Frequently Asked Reference Questions

How to Get a Web Page

Example Questions that can be answered by this FAQ:

  • How do I get/make a web page?
  • How can I learn HTML, the language that web pages are written in?

Many of our patrons want to know how they can get their own web page. The answer to that question comes in two parts, and we can only about one and a half of them. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or your webmaster if you get your Internet access through work or school) will have to provide the rest of the answers. If you don’t have an ISP, you may want to see Yahoo’s list of Website Hosting and Free Hosting. You may also want to look at the Google Web Directory category for Web Hosting.

Part I: Making a Web Page | Part II: Put it Online

Part I: Making a Web page

A Web page is created by letting a Web browser (Netscape, Mosaic, Opera, Internet Explorer, etc) read a text file (written in a text editor or a word processor). The text file contains all of the words appearing on the web page, plus some codes to tell the browser how to interpret the words for layout. (For the moment, I am going to ignore pictures, because they make everything more complicated). The "codes" are written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML)–this is not a programming language, just a set of markers to tell the browser how to read your text. By placing text "tags" in a document, you tell the browser what to do. For example:

<STRONG>some text</STRONG>

will print some text, and the <STRONG> ...</STRONG> tags tell the browser to make the text heavier. A lot of tags come in pairs like that. They are always in "angle brackets", < and >, and when they are in pairs, the closing tag has a forward slash / in front of the text.

Learning HTML can be a never-ending process, but the basics are easy to pick up. There are lots of web pages out there that teach HTML, but one of the easiest to learn from is HTML Made Really Easy. It gives a good explanation of how HTML works, and tells about the most important tags.

There are lots of HTML tutorials listed in the Yahoo! category: Beginner’s HTML . Some are better than others. W3Schools, HTML Goodies, and HTML Code Tutorial are some good places to start.

Our own IPL Youth Division has also created a tutorial called Learning HTML.

There are also software packages available to help you write web page documents without having to know HTML. They work like Windows or Macintosh word processing programs, with some special features for doing things that regular word processing programs don’t do (like create links).

Some such programs are Adobe PageMill and FrontPage Editor. There are hundreds of them available, many of them that you can download for free from the Web. Lots of them are listed in Yahoo’s HTML Editors category. You may also wish to check out HTML Editors – Help, Info & Reviews from the About.com Guide to Web Design/HTML.

Part II. Getting your page on the Web:

With the help of the tutorials mentioned above, you’ll be able to write the text file that will make a basic web page. If you are using a word processor, you’ll want to save it as "text only", and give it a file name ending in ".htm" or ".html". Once you have that file saved, you will be able to view it in your web browser (in Netscape or Internet Explorer, go to "File" in the menu bar, and pull down to >> "Open file in browser", or something similar). Only you will be able to see it though, since it’s just on a disk or on your computer, not on the internet.

That’s where your Internet Service Provider comes in. They will be able to tell you where you need to save your file, and how, for it to be available on the Web. It may be more complicated than just saving a file normally is, but they should be able to tell you everything you need to know.

If you can find a friend who knows HTML, it’ll be easier to learn. If not, perhaps you’ll be the knowledgeable friend in a few weeks or months when someone else is learning.

Good luck making your web page.