"Unofficial" Official alt.html FAQ v1.7.5
Welcome to alt.html! Please read the following FAQ before posting to this group.
- What is alt.html?
- What is proper and improper to post in alt.html?
- What should I use to author HTML documents?
- Is there a list of all HTML elements (tags)?
- What is a good HTML to text converter?
- How do I add a subject to my email link?
- How do I send my Forms to an email address?
- How do I change two frames with one link?
- How do I remove the borders and margins from my frames?
- How do I protect my HTML and/or images from being stolen?
- How do I password protect a directory?
- How do I include one file in another?
- Where can I find out what *.shtml, *.shtm, or SSI is?
- How do I display special characters like > < © &?
- How do I make a background sound play on my page?
- How do I automatically redirect my users to a new webpage?
- How do I add a "hit counter" to my page?
- Why doesn't my page show up in browser X?
- What resolution should I author my pages for?
- How do I remove the little blue spec from the bottom right side of my image?
- Where can I find a server to host my website?
- How do I get a visitor's email address?
- Why isn't my web browser working?
- I'm having trouble with HTML in my WebTV signature?
- How do I post HTML email/newsgroup messages?
- How do I offer a downloadable file on my page?
- What is the Websafe pallet and where can I find it?
- When I create webpages, am I "programing with code" or "authoring with markup"?
- How do I remove spacing between a table border and an image?
- I want to start my own Webdesign Firm but have questions about costs, fees, etc.?
- FAQ Answers
This is an unmoderated USENet newsgroup devoted to the discussion of HTML (HyperText Markup Language). HTML is the building block of the world wide web and is currently updated and improved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). All HTML recommendations can be found on the W3C's website.
If you are new to USENet you can find information on using it, how to get questions answered, and proper USENet netiquette on the following pages.
Before you post a question to alt.html make sure to:
- Look for an answer on this FAQ
- Search Deja(News) http://www.deja.com/ for an answer to your question
- Read recent messages posted to the group to see if your question was just answered
- Proceed with posting your question
"This group was neither proposed nor discussed on alt.config. If it had been, the proponent would have first been directed to the alt creation guidelines where he could learn why the name is so poor. Then he would have been directed to the comp.infosystems.www hierarchy, where there are many groups on this topic, including one specifically devoted to writing HTML."
[oh well :-)]
Proper topics include:
- Any question pertaining the the use of HTML
- Discussion of W3C recommendations
- Design issues involved in authoring world wide web documents
- Request for a site critique (see below on how to get your site critiqued)
Things you are likely to get flamed about:
- Advertisement for a "Webdesign" or "HTML Help" site
- Trolls. (i.e. "Microsoft is better then Netscape!", "What resolution does everyone use?")
If you wish for your site to be critiqued there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Don't get angry if people respond negatively about your site! By asking for a critique you are asking for an honest opinion.
- Include the URL to your site! This is the leading mistake people make when requesting a critique; they don't give the site URL.
To make it easy on everyone in the group post your request for a critique in the following format.
Subject line: Critique: Your Site Name Message body: http://www.domain.com/path/to/yoursite.html> Your Site Name firstname.lastname@example.org Comments about your site.
Questions about topics other then HTML Authoring should be taken to the proper news group.
HTML documents are stored in plain text ASCII format and therefore any text editor is an instant HTML editor. Examples of text editors that might already be installed on your computer are:
- Macintosh - simpletext.
- UNIX/Linux - emacs, pico, vi, kwrite (my personal choice).
- Windows - notepad, write, edit.
Programs have been developed especially for authoring HTML documents. The following are two good Windows based ASCII HTML editors.
The W3C's HTML 4.0 recommendation includes a list of all elements.
The best way to convert HTML into plain text is with a web browser. Load the document you wish to convert and either select your entire document and copy it to the clipboard or use the "save-as" feature.
Oh, yet another touch and go question. While people have suggested that [?subject:] will add a subject to your email, it is not a valid email address and will cause the email to disappear without being sent in some email clients.
<a href="mailto:email@example.com?subject:your+subject">email me</a>
As stated in http://www.w3.org/Addressing/rfc1738.txt:
A mailto URL takes the form: mailto:<rfc822-addr-spec> where <rfc822-addr-spec> is (the encoding of an) addr-spec, as specified in RFC 822.
RFC 822 can be found at ftp://www.internic.net/rfc/rfc822.txt, and declares [addr-spec] as [local-part "@" domain]. Nothing more.
Alternatively, the attribute [title=""] is a suggested way to add a subject. It is a valid HTML 4.0 attribute and will not cause the email to disappear in email clients that do not support it.
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" title="your subject">email me</a>
A CGI script is the only reliable way to submit a form to an email address. It has been suggested that mailto: can submit a form, but this doesn't work in a all browsers including popular ones.
Multiple frames can be updated with embedded framesets. Instead of creating all of your framesets within the main frameset document you will create some of them and refer to another document that contains information on the remaining frames.
If you wanted the following layout.
--------------------------------------- | | | | | banner | | | | | n |-------------------------| | a | | | v | | | b | | | a | | | r | | | | main | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ---------------------------------------
You would create one
framesetto start out with.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Frameset//EN"> <html> <head> <title>This Site - Welcome</title> </head> <frameset cols="150, *"> <frame src="navbar.html" name="nav" longdesc="navbarinfo.html"> <frame src="mainarea.html" name="mainarea" longdesc="mainareainfo.html"> <noframes> <body> <p>Content of the noframes version. <ul> <li>Some information <li>More information </ul> </body> </noframes> </frameset> </html>
Then in the file
mainarea.htmlyou will have another
framesetthat defines 'banner' and 'main'.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Frameset//EN"> <html> <head> <title>mainarea</title> </head> <frameset rows="200, *"> <frame src="banner.html" name="banner" longdesc="bannerinfo.html"> <frame src="main.html" name="main" longdesc="maininfo.html"> <noframes> <body> <p>Content of the noframes version. <ul> <li>Some information <li>More information </ul> </body> </noframes> </frameset> </html>
When you want to update both frames at the same time you will target
mainareaand load another frameset identical to the one in
mainarea.htmlbut that contains information on the new desired frames.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Frameset//EN"> <html> <head> <title>anotherarea</title> </head> <frameset rows="200, *"> <frame src="banner2.html" name="banner2" longdesc="banner2info.html"> <frame src="credits.html" name="credits" longdesc="creditsinfo.html"> <noframes> <body> <p>Content of the noframes version. <ul> <li>Some information <li>More information </ul> </body> </noframes> </frameset> </html>
You've created your frame markup, you've created all your files, but there's those annoying borders and margins around your frames! Take a deep breath and use the following attributes in exactly the same format to get rid of 'em.
<frameset cols="100,*" border=0 spacing=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0>
<frame src="top.html" name=top border=0 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 spacing=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0>
<frame src="main.html" name=main border=0 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 spacing=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0>
Or, the completly valid way.
<frame src="top.html" name=top marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0>
<frame src="main.html" name=main marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0>
Protecting your html or images from being 'stolen' from your webpage is not possible. It is a total myth. When a user accesses your webpage all your images and your entire html document is downloaded into the person's cache (a folder that stores webpages and images). Since it is already on their computer's hard drive there is no way to prevent them from 'stealing' it. Your only recourse is to copyright your html or image and if someone uses your property without permission you can take legal action against them.
If you have an Apache or Netscape Enterprise Server you can use Basic Authentication to password protect a directory. Basic Authentication does offer a certain level of security but it does not offer strong security.
See Next FAQ.
Server Side Includes let you take multiple files and combine them into one working file before the document is sent to the user. SSI makes it easier to maintain large sites by allowing you to change only one file instead of the entire site. SSI also has other applications such as including the current date, the last time the document was updated, the URL of the current page, and more. Files that are parsed by the server sometimes have the extension *.shtml or *.shtm.
You should note, however, that SSI is an inefficient solution to the problem of inserting one set of information into many files. SSI relies on the server to parse (assemble) the document every time it is accessed. The preferred method would be to use site-management software (a simple Perl or PHP script would suffice) that could be run once to sort through all of your static HTML files and replace the old markup with information from a freshly updated "source" file. Comments (<!-- header -->) would most likely be used to "mark off" the markup areas (i.e. header, footer, etc.).
ISO-Latin-1 (also called ISO8859-1) Character Codes are used to display 'special' characters. Failure to use these codes could result in mis rendered documents. You can find Character Entities and Numeric Entities at the following pages.
Many people find background sounds annoying. The time required to load most audio files is less then satisfactory and the quality of the file leaves even more to be desired. Your best bet is to link to the audio file and let the user decide if they want to listen.
<a href="dog.wav">Dog - "Woof Woof"</a>
There is no 'standard' way supported fully by browsers to make sound play in the background of a webpage. However, you can use proprietary tags from Navigator and Explorer.
<embed src="bgsound.wav" autostart="TRUE" hidden="TRUE" loop="TRUE">
<bgsound src="bgsound.wav" loop="-1">
Contrary to popular belief, redirection is a function of the server, not an HTML tag. If you are interested in *refeshing* a document see below, other wise, read on. If you have a NCSA or Apache server you can redirect from one URL to another by creating a file called .htaccess. In that file place the following:
Redirect oldvirtualURL newURL
Change oldvirtualURL to the path of the old URL and newURL to the path of the new url. An example of a redirection would be:
Redirect /path/to/file.html http://www.domain.com/newpath/to/file.html
The "meta refresh" tag is a Netscape incarnate and doesn't work in all browsers. If you use this solution you should always include a link within the document to the new page. Meta tags are placed within the
<head>tags and after the the
<title>tag. Replace [S] with the number of seconds to wait before refreshing, and
[http://www.domain.com/page.html]with the URL of the page you wish to "refresh" to.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="S; URL=http://www.domain.com/page.html">
You have the option of using a CGI script on your server or a free counter service. In either case not all of your visitors will be counted. If the script is not executed because the user has stopped the page from completely loading that 'hit' will not be counted. In the case of a graphical counter, anyone who visits your page with a non image enabled browser will not be counted.
Some browsers use 'error correction', this means if it encounters invalid HTML the browser 'guesses' what should really be there. No two browsers 'guess' the same and in the end your page might not load in one browser while it looks fine in others. By validating your markup you will be able to spot problems in your markup and fix them.
You shouldn't author your pages for one specific resolution. Textual and other data will wrap to fit within the size of the viewable area. The only time you would run into trouble is if you were doing something like using tables to layout your pages (which is *not* what they were intended for).
This happens when you make an image a link and there is a space between the end of the image tag and the ending [</a>] tag. Nothing has physically happening to the image; what is really happening is the extra space is being turned into a link and is therefor underlined.
Example of problem markup:
<a href="path/to/file.html"><img src="image.gif" alt="example">
<a href="path/to/file.html"><img src="image.gif" alt="example"></a>
You have the option of using a pay provider or a free provider. When picking a host you have to look at the cost per month to you, what comes with the hosting (e.g. SSI, CGI, real audio etc.), do they limit the number of kilobytes you can transfer a month, and anything else you find important.
There is no way to "grab" a user's email address without them knowing. If you want their address ask them to email you (but don't expect them to be too happy if you end up SPAMing them).
If you are having difficulties with your web browser try the following groups.
It is not proper netiquette to post HTML on USENet. If you have questions concerning WebTV try the following group.
Not everyone has news or email readers capable of rendering HTML. HTML messages not only look terrible in non HTML readers but it also makes the post larger and therefor it takes longer for it to download. HTML was developed for use on the world wide web and that's where it should stay.
So long as your server is configured properly, all you must do to offer a file for download on your webpage is: a) upload the file b) create a link to that file with the
<a href="path/to/file.ext">Download my File</a>
If, when you use the above method to invoke a download, strange characters start appearing, your server is not configured properly. Contact the server administrator and ask him or her to configure the proper content type.
The Websafe Pallet consists of 216 colors that can be displayed correctly, without dithering (bleeding), on cross-platform, cross-browser, 256 color systems. Websafe Colors consist of the following doubles: 00, 33, 66, 99, CC, and FF. The following page has a complete listing of the Websafe Pallet
You are authoring with markup; here's why:
An HTML file itself is not a program; it can be more accurately described as a "datafile". But, what we use to render that datafile is a program. We commonly refer to those programs as "browsers" or "user agents".
Programs, as defined by any knowledgeable person of computer science, revolve around iterations and conditional executions. Certain instructions are carried out based on variables and equations. A program has the potential to branch out into different actions.
HTML datafiles to not have that potential or "ability".
By determining that HTML datafiles are not programs, you can then make the statement that when you create an HTML datafile, you are not "programing" it. You are, in fact, authoring it using markup. Hence, HyperText Markup Language; not HyperText Programing Language.
The rendering of the spaces is caused by the "table-data-cell-space-bug." If you wish to have an image "seamlessly" render inside a table there must be no spacing between your table-data-cell markup and image markup.
Example of problem markup:
<table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tr>
<td> <img src="foobar.gif" width=20 height=20 alt="alternate text"> </td>
<table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tr>
<td><img src="foobar.gif" width=20 height=20 alt="alternate text"></td>
With the way today's technology market is booming, many of you are looking for a way to cash in and ride the wave (or perhaps you just enjoy web development). It seems like a week doesn't go by that a ".com" company's IPO doesn't double or triple in the first day of trading. Hold on a second because before you can catch that "killer wave" and ride into early retirement in your Jag there's a few things you need to know.
Skills (Frontpage users need not apply)
Website authoring is a craft that combines as much of art as it does technical know-how. A website with a slick user interface but poorly designed HTML or back-end will impress some while failing in not-so-"ideal" situations (ie. different user agents, heavy load, etc.). On the opposite end of the spectrum, a rock-solid website that brings tears (not of joy) to the eyes of visitors is equally doomed. If you happen to be weak in one area, consider sub-contracting that work out or even bringing onboard a partner(s).
Some specific skills that will be essential (or even required) are: Website Authoring (HTML, CSS, JS), Programming (Perl, PHP, C), Image Editing (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP), Server Maintenance (Unix, Linux), Webserver Software (Apache).
Starting up your own web-related business can be done with a small initial investment. Many people already have computers, internet connections, software, peripherals, among other things needed to run a business. Your own domain name will be essential (no Geocities pages) for any serious business venture and won't run you much money ($35 USD per year plus $360 USD per year for hosting). Even with that in mind, costs can climb steeply depending on how far you want to take your business.
A big question you should ask yourself is whether you want to offer webhosting and other related services to your clients (here is where the cost starts to go up). Fortunately, the many costs involved with webhost (bandwidth, machines, UPS, secure complex) can be averted by providing your hosting through a reseller program. Many ISPs offer reseller programs that can quickly turn a profit. For example, you might buy 1MB of space for $0.50 and resell it for $1.50 when bundled with other services such as email accounts, ftp access, and advanced server-software.
- Register a Domain Name
- Lucrative Reseller Program
What should I charge?
It is against the law in many countries for competing businesses to share pricing information with each other. With that said, please don't ask me or anyone else in this group or any other group what we charge. But take heart, there have been many surveys on billing practices and billing rates.
- FAQ on Price Fixing
- Interactive Salary Guide
- JobStar's Salary Surveys
- NetMarketing Web Price Index
- The Real Rate Survey
- Freelancing in the Web World
- ZDNet SalaryZone
- Choosing a Form of Organization
- The Name Game: Naming Your Business
- Taxes! Tips on Home Office Deductions
- Register a Domain Name
About this FAQ
Copyright (C) 1999 Scott Brady. All rights reserved.
This FAQ is posted twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. It may be found on the world wide web at:
Last update: added FAQ number 31.
The contents of this FAQ are the opinions of Scott Brady and do not necessarily represent the views of the USENet newsgroup alt.html or it's posters or participants.
This document may be freely reproduced electronically free of charge by anyone so long as the document remains intact and unedited and includes these copyright notices and comments.
By reading, using, or following the advice of this FAQ you agree to indemnify Scott Brady from any liability that might arise from it's use. Selling this FAQ without prior written consent is expressly forbidden.
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