When you clicked your mouse on the previous page, you clicked on the very heart of an HTML document: the hyperlink. The link, as it is commonly called, is the foundation of hypertext, a non-structured multimedia block of text, images, video, and sound which is written and designed for presentation on the World Wide Web. Hypertext is designed around the ability to build in references to related sources of material and information elsewhere on the internet through the highlighted text of links. Any of the words I have made bold in this text could be links to other web sites, other definition pages, or even images, film, or music. Right now, they're just bold. We'll get to the active links later, once you get your footing in HTML.
Hypertext is the key to all the information presented on the World Wide Web, a place defined by Ed Tittel and Steve James, authors of the very handy HTML For Dummies, as a "vast amorphous blob of text, images, audio, and video data strung across networks and computers worldwide." Originally begun as a experimental way for governments, military organizations, and educational institutions to share information and obtain access to public documents and reference materials, the World Wide Web has evolved into the most popular and explosively growing part of the Internet, thanks mostly to the development of graphcial web browsers. Browsers are, in essence, the software packages that allow you to "see" the information contained in a web site--information which is actually nothing more than documents containing encoded text called HTML.
Hyper Text Markup Language is the magic behind the texts and images you see on the World Wide Web. The tags and codes defined by HTML constitute the foundation of the texts, the graphics, and the navigability of the web. It is a formal programming language, but with a little introduction, anyone can be an HTML programmer. HTML has been compared to the early forms of the BASIC programming language, but with the mastery of only a few different HTML commands, you will be able to create a very functional home page. And once you grow more confident in your programming abilities, you can transform your basic page into a World Wide Web showpiece with the help of more advanced techniques--and a little experimentation with graphics software.
Ardent technophobes, take comfort: the number of home pages on the web has grown exponentially since 1992, totalling far more than the predicted 1995 "virtual population" of 5 million. Rest assured that not everyone with a web page has a computer science degree. Once you have worked with some of the tutorials presented here, you'll understand that learning HTML is not as daunting as it might seem.
This tutorial will lead you through each stage in the process of page building, from definitions and commands that create the foundation to the image and design capabilities that provide the pizazz. Wherever possible, we have provided suggestions for incorporating HTML and Web Resources into a classroom curriculum and have provided tips on how to maximize the educational potential on the Web. For those of you who are just trying to establish a home page, you will find plenty of examples and demonstrations of HTML in action to help you through the process.
NOTE: The information in this site is geared toward HTML programming and related applications. The tutorial assumes that anyone using it is proficient in using mouse-based navigating and Macintosh or Windows/PC operating systems. If you are not familiar with the File systems and editing functions of mouse-based environments, you should become familiar with them before using this workshop.
Sponsored by the American Studies Group at UVA ©1996
Maintained by Joshua Johns