HTML Writing Aids and Tips

To create your HTML files, you can use either of the following methods:

  • Add the HTML code yourself using a text editor.
  • Use an HTML editor like Dreamweaver.

Each of these approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. In this section we'll try to outline them as well as providing pointers to further information and documentation.

Text Editors

HTML documents can be written with any normal editor (like Notepad) or a word processor (like Word) that can produce plain ASCII text.

This approach offers complete control of your HTML. If HTML can do it then you can do it yourself with a plain text editor. It also requires a good knowledge of HTML and more work than some of the other approaches. Be very careful and check your HTML closely as it is very easy to leave out things like quotes in HREFs or ending tags in your HTML.

Special Purpose Editors

Dreamweaver is generally used at Western to create departmental websites.  The templates supplied by Communications & Public Affairs are created in Dreamweaver.  Dreamweaver is offered in the ITS Training Program.

Formatting Tips

  • If possible, try to keep the lines in your HTML source file under 80 characters and neatly organized to make it much easier to read your source files and diagnose errors. Also, most validity checkers list your errors by line number and if your entire 10K page is on exactly 4 very long lines, it doesn't help to isolate the problem very well to know that there is a problem somewhere on line 3!
  • Review your work as you produce it. Periodically load your file into your favourite browser. It is much easier to spot errors as you go along.

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