Welcome to the HTML 4.0 GUIDE!

Strict Version

October, 2001
(C)opyright 1998-2001, By Geoff Knagge

You are free to copy, mirror or otherwise publish this guide on the condition that you provide credit to me by name, and preferably with a link to, or the address of, this site.
This is intended as a guide only. Although I have worked closely with the specification while I made this guide, it should not be considered as official documentation of the HTML 4.0 specification. I cannot, and do not, guarantee that this guide is free from errors.

What this guide covers

Basically, this guide is written for HTML Version 4.0 and later versions. This is the strict version of HTML 4.0 - The Tags and attributes which have been superceded are not present here, even though they are still legal. Although we are now up to version 5 and higher of both Netscape and IE, some people still use earlier versions because of their computer's limitations or speed reasons. Therefore it is advisable to keep this in mind when writing for HTML 4.0, to ensure most people can view your pages.

The Changes in HTML 4.0 aim to provide more multimedia functions, as well as making provisions for people with disabilities and other language. Make sure you keep this in mind, since it is basically an obligation to ensure that your target audience can view your site.

Other HTML sites

Publishing pages online

To put web pages on the net, first you need an account with someone who will host your site. Often this might by your ISP, or maybe a public free hosting service such as Geocities, Tripod, or any of the many others that are around.

The usual, and fastest, way to publish your pages is to use ftp. You need an FTP program, such as the one that comes with Windows, or the free WS-FTP (see my software section). Usually you will connect to a server with a name of the form with your member name and password, where domainname is replaced by xoom, geocities, tripod, or whatever applies to your case. For more help, see my FTP tutorial

A slower way is to go through the web interfaces that are often provided and use the tools provided to edit, copy, rename, and create files for your site. Some of these even allow you to build sites without writing any HTML!

This guide is intended for those who are ready to move onto writing their own HTML code.

Tips For Beginners

Some beginners might find it easier to use the complete version of HTML and avoid the confusion of style sheets until they properly know what HTML is about - This version of the guide gives you no choice but to use style sheets to alter appearance.
If you're a total beginner to HTML, see the For Beginners... page of this guide. Here's some additional hints...
  • Keep your page designs simple. Cluttering sites up with too many graphics and fancy effects can detract from the overall effect, aswell as dramatically increasing download times, along with the likelyhood of people clicking the stop button in frustration and not looking at your site.
  • Test your pages on more than one, preferably three, different web browsers. While most conform to the HTML standard fairly well, there are some minor deviations, while some features are not supported at all! In addition, different browsers handle coding errors differently.
  • Be sure to consider people using older hardware and software! This includes using the ALT parameter on IMGs, and making use of the NOFRAMES tag with FRAMESETS
  • Many web space providers have CASE SENSITIVE filenames. That means HTML.HTM is not the same as html.htm !! Keep this in mind when coding pages.

Download This Guide

This HTML guide will eventually be available for download in a ZIP file to allow you to access it off-line. This is probably your best option, so you can write your pages off-line while being able to refer to this guide.

(C)opyright, Geoff Knagge.
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