HTML Documents for Technical Papers Published on the WWW and CD-ROM Disks


Introduction

Pages on the World Wide Web (WWW, or the Web) are special document files written in HyperText Markup Language, HTML. HTML documents are ASCII text files, much like program files in programming languages such as FORTRAN, BASIC or C. HTML documents can be composed and edited with tools ranging from ordinary text editors to more complex (and convenient) specialty HTML editors.

If you can stand to wait a while to see what an actual HTML document looks like, you can skip this paragraph by clicking here. If you just can't wait, go to the View menu on your browser and choose the Source item. In the source document, find this sentence and continue reading the Source of this paragraph so that you can observe a few things about HTML documents. Besides the readable text, note that there are several instances of . These special strings of text are called TAGS in HTML jargon and they give information to your browser about how the browser should construct the page that you see on the screen. In that sense, an HTML document and a browser are similar to a program text file and an interpreter or compiler for a language such as BASIC or C, respectively. If you scroll up to the top of the source document, you can see a tag . This tag tells the browser, and whomever else is interested, that this document is an HTML document. If you scroll to the very bottom of the Source Document, you will see a tag , obviously similar to the tag at the top of the page, but with an added /. This tag at the end marks the end of the HTML document. Most HTML tags come in pairs. Note, for example, the tags

and

that mark the beginning and end of this particular paragraph, and all others in the document. Note also the and pair that set off the heading of the document, a place where the browser can find special information that is not displayed as part of the document. For the current document, the browser finds little special information in the heading except the document title, set off by and . Note that the tags and and set off the body of the HTML document, the part of the document that the browser will display. The only tag in this document that does not occur in pairs is the break
, which instructs the browser to start a new line. (The

tag is optional at the end of paragraphs, so sometimes you will see the

tag standing alone at the beginning of paragraphs.) Note that browsers ignore white space and paragraph markers (much as compilers and interpreters of program text files do). Instead, browsers pay attention to

tags. White space and ordinary paragraph markers are used mainly to improve the readability of the HTML document. Browsers are not sensitive to the case in which the tags are written, so

and

have the same effect. The matter of the case in which HTML tags are written is thus largely a matter of style and hence can be the subject of heated debate. The best news about all of this is that with the capability of word processors to save documents in the HTML format and with the availability of powerful HTML editors, you will not need to remember how to insert very many different tags in an HTML document. Much of that work will be done for you. Now please close the Source view and return to the ordinary view of this document in your browser. (Because the preceding paragraphs are meant to be read in the Source view, you may notice that they look a little funny in the regular browser view.)

To make the HTML documents visible on the Web, they must be posted on a WWW server, usually a workstation or desktop computer that runs special WWW software and is connected to the Internet. You can usually count on someone else to post the HTML files on an appropriate WWW server once you have prepared them. Thus, these interactive notes focus on helping you learn how to produce HTML files that present interactive technical documents, including archival journal articles, conference papers and notes written for students.

If you can use a recent version of a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Wordperfect, you can easily learn to prepare interactive HTML technical documents. As the name suggests, a central purpose of HTML documents is to make it easy to include hyperlinks to, for instance, other document files. For example, click on this link to display another simple HTML document. You can easily learn how to display mathematical equations, graphics and utilize image maps and JavaScript, as well as make links to audio and video clips, in HTML documents. Links can also be used to jump between points in the same document. You can even construct a hyperlink that will display the contents of a folder or directory so that a user can open files by clicking on them. If you did not choose to view the HTML source when you began reading this document, for example, you should click here to return to that point in the document.

 

Audio Math Graphics Image Maps JavaScript Video
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