·w3a2z·net·w3a2z·net

function with stylefunction with style

Build Top Quality Web Sites
Quickly, Cheaply and Easily
Build Top Quality Web Sites
Quickly, Cheaply and Easily

Creating web sites is as simple as falling off a log, wearing a blindfold. The only tool required is a plain text editor. To produce the page all you have to do is take the text that you want to publish and apply some straight-forward 'markup', as in HyperText Markup Language (HTML).

Website anatomyWebsite anatomy

A basic web page is contained between a pair of HTML 'tags' as in <html>...</html>. Generally, tags come in pairs containing the page 'element'. Within the HTML page, there are three more mandatory pairs of tags delimiting page elements. The <head> section should contain a <title>, which provides the title that appears at the top of the browser window and which is closed with a closing tag, </title> (note the slash), and the head is closed similarly, </head>.

Fill in the blanksFill in the blanks

The actual, visible content of the web page is contained between opening and closing <body>...body tags...</body>. In order to provide some meaningful structure to the content of a web page, it is usual to identify headings and paragraphs with the use of some special tags. There are six tags for identifying heading levels eg. 'h1....h6' and ordinary text is contained between 'p' tags. There are quite a few other tags that can, for example, create bulleted or numbered lists, tables and, of course, links.

This is a fully formed web page...This is a fully formed web page...

<html>
<head>
<title>My first web page.</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Provide a top level heading</h1>
<h2>Sub headings provide structure to the text</h2>
<p>Place ordinary body text between paragraph tags; "Hello World!"</p>
</body>
</html>

Roll your ownRoll your own

This is the secret of web sites; just plain text and some simple markup that anybody can edit. Just the job, nearly! Click here to see the example. Of course, it doesn't look very pretty! Nevertheless, the example demonstrates a number of important points:-

Makeup with markupMakeup with markup

In the very early days of the web, plain text was all there was. Very quickly, browser makers began to introduce ways of improving the presentation of the pages; for example, by providing ways to specify font styles and to include pictures. The problems were that the proprietory methods were often incompatible across browsers and that 'presentational' markup was mixed up with the page content. This caused web pages to become bloated, very dificult to create, and a nightmare to alter and maintain. The presentational facilities also failed to allow for easy layout of page content and authors had to resort to tables, leading to more bloat and needless complexity.

XHTML and Cascading Style SheetsXHTML and Cascading Style Sheets

Recent years have seen the emergence of much more sensible approaches to page design. EXtensible HTML (XHTML) is a simple protocol for enforcing rigour in page markup, ensuring that pages work reliably across various browsers and 'user agents'. The whole issue of layout and visual design has been separated from the content into Cascading Style Sheets which are either placed in the document head or into a separate file. To a large extent, the mainstream browsers now work to a set of common standards, making page creation a much less fraught activity.

At the same time, CSS provides a very rich set of design tools giving the designer great scope for creating visually effective pages. Another great advantage of the 'standards based' approach, using CSS, is that entire web sites can work from one style sheet ensuring a consistent look right across a site and making site-wide design changes a matter of altering, or even swapping, style sheets. This affords enormous flexibility, allowing site designs to change and develop over time while leaving content production and updating simple. The standards based approach has another great advantage, that the markup is concise and understandable and it is not necessary to be 'held hostage' by one producer.

Careful what you land in!Careful what you land in!

So, there you have it! Top quality web sites can be produced quickly and affordably, and even easily, when you know how! If you want a web site, the important things to think about are, what is it for, what do you want it to do, what do you want it to say about you and your business? Prepare the text content in a programme like Windows Wordpad (not Word) so that heading structure is apparent, markup can be added to this document and then the contents are pasted into a more suitable text editor for page production.

Consider what graphic elements and illustrations you would like to include and give consideration to the use of colours and the basic style of design that you would prefer; designs remain flexible and can be developed incrementally. Graphic elements such as logos can be produced or adapted from existing materials.

Probably the best approach is to find web sites on the web that you like and bookmark the links for later reference. For web enlightenment, you must visit www.csszengarden.com, read what it says and then take a look at the inspiring variety of styles and designs that are applied to a single set of content; web design comes of age!

Concentrate on what's importantConcentrate on what's important

Almost anybody can make web sites but, it takes skill and talent and experience to do the job properly. Produce the content and prepare a simple brief and leave the rest to me!

Ask for a free, assessment of your requirements and an outline specification and I will provide an honest estimate of time and cost, without obligation.

Website hosting should be with an independent specialist hosting company such as www.1and1.co.uk and will only cost you £5.00 per month, including domain name and dedicated email accounts that you control.

Act now and you could have a top quality web site, that you will be showing off to your friends within a week, satisfaction guaranteed.

Contact John McAllister BA hons MSc by email at web@w3a2z.net to arrange your free consultation.

And finally...And finally...

Visit www.panavista.eu to see an example of my work.
Here is a client project... www.bristol-cycle-shack.co.uk
And another... www.autempsperdu.co.uk
Hope to hear from you soon.