Roll your own Web pages
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1995. First
published in Our Computer Player, May 1995
The HTML Sourcebook
by Ian S. Graham
John Wiley & Sons, Publishers
Just a few years ago, the Internet was an obscure
collection of university,
government, and research lab computers, catering to a small group of
and scientists. And within the Internet, the World Wide Web was an even
more obscure corner, developed by Swiss physicists interested in
information with their peers.
Who would have imagined then that the WWW would be the
and explosion of interest in the Internet-- making this an example of
poised that would seem poised to invade almost every corner of our
Take a random issue of the Vancouver Sun newspaper,
for example... on
Saturday, April 1st, I found four mentions of the Internet-- none from
traditional academic or scientific contexts. There was a real estate
proudly announcing their listings-- on the Internet. An article about a
central address for Canadian business resources. An Internet site for
and demos of a soon-to-implimented fantasy world developed jointly by
and CompuServe. And a star of TV's X-Files, faced with a female
who discuss every bit of trivia of his life, on the Net.
Three of the four included World Wide Web pages.
It seems like every business, every school, every
store, every art gallery,
magazine, and record company, and a growing number of individuals
already has a World Wide Web home page, or is feverishly planning one.
What? You haven't posted your holiday photos and
videos on the Web so
the relatives can view them?
Ian Graham's THE HTML SOURCEBOOK is an approachable
resource for anyone
contemplating creating their own Web page.
HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language, is text,
coded with formatting
hints and links to graphics, sounds, videos, and other Web pages. Add a
pointer to a Web page on another computer a continent away, and a
viewing your page with a Web browser like Netscape or Mosaic is just a
mouse click away from a near-instant jump to another country... HTML,
with URLs (Universal Resource Locators, the Web's standard addressing
is the glue that makes the Web's magic possible.
From the book's title, you'd think you're getting a
dry primer on the
grammar of the language needed to create that. Instead, Graham does a
job of putting HTML into a context-- what makes a good Web page, for
a combination of good page design, and taking into account the needs of
your readers-- the differences between various Web browsers and
He does look at the grammar of the language, and at a
wide range of
helper applications-- programs developed to make it easier for users to
create their own HTML documents.
He also looks at browsers for PCs and Macs, but also
for Unix and NeXt,
and yes, even for Amiga. Even the current generation, OS/2's Web
Netscape, and SlipKnot get a brief mention.
The book continues with issues about servers-- the
machines that will
eventually house your proud creation, and concludes with an analysis of
several well-designed pages.
Inevitably, with something as fast-moving as the
Internet and especially
the Web, the long lead-time needed to produce a book means that by the
time it's published, it starts to get out of date.
The latest news in Web-page creation, the addition of
macros to both
Microsoft Word and Word Perfect, allowing users of these word
to create HTML-ready documents right from their familiar programs,
Despite this inevitable omission, this book could be
an invaluable primer
for anyone wanting to get onto the Web, not just as a consumer of
but as a provider.