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How to Build a Basic HTML Page

Having taken a brief look at the options for creating web pages from popular applications (like word processors or graphics programs), let’s turn to the most powerful, flexible, and useful way to build web pages: HTML.

Remember a few “cans” and “cant’s” before you start creating HTML code:

  • You can create HTML in the free text editor that comes with your computer.

  • You should not try to create HTML with a word processor.

  • The best option is to create HTML code either with dedicated code editors, ranging from free ones to professional ones, including Dreamweaver.

    If you generate a new HTML page using menus in Dreamweaver, you’ll create the same basic HTML code you’re about to walk through here.

The four essential elements of an HTML page are

  • A DTD: DTD stands for both Document Type Definition and Document Type Declaration. The “declaration” is the line of code that declares what the document definition is. The distinction is kind of a fine point and not worth losing a lot of sleep over. In either case, the DTD is a line of code that tells a browser, “Hello there, I’m an HTML document.”

  • An HTML element: Everything in an HTML page, outside the doctype declaration, is enclosed in the HTML element.

  • A head element: This is content necessary for the web page, like links to a style sheet or an external script. The basic rule is that anything needed to make a page work but that does not display in the web page itself goes in the head element.

  • A body element: Everything that displays in a web page — text, images, and media — goes in the body element of an HTML page.

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