Creating A Web Site
This page collects together the information that I found most useful in constructing the web site that you are looking at now.
If you are interested as a small business user, may I also direct you to How to Make a Website: The Beginner's Guide to Get a Small Business Online, a comprehensive and helpful guide to the whole process.
Web pages are text files that follow certain conventions, together with (usually) image files and (sometimes) other media files.
A web site is a collection of related web pages located where people can get at them.
This section is built around a carefully selected set of pointers to some really good stuff. I have, however, added some of my own guidance to the pointers.
The gold cup symbol indicates an outstandingly good site or product.
- Essential information (links fixed May 2018)
- Web editors, web builders
- Web hosting
- Blogging (updated May 2018)
- Transferring files between your PC and a web server using FTP
- Full Web Building Tutorials - All Free
"At W3Schools you will find all the Web-building tutorials you need, from basic HTML and XHTML to advanced XML, SQL, Database, Multimedia and WAP."
- Some of these tutorials (mainly the ones that I used) are summarised below.
- Web Building Tutorial
- A W3Schools tutorial - start here!
- An overview of the whole business. Essential reading.
- HTML Tutorial
- A W3Schools tutorial - learn the basic language of web pages.
- Essential reading.
- XHTML Tutorial
- A W3Schools tutorial - learn the improved, stricter version of HTML, and how to easily upgrade existing web pages.
- The web pages from my site that you are reading now are written (I hope) in XHTML.
- You don't have to learn two languages; start with HTML and then apply the extra rules of XHTML.
- CSS Tutorial
- A W3Schools tutorial - if you have more than one web page and you want them all to have a common look and feel, learn about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
- Cascading Style Sheets deal with how each element (like a header or a hyperlink) on your web page will look, leaving your HTML to specify only the content of your web page.
- External Cascading Style Sheets (.css files) can be shared by any number of web pages (.html files, or equivalent files like .asp files and .php files containing HTML tags).
- HTML files can thus concentrate only on WHAT should be displayed.
- CSS files concentrate on HOW the information should be displayed.
- Cascading, by the way, doesn't mean a pile of sheets slithering off a table.
"A fundamental feature of CSS is that more than one style sheet can influence the presentation of a document. This feature is known as cascading because the different style sheets are thought of as coming in a series.This quote comes from a very useful free document extract, Chapter 2 of the book Cascading Style Sheets, designing for the Web, by Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos (2nd edition, 1999, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-201-59625-3).
"Cascading is a fundamental feature of CSS, because we realized that any single document could very likely end up with style sheets from multiple sources: the browser, the designer, and possibly the user."
- David Raggett's CSS Guide: Adding A Touch of Style
- As it says:
"This is a short guide to styling your Web pages. It will show you how to use W3C's Cascading Style Sheets language (CSS) as well as alternatives using HTML itself. The route will steer you clear of most of the problems caused by differences between different brands and versions of browsers."
- It also contains a very handy section on Browser safe colours (about 2/3 the way down the page).
- HTML Dog - The Best Practice Guide to XHTML and CSS
- An alternative to some of the W3Schools tutorials. Easy to follow and helpful, though not as comprehensive or as definitive as the W3Schools tutorials.
- Floatutorial - Simple Tutorials on CSS Floats
- One aspect of CSS is getting text to flow around images (for example). Using only HTML you used to have to do this kind of thing using tables (which still works).
- This is a nice step-by-step tutorial to doing things the CSS way - which is easier in the end, trust me!
- This is also where I found out how to get the two side panels and the central section that you see on my web pages. I had to study the previous information first, though.
- What I like about this site is that it presents various common jobs that you might want to do, and then explains how to do each one.
Web editors, web builders
- Free HTML Editors / Free Web Editors
- As it says:
- This is part of thefreecountry.com.
- This is the particular (free) web page editor that I use. If you have learnt HTML and CSS, and don't mind working directly with those languages, I can recommend this one. It produces clean, standard syntax, and checks that syntax, among many other features.
- Lots More Web Editors / Builders
- As it says!
- Web Hosting Services Explained - The Beginner's Guide to Small Business Website Hosting
- A very comprehensive tutorial from firstsiteguide.com, starting from the basics - this is all about making your hard work visible to the outside world, by hosting it on a web server.
- How to Start a Blog: a Beginner's Guide to Blogging
- This is a clear and uncluttered introduction to blogging, conveying the “whats, whys and hows” without immersing you in details.
- A recommmended starting place for anyone.
- How To Start A Blog - The Beginner's Guide to Successful Blogging
- This is a well organized and helpful free resource from firstsiteguide.com - certainly worth checking out.
- It comes with Video Tutorials, an eBook and an Audiobook.
- How To Start A Blog - A Step-By-Step Guide
- A comprehensive guide from Gary Dek - it aims you firmly at WordPress, but along the way it provides you with a wealth of information that every new (and even not-so-new) blogger needs to know, whatever blogging platform you use.
- How to Start a WordPress Blog - The Definitive Guide
- ...and yet another free guide, also very useful, this one from Design Bombs, which among other things gives you another choice of hosting platform.
Transferring files between your PC and a web server
Even in the good old days of Windows XP, you didn't need a separate FTP client to do this. You just proceeded as follows:
- Click the Start button, then click My Network Places.
- In the window that pops up, make sure that the Folders option is NOT selected, so that you can see Network Tasks in the left hand pane.
- Click Add a network place from that pane. A wizard will start.
- Assuming that you already have an Internet Service Provider (ISP), keep selecting Next> until you get to a box asking you to type in an Internet or network address.
At this point enter something like:
where you fill in the bits in italics appropriately.
- Then continue with the wizard, and you will have a new icon in My Network Places that you can click to open the folders on your web server.
You can then drag and drop between those folders and your PC's folders in the usual way.
With Windows 7, you run into the problem that My Network Places can't be found. Instead, bring up Computer from the Start Menu, right-click any empty space on the right hand side, and select Add a network connection.