The Web Design Group

Getting Down to Basics

The Production Stage

The Production stage is often the most intimidating stage for prospective Web Authors. Learning a new language such as HTML often frightens people away from experimenting with the World Wide Web. Luckily, there are many tools to facilitate Web Creation work, some of which even require no HTML coding whatsoever. Additionally there are libraries of graphics which can be added to Web pages to prevent authors from having to create their own. (See the Links page.)

Most notably, the easiest tool for Web Page creation (for anyone familiar with a word processor) is Microsoft Word's Internet Assistant add in. After this tool is installed, the author can create their web page in Microsoft Word, the same way they would any other document. Then when it's time to save the page, choose the file format "htm". (There is also an add in available for WordPerfect.)

One thing to keep in mind about HTML document creation using a word processor such as Word is that the final output will not appear exactly as the word processor would have. HTML is a different type of language in that it displays differently on every browser and almost every system. It is important that the author not let this point upset them as it is a design limitation that must be accepted and dealt with.

To see which tools the members of the Web Design Group recommend, check out the WDG Tools page.

One important note on naming conventions for documents is to keep them unique and memorable. The directory structure of the site which was determined in the design phase may need to be modified if there are going to be several HTML documents on a related subject sitting in the root directory. In this case, a new directory can be created with a name that is suitable, and the documents can be organized into it if applicable.

The Home Page of the site should always be named according to what the service provider sets as the default page to search for. "index.html" is often the default name for the document, but sometimes it may be "default.html" or something else. The reason for naming the Home page according to the default name is that the server will search for the default document automatically when it enters a directory. If it doesn't find it, the server will display an index of all available items in that directory.

Naming the Home Page according to the default also allows for easier directions to be given to the site itself. If another name is chosen for the homepage, the address to the site will have to include that name. For example, if this site's "index.html" page were called "index.htm", the address to the Home Page would need to be instead of merely

Some systems which do not support long filenames may have a problem naming the default page with a .html extension. In this case, the document can be saved as "index.htm" and then after it is uploaded to the server it can be renamed with the .html extension.

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