The South is where I talk about HTML and the Web, because it was the cardinal point that was left over. I think I did pretty well on the rest of them, so I hope you'll forgive a little lack of poetry here. Read about my HTML philosphy below, and check out a few tips I've accumulated.
I enjoy goofing around with HTML. One of the nice things about
it is that if you see something on a web page that you like, you
can view the document source, and incorporate that into your page.
Of course, if you don't learn HTML, but rather you rely on some
kind of HTML editor, you are limited to what that program can
offer you! Don't be afraid to learn HTML! It can be as easy or
as complicated as you want it to be. Also, don't rush out and buy
a book. You can get started just by using resources out on the
When I started out, the most valuable link in my bookmarks was to the NCSA Beginner's Guide to HTML. Since NCSA designed one of the first web browsers (Mosaic), it's not surprising that their underlying philosophy is "Trust your browser." They emphasize using logical tags, which denote the meaning of the text, rather than physical tags, which specify exactly how you think the text should look. This makes a certain amount of sense, because every browser will interpret your web page differently. You can use a lot of physical tags to make your text sizes and styles look just perfect on your browser at home. However, someone else's browser, because of the way it deals with fonts, vertical and horizontal spaces, and things, might completely goof up your aesthetics. If you stick to logical tags and use, for example, <h1> and <h2> to designate your headings instead of specifying a bold font of different sizes, then presumably all browsers have been designed so that "header 1" and "header 2" look good together and convey the sense that "header 2" is subordinate to "header 1" in a pleasing way. Trusting your browser (and everybody else's, for that matter) is a good policy when you're first learning about HTML.
Not everyone agrees with this philosophy, of course. For example, at Web Wonk you'll read that web browsers were originally created by programmer-type people, rather than typographers and folks who actually know a thing or two about how readers assimilate visual information, and a lot of bad design features have been built into most browsers, and HTML in general. I recommend that advanced HTML users look through this site for tips on how to make their web pages more readable.
A quick browse through my web sites will show you that I try to take a middle road between complete browser-trust and complete web page control-freakness. The other guiding principle in my web page design is accessibility for all browsers. Many web designers write their pages specifically for one browser, using tags and color combos that might not be available to all browsers, and urging anyone who doesn't use their browser dash off and download it. That doesn't strike me as very democratic. I design using Netscape, so that's probably the browser that best reflects my artistic vision (such as it is). But while my pages might not look as good in other browsers, I still want everyone to be able to read and enjoy my site, even the people who, for whatever reason, use text-only browsers. (shiver) For tips on how to make your pages readable by many different browsers, check out the Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW. You also might be interested in making your sites accessible to browsers designed for people with disabilities. You can check your pages for any accessibility errors using Bobby. (Bobby is also good at finding HTML errors and incompatibilities with normal browsers.)
this link: <A href=".index.html">Back to Origin </A>creates "this link: Back to Origin ," with an unsightly extra space underlined at the end!
this link <A href=".index.html">Back to Origin </A>creates "this link: Back to Origin ." The linebreak was treated as an extra space.
You can also end up with an extra underlined space attatched to images which are used as links, like this:
Here's a fun site: <a href="http://www.yahoo.com"><img src="yahoo.gif" alt="Yahoo.com" width=91 height=23> </a>creates "Here's a fun site: " That little extra line is a small detail, but it's distracting.
You are now at the South
Where will you go from here?