John Gallagher & John McCann
Last update: July10, 1996

This is a group of support materials and related WWW sites to help you with the use of the HTML language to construct WWW documents. If you have comments or suggestions, please send email to

Getting your own copy of HTML Assistant

You will be using software called HTML Assistant to compose WWW documents. This software is provided for your use in the Fuqua computer labs. However, you will want to acquire a copy of the software for use at home. The link below is to a Web site maintained by the author of HTML Assistant Pro (the commercial version) and HTML Assistant Pro - Freeware Edition. When you click on this link, you will be sent to a server that you can use to purchase the commercial version or download the freeware version. The site provides you with either a self-extracting .EXE file or a PKZIP compressed copy, along with instructions about installing the software on your computer. Either click on the "as a self-installing archive" phrase or the "" phrase. A dialogue box will appear that asks you where to put the file. I usually use my C:\TEMP directory, and I delete the files in that directory after the software has been installed. I used the following procedure to install the software on my computer:

Click here to go to the HTMLASST Site and download the software.

HTML Assistant is only one of several HTML editors that are available. Some are free and others require payment. Yahoo provides a list of HTML editors. Hotdog Pro is a fairly good editor. You can download a copy of Hotdog Standard from Sausage Software and use it for 30 days. You will need to register it and pay a fee to extend your usage.

Primers on the HTML Language

There are several tutorials and primers available that guide you through the development of a WWW page and/or provide detailed information about the various HTML commands.

Netscape's Extensions to HTML

  • Extensions to HTML

    The HTML language is a standard. As is the case with all standards, users find shortcomings. This results in new standards being proposed. This is the case with HTML. A new standard, extending the capabilities of the old one is under review. In the meantime, vendors sometimes "extend" the standard on their own. Mosaic Communications, Inc., the creator of Netscape, has done this. If you are using Netscape as your browser, the HTML documents you read can have "tags" that are not contained in the strict HTML standard, and Netscape will interpret them properly. For example, Netscape supports the centering of text with the <center> and </center> tags.

    Of course, these extensions are specific to Netscape and are not covered in your text material. Mosaic Communications has documented their extensions to the HTML language. This link below takes you to the document from Mosaic Communications.

    Style Guides for the WWW

    These are some general guides for the design of individual pages and entire web sites. Each of these is a link that connects you to another site where this material is maintained.

    Resources for Clickable Maps

    Resources for Clickable Maps connects you with information about clickable maps, or imagemaps. This includes examples of applications of the clickable map technique, a tutorial on creating clickable maps, and some special notes on creating clickable maps for use with Duke's WWW Server and your acpub account.

    Resources for Forms in HTML

    Because of the nature of forms themselves, you will not be able to create "working" forms for this class on the Duke WWW Server. Forms must "kick off" a program to process the information returned by the form. Creating and interacting with programs of this type are beyond the scope of this course.

    However, you can prototype, or mock up sample forms to illustrate your ideas about how to interact with your users. To do this, you can create HTML documents with the appropriate tags to create and display the forms in Netscape. You will not be able to actually process the data from the form, but you can display it in Netscape once you learn the proper HTML tags and all their variations.

    There is a brief section in your text, pages 768-772, that provides a very brief overview of forms. However, there are several very nice tutorials and references for forms on the Web. Below I have listed three in what I feel is the order of usefullness to you. Most anything you need to know about the syntax of the various forms tags in HTML can be found here. The first entry, a tutorial, is especially nice.

    You can also view the sample html form file that was demonstrated in class. Once you are viewing this file, you can save it on your disk. That way, you can modify it and try different options and formats for building forms without having to create the whole file from scratch. Just click on the link below to display this demonstration file and follow the instructions at the top of the page.

    Upcoming HTML Authoring Tools

    HTML Assistant is a short-term solution to the need for HTML authoring tools. It is a bare-bones tool for marking up a text document with HTML tags. Clearly, if electronic publishing on the Web is going to become a commonplace activity, new products, and/or extensions of established products will have to be developed. These products will, at a minimum, provide "what you see is what you get" document creation. Further out on the continuum of features and functions, we will see tools that help visualize and manage hypertext links among documents, provide "style sheets" and templates for documents, and provide "drag and drop" linking and image embedding.

    Not surprisingly, many existing word processing and desktop publishing providers are adding these and other features to their existing products. Below are some links to some tool developers. You can browse these and gather some insights into what is coming around the corner very soon.

    Learning to Use Frames in HTML Pages

    Netscape has added the frame tags to its version of HTML, and a good source of information is Netscape's frames page, where you will find links to 1) pages that apply the frame concept, 2) tutorials, and 3) companies using frames.

    The following is a list of tutorials and other resources about frames.

    Announcing Your Web Page to the Internet Community

    Once you have developed a Web page, you may want to tell the world that it exists. One common method is to visit the various search engines and use their facilities to inform them of your page's URL. For instance, the Alta Vista site has an "Add URL" button that leads you to a form that you can use to submit your URL. Since there are many search engines, this can be a time consuming process.

    Another approach is to use one of the Annoncement Services, which are Web sites that "announce" your URL to the various search engines. Yahoo maintains a list of Announcement Services that you might find helpful.

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