turn to this best-selling guide again and again for answers to all of your HTML-related questions.

This step-by-step guide on using Hypertext Markup Language to design pages for the Web presumes no prior knowledge of HTML, or even the Internet. It uses clear, concise instructions for creating each element of a Web page, and covers everything from titles and headers to complex tables and "clickable" graphics. 224 pp.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The Web’s grown up. So has its browsers, which increasingly sport version numbers like 6 and 7. So have its users, who will no longer settle for lousy navigation, cruddy layouts, or pages that just don’t look right.

So do your HTML right. Learn what works in today’s more mature browsers (CSS, especially, comes to mind) -- and take full advantage of it. Rely on your spiffy web layout software, sure, but never blindly. Get yourself some help.

Get yourself HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS Visual QuickStart Guide. It’s the easiest HTML book we’ve seen that still manages to be comprehensive, and to stay firmly grounded in the reality of today’s demanding users and complex browsers. (Check out the price: it’s also one heck of a value.)

The book’s intelligence, clarity, and friendliness can be traced to its author, Elizabeth Castro. (If, as we expect, you like her style, you can stretch your skills later with her Visual QuickStart Guides on Perl and CGI, and on XML).

The book’s careful task-based organization, step-by-step instructions, clean design, and zillions of tips and screen captures are, of course, common to all Peachpit’s Visual QuickStart Guides. (By now you probably know how easy these books are to learn from; if you don’t, you’re missing a good bet.)

Virtually every page or two in this book introduces a new task. And virtually every task includes both sample HTML code and an illustration of what that code will look like in a contemporary browser -- a great starting point for experimentation.

As Castro observes, no matter how complex web pages get, a remarkably simple structure still lies underneath: text content, references, markup, and (optionally) information about encoding and the version of markup being used (known in W3C lingo as the “doctype”). Castro discusses each in turn -- and the relationships among them.

Along the way, she makes sense of stuff that can easily trip up beginners: whether to create symbols and foreign language characters with old-fashioned special character references or with Unicode; why all your filenames should be lowercase; and what you need to know first about the differences between HTML 4 and XHTML (they both use precisely the same elements, attributes, and values, but “HTML [is] a laid-back don’t-sweat-the-details kind of person. Perhaps not quite as hard-working as XHTML, but much happier and at ease with herself. XHTML, on the other hand is downright uptight. Always vigilant, never taking a rest. Sure, she gets more done, but what a price!”

Speaking of XHTML, this book covers XHTML extensively. The previous edition, now more than three years old, was published way too long ago for that.

Also for the first time, this book contains extensive coverage of CSS. If you’re still not using CSS1, you probably ought to be for most sites and applications. Castro recommends relying on it not only for formatting fonts and size but also for laying out your page’s elements. Implement your site with a separate CSS file containing layout instructions, and it’s easy to apply consistent changes site-wide. Try that with tables. Bonus: Your viewers get smaller, faster-loading pages.

Yes, we know… “Netscape 4.” Well, according to Statmarket, all the Netscapes together are now down to 3.4 percent of the market -- and much of that is the CSS-compliant Netscape 6 and 7. More to the point, Castro offers a full chapter of strategies for accommodating old and buggy browsers while still gaining the benefits of CSS. (She also presents sample pages that work great in current browsers and degrade gracefully in ancient ones.)

Everything you need to learn (or remind yourself) about is covered here. Web images (making them float, stopping them from wrapping, aligning them, adding space around them). Links (targeting them to specific windows, creating keyboard shortcuts for links, working with image maps). Lists. Tables. Frames. Forms. Embedding multimedia and scripts. Testing and debugging. Password protected pages. Souped-up Mailto: links. Drop caps. Automatic slide shows. We’re out of space, and she’s only getting started. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

From The Critics
This guide explains how to code HTML and create efficient web pages through series of step-by-step instructions accompanied by screenshots. It covers text formatting, page layout, creating links, applying styles, and adding tables and forms. The fifth edition cites the stricter XHTML syntax and adds a chapter on web pages for mobile devices. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
A tutorial for novices and a reference for experienced users, featuring step-by-step instruction, tips, troubleshooting advice, and a visual approach with screenshots and code examples. This fourth edition contains a new debugging chapter, expanded coverage of cascading style sheets, a new section on attracting visitors to a web page, and a set of CGI scripts for processing forms. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Internet Bookwatch
Elizabeth Castro's HTML For The World Wide Web appears in its 4th edition to provide a fine visual guide to the language. Beginners receive pictures rather than lots of text: all the basics are covered in an easily-accessed format.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321130075
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press
  • Publication date: 9/17/2002
  • Series: Visual QuickStart Guide Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Castro has written numerous books, including the best-selling Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide,

, and the four previous editions of this best-selling title.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: Designing Your Web Page

...Designing Your Site

Although you can just jump in and start writing HTML pages right away (seepage 34), it's a good idea to first think about and design your site. That way, you'll give yourself direction and save reorganizing later.

To design your site:

1. Figure out why you're creating this page. What do you want to convey?

2. Think about your audience. How can you tailor your content to appeal to this audience? For example, should you add lots of graphics or is it more important that your page download quickly?

3. How many pages will you need? What sort of structure would you like it to have? Do you want visitors to go through your site in a particular direction, or do you want to make it easy for them to explore in any direction?

4. Sketch out your site on paper.

5. Devise a simple, consistent naming system for your pages, images, and other external files (seepage 26).


  • On the other hand, don't overdo the design phase of your site. At some point, you've got to dig in and start writing.
  • If you're not very familiar with the Web, do some surfing first to get an idea of the possibilities. You might start with Yahoo's Cool Links:

Organizing Files

Before you start to create your files, it's a good idea to figure out where you're going to put them.

To organize your files:

1. Create a central folder or directory to hold all the material that will be available at your Web site. On the Mac, choose File > New Folder in the Finder (Figure 2.2). In Windows, from the Active Desktop, choose File > New > Folder (Figure 2-3).

2. Divide the central folder in a way that reflects the organization of your Web site. You may decide to create a separate folder for HTML documents, one for images, and one for other external files. if you have a large site with many pages, you may wish to divide the site into categories or chapters, placing the images in the individual folders.


  • Use simple, one-word names without symbols or punctuation for your files and folders. Use all lowercase letters so that your URLs are easier to type and thus your pages are easier to reach. For more details on how to create good file names, consult File Names on page 26.

Creating a New Web Page

You don't need any special tools to create a Web page. You can use any word processor, even WordPad or SimpleText, which are included with the basic Windows and Macintosh system software.

To create a new Web page:

1. Open any text editor or word processor.

2. Choose File > New to create a new, blank document (Figure 2-5).

3. Create the HTML content as explained in the rest of this book, starting on page 35.

4. Be sure to save your file as directed on page 40.


  • If you like Microsoft Word, you can use it for writing HTML too. just be sure to save the file correctly (as Text Only and with the htm or html extension). For more details, consult Saving Your Web Page on page 40.
  • If you use PageMill, FrontPage, or some other Web page editor to start your pages, you can still tweak their HTML code. just choose File > Open from your text editor of choice and open the file. Then use the rest of this book to add your own HTML tags by hand and create the HTML page you want.
  • Well, you can use SimpleEdit or WordPad, but if you want to get fancy, try BBEdit for Mac or HomeSite for Windows. Both have powerful search and replace function, automatic HTML tags in color, syntax checkers for debugging problematic pages, and assorted other helpful features. For more details, consult HTML Editors on page 350.

Starting Your Web Page

The very first thing that you should type on your page is the HTML tag. It identifies the contents of your text document as HTML code,

To start your Web page:

1. Type <HTML>.

2. Leave a few spaces for creating the rest of your page (using the rest of this book).

3. Type </HTML>.


  • Perhaps even more important than the HTML tag-which is optional, after allis the file extension (seepage 26). Of course, we humans also benefit from the HTML tag, since it indicates what the rest of the document holds.
  • Create a template with the HTML tags already typed in as a starting point for all your pages.
  • Earlier editions of this book recommended using the !DOCTYPE tag to tell the browser which version of HTML was used for the page. The truth is, however, that although the W3C would like you to use the !DOCTYPE tag, I haven't found a single browser that cares one way or the other. On the other hand, I do get buckets of e-mail from people confused about it. So, I've changed my mind. If you're concerned about following the W3C's specifications to the letter, check out Otherwise, just forget about the !DOCTYPE tag. ...
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Table of Contents


The Internet, the Web, and HTML. Open but Not Equal. The Browser Wars. The Push for Standards. The Real World. What Should Your Use? How This Books Works. The HTML VQS Web Site.

1. Web Page Building Blocks.

Markup: Elements, Attributes, and Values. A Web Page's Text Content. Links, Images and Other Non-Text Content. File Names. URLs. HTML vs XHTML. Versions, Flavors, and DOCTYPE. The Default Display of (X)HTML. Adding Style to Your Web Pages. The Cascade: When Rules Collide. A Property's Value.

2. Working with Web Page Files.

Designing Your Site. Creating a New Web Page. Saving Your Web Page. About Microsoft Word and Web Pages. Specifying a Default or “Home” Page. Editing Web Pages. Organizing Files. Viewing Your Page in a Browser. The Inspiration of Others.

3. Basic (X)HTML Structure.

Starting Your Web Page. Creating the Foundation. Declaring the Encoding. Creating a Title. Creating Section Headers. Starting a New Paragraph. Naming Elements. Breaking Up a Page into Divisions. Creating Inline Spans. Creating a Line Break. Adding Comments. Labeling Elements in a Web Page.

4. Basic (X)HTML Formatting.

Making Text Bold or Italic. Changing the Size of Text. Using a Monospaced Front. Using Preformatted Text. Quoting Text. Creating Superscripts and Subscripts. Marking Changed Text. Explaining Abbreviations.

5. Creating Web Images.

About Images for the Web. Getting Images. The Save for Web Command. Making Images Smaller. Creating Transparency. Saving Images with Transparency. Simulating Transparency. Using (Mostly) Browser Safe Colors. Reducing the Number of Colors. Showing Images Progressively. Blurring Images to Aid JPEG Compression. Creating Animated GIFs.

6. Using Images.

Inserting Images on a Page. Offering Alternate Text. Specifying Size for Speedier Viewing. Scaling an Image. Linking Thumbnails to Images. Making Images Float. Stopping Elements from Wrapping. Adding Space around an Image. Aligning Images. Adding Horizontal Rules.

7. Links.

Creating a Link to Another Web Page. Creating Anchors. Linking to a Specific Anchor. Targeting Links to Specific Windows. Setting the Default Target. Creating Other Kinds of Links. Creating Keyboard Shortcuts for Links. Setting the Tab Order for Links. Using Images to Label Links. Dividing and Image into Clickable Regions. Creating a Client-Side Image Map. Using a Server-Side Image Map.

8. Creating Styles.

Constructing a Style Rule. Constructing Selectors. Selecting Elements by Name. Selecting Elements by Class or ID. Selecting Elements by Context. Selecting Link Elements Based on Their State. Selecting Part of an Element. Selecting Elements Based on Attributes. Specifying Groups of Elements. Combining Selectors.

9. Applying Styles.

Creating an External Style Sheet. Linking External Style Sheets. Offering Alternate Style Sheets. Creating an Internal Style Sheet. Importing External Style Sheets. Applying Style Locally. The Importance of Location. Adding Comments to Style Rules.

10. Formatting with Styles.

Choosing a Font Family. Embedding Fonts on a Page. Creating Italics. Applying Bold Formatting. Setting the Font Size. Setting the Line Height. Setting All Font Values at Once. Setting the Text Color. Changing the Text's Background. Controlling Spacing. Adding Indents. Setting White Space Properties. Aligning Text. Changing the Text Case. Using Small Caps. Decorating Text.

11. Layout with Styles.

Structuring Your Pages. The Box Model. Displaying and Hiding Elements. Positioning Elements Absolutely. Affixing an Element to the Browser Window. Offsetting Elements in the Natural Flow. Changing the Background. Changing the Foreground Color. Changing the Cursor. Setting the Border. Adding Padding around an Element. Setting the Margins around an Element. Setting the Height or Width for an Element. Positioning Elements in 3D. Determining Where Overflow Should Go. Making Elements Float. Controlling Where Elements Float. Aligning Elements Vertically.

12. Style Sheets for Printing.

Using Media-Specific Style Sheets. How Print Style Sheets Differ. Controlling Page Breads. Other Print Specific CSS Properties.

13. Lists.

Creating Ordered and Unordered Lists. Choosing Your Markers (Bullets). Choosing Where to Start List Numbering. Using Custom Markers. Controlling Where Markers Hang. Setting All List-Style Properties at Once. Creating Definition Lists. Styling Nested Lists.

14. Tables.

Mapping Out Your Page. Creating a Simple Table. Adding a Border. Setting the Width. Centering a Table on the Page. Wrapping Text around a Table. Combining Tables. Aligning a Cell's Contents. Changing the Background. Controlling the Space. Spanning a Cell across Columns. Spanning a Cell across Rows. Dividing Your Table into Column Groups. Dividing the Table into Horizontal Sections. Choosing Which Borders to Display. Controlling Line Breaks in a Cell. Speeding up Table Display.

15. Frames.

Creating a Simple Frameset. Creating Frames in Columns. Creating Frames in Rows and Columns. Combining Framesets. Creating an Inline Frame. Adjusting a Frame's Margins. Showing or Hiding Scroll Bars. Adjusting the Color of the Borders. Adjusting the Frame Borders. Keeping Visitors from Resizing Frames. Targeting Links to Particular Frames. Targeting Links to Special Spots. Changing the Default Target. Nesting Framesets. Offering Alternatives to Frames. Embedding Content with Objects. Making Frames More Accessible.

16. Forms.

About CGI Scripts. Getting a Script. Using the Scripts Included with This Book. Preparing a Script. Creating a Form. Sending Form Data via E-mail. Using a Form Hosting Service. Creating Text Boxes. Creating Password Boxes. Creating Radio Buttons. Creating Checkboxes. Creating Menus. Creating Larger Text Areas. Allowing Visitors to Upload Files. About Hidden Fields. Adding Hidden Fields to a Form. Creating the Submit Button. Resetting the Form. Using an Image to Submit Data. Organizing the Form Elements. Formally Labeling Form Parts. Setting the Tab Order in a Form. Adding Keyboard Shortcuts. Disabling Form Elements. Keeping Elements from Being Changed.

17. Multimedia.

Of Plugins and Players. Getting Players for Your Visitors. Getting Multimedia Files. Embedding QuickTime Movies. Scaling a QuickTime Movie. Looping a QuickTime Movie. Putting QuickTime Sounds on a Page. Hiding QuickTime Sounds. Embedding Windows Media Player Files. Inserting Java Applets. Embedding Other Multimedia Files. Linking to Multimedia Files. Creating an Automatic Slide Show. Creating a Marquee. Adding Background Sound.

18. Scripts.

Adding an “Automatic” Script. Calling an External Automatic Script. Triggering a Script. Creating a Button that Executes a Script. Adding Alternate Information. Hiding Scripts from Older Browsers. Hiding Scripts from

19. JavaScript Essentials.

Adding the Current Date and Time. Changing a Link's Status Label. Changing Multiple Frames with One Link. Keeping Frames in Their Framesets. Changing an Image When a Visitor Points. Loading Images into Cache. Controlling a New Window's Size.

20. Symbols and Non-English Characters.

About Character Encodings. Saving Your Page with the Proper Encoding. Editing a Page with the Proper Encoding. Declaring Your Page's Character Encoding. Adding Character from Outside the Encoding. Specifying Your Page's Language.

21. Formatting: The Old Way.

Choosing Default Characteristics for Text. Formatting Bits of Text. Another Way to Choose Default Colors. Changing the Color of Links. Striking Out or Underlining Text. Making Text Blink.

22. Layout: The Old Way.

Using Background Color. Using Background Images. Centering Elements on a Page. Specifying the Margins. Keeping Lines Together. Creating Discretionary Line Breaks. Specifying the Space Between Paragraphs. Creating Indents. Creating Indents (with Lists). Creating Blocks of Space. Using Pixel Shims. Creating Columns. Positioning Elements with Layers.

23. WML: Web Pages for Mobile Devices.

Preparing Your Sever. Starting Your WML Page. Creating a Card. Creating Basic Content. Including an Image. Creating a Table. Creating a Link. Programming Buttons. Creating Conditional Actions. Scheduling an Action. Making a Call. Setting and Using Variables. Creating Input Boxes. Creating Menus. Processing Data from Visitors. Creating Elements on Multiple Pages. Restricting Access to a Deck. Testing WML Pages.

24. Testing and Debugging Web Pages.

Validating Your Code. Checking the Easy Stuff: HTML. Checking the Easy Stuff: XHTML. Checking the Easy Stuff: CSS. Testing Your Page. When the Browser Displays the Code. When Images Don't Appear. Differences from Browser to Browser. When Nothing Appears in Netscape 4. Still Stuck?

25. Publishing Your Pages on the Web.

Finding a Host for Your Site. Getting Your Own Domain Name. Transferring Files to the Server. Transferring Files to AOL.

26. Getting People to Visit.

About Keywords. Explicitly Listing Keywords. Providing a Description of Your Page. Controlling Other Information. Keeping Visitors Away. Keeping Pages from Being Archived. Creating a Crawler Page. Submitting Your Site to a Search Engine. Improving your Ranking by Getting Linked. Writing Pages that Are Easy to Index. Other Techniques for Publicizing Your Site.

Appendix A: (X)HTML Elements and Attributes.

Appendix B: CSS Properties and Values.

Appendix C: Intrinsic Events.

Appendix D: (X)HTML Symbols and Characters.

Appendix E. Hexadecimals.

Appendix F: (X)HTML Tools.

(X)HTML Editors. Images and Graphics. Graphics Tools.


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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2005

    Great Self-teaching tool!

    I started out with another reference tool and quickly returned it in favor of this book. It's easy to follow, easy to read and very user friendly. As a sales and marketing director for a small graphics design firm, I am now confident in my ability to design, create and market a beautiful ecommerce website for my employer!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    For the new and experienced

    I've been building websites for about 7 years now and am a firm believer that you can always learn something new, no matter how experienced you are. This book defines that belief. This is not only informative, but is the best reference guide i've ever had for HTML/XHTML, CSS and other basic web design needs. This includes hex codes for a ton of web-safe colors, codes for special symbols and links to the author's online site that doubles and triples what is offered in the book. If you've been struggling to find a great, informative book, this is the one. Leave the rest at the store.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    Excellent Resource!

    I'm currently using this book for my HTML class and although I'm already familiar with HTML, this book was really helpful in completing my assignments! I definitely recommend this book to anyone beginning in HTML or any intermediate user looking for a good reference book. I especially liked how Castro included numerous tips throughout the book on how to work your way around the bugs in previous browser versions. It's also nice to have a book that includes pictures so you know what you're getting yourself into when you start typing out tags and stuff. I'm definitely keeping this one in my reference library. I suggest flipping through this book at the bookstore. It could be what you're looking for in a beginning/intermediate HTML guide. If you like what you see, buy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    Good web page coding doesn't get any easier than this!

    Elizabeth Castro's books on the subject are well-known and well-deserving of their excellent reputation. She covers the good, the bad, and the ugly with wit and wisdom rarely seen. Her specialty, it appears, is making it seem so easy that anyone can do it. Hey, wait! They can with this book!! And frankly, there was more useful CSS / XHMTL info in here than in the last three Microsoft Press reference books I spent 3X more on!! Looking forward to the 6th edition.

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