After firing up a browser, you type in a favorite web address (URL), and in seconds you get a web page that you are familiar with. Many other people are doing this every day without caring or knowing how to construct a web page. It’s perfectly fine to be care less about the process of creating a web page as everyday users do not need to know how to create for them to use. However, if you are one of those curious minds, you probably have wondered how those web pages got created, and how hard it is for you to take on the process of creating web pages. It’s not that hard, but rather confusing if you’re not careful.
Creating a web page you only need a text editor of your choice. What’s text editor? Every computer that is having Windows Operating System is carrying notepad (text editor). With notepad you can create a web page, but many web designers prefer their favorite text editors that specializes in web designing. Those special text editors highlight HTML/XHTML codes with colors so your codes are easier to be read, and some text editors even auto-fill the close HTML/XHTML tags when you type in the open HTML/XHTML tags. Those specialize text editors that web designers use come with huge amount of features to help you create web pages easier. You can Google to search for your favorite text editors.
Before you create a web page or a template, you must use a markup language. HTML vs XHTML is what people are quarreled about. These two types of markup languages are creating confusions among the web developers since both of them are very much alike, but underneath the hoods they are very different. Most web browsers still cannot support XHTML, but all types of web browsers are supporting HTML. Still, there are some web designers out there prefer XHTML 1.0+ over HTML, because these people think that XHTML is the future of web designing. Also XHTML is an application of XML (Extensible Markup Language). XML has features that HTML does not have, and so some people think it’s better to use XHTML over HTML for this very reason. Unfortunately, most browsers of now are not parsing XHTML well enough, and so making a true XHTML will break your web pages when view with some browsers. Web browsers identify a content type such as HTML or XHTML so the web pages can be displayed correctly, and to create a true XHTML web page you must enter “application/xhtml+xml” between the head tags (<head> </head>). IE7 and below won’t be able to recognize “application/xhtml+xml” content type, and so your web page will not be shown correctly or if at all.
HTML is not outdated as the people who are responsible for making the web standardization and the people who are creating popular browsers like Firefox and Safari are pushing for a newer version of HTML known as HTML 5. HTML 5 will be backward compatible with HTML 4.01, and so it’s a good thing for you to create your web pages now in HTML 4.01. XHTML 2 is the next version of XHTML 1 that is still in the work, but I heard that XHTML 2 is not backward compatible with XHTML 1, and so if you create your web pages now using XHTML 1, you may have to rewrite your web pages from scratch to support XHTML 2 — that’s if you want your web pages to be on the cutting edge. Big website/portal as Yahoo is still using HTML 4.01, and you can check to affirm this by viewing the HTML source codes of Yahoo’s web pages.
Most web designers create web pages now a day are using the web templates that they had created. It’s easier to copy and paste the web templates’ source codes to a new web page than remember the source code and rewrite them. There are CMS (Content Management System) and web page creators such as Microsoft Expression and Dreamweaver that you can use to quickly create web pages based on web templates that you had designed.
What’s web template? Web template is a complete web page that was designed by you or other web designers and could be used as model for your upcoming web pages. Don’t feel like create a web template yourself? You could buy one online easily. Though the whole point of creating a web template and web pages yourself so you don’t have to buy it from someone else.
HTML and XHTML are nice for structuring web contents, but using these markup languages to beautify web pages can only create ugly/repetitive codes that make it harder to maintain. Instead of using HTML’s deprecated attributes to give your paragraph colors and fonts — so on…, you should use CSS to do that. Like anything new, it’s going to take time before you get good at doing it, and so writing CSS will take a lot of practice. Though CSS is not rocket science stuffs, and so with a good CSS tutorial you will be writing CSS in no time.
Why CSS? CSS is just a text file that is ending with .css, and in this file you can add elements that make your web pages look gorgeous. All of your web pages can use this single .css text file to be beautiful, and so you only have to create one css text file one time that has all the rules for unlimited number of web pages that you are going to create. This is a lot better than adding a bunch of attributes to each web page over and over again. In order for CSS to beautify your web pages, each web page needs to refer to the css file that you created. For example, you need to add something like <link href=”yourcsstextfile.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” /> between each web page’s (<head></head>) tags.
Creating a simple web page is easy, but to make your web page compatible with all browsers will be a hard task. IE browser may not show your web page correctly even though Firefox will, and so make sure you fire up all browsers to test your web page out. You can also use HTML/XHTML validator from validator.w3.org to test to see if your web page is complying to the standard. Complying to the standard when creating a web page assures you that your web page may show up correctly on all browsers. I use the word may, because some web browsers’ parsers may not follow the standard, and even though you are following the standard, your web page may show up incorrectly on those browsers.