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11/04/05 Newbie needs recommendations for Web design

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 2, 2005 8:42 AM PST

The time has come for me to finally create my own Web site. I have Cox cable as my ISP, and they gave me 70MB of Web space. This will be a first-time thing for me, so I was wondering, what is the recommended software for creating Web sites? The tech guy at Cox recommended Microsoft FrontPage, but I prefer not to use Microsoft products if possible. I'm also interested in learning some code, such as HTML. Where can I learn about that? Are there any places where I can go to learn about Web page creation?

Submitted by: Bruce R.


Welcome to the Net, Bruce! I?m glad that you want to start learning how to create your own Web space. Everyone ought to learn in their own way how to create the best Web site they can with little difficulty in doing it. It all depends on how well you can learn in the time that you want to devote to it. Although I?ve learned how to use HTML code at school, it isn?t all that hard to learn, depending on whether you?d rather type in all those codes yourself or have some program do it for you, or even use a Web site that can do it automatically.

Your Cox provider suggested that you use Microsoft?s Front Page because it?s one of Microsoft?s Office 2003 Ed. Package deals (which you seem to have since you mentioned it) and it is an easy program to use for creating web pages. It auto programs the HTML code for you into the web site you want. Personally though, I have used and would rather use an HTML program called ?Text Pad?. Download a trial issue on You?d have to buy this product after the trial period ends, but it is a very useful tool for those who know how to use HTML codes.

For the not-so-knowledgeable user, you can get/copy codes or learn the codes from web sites such as: ( a free HTML Code Tutorial); (a beginner?s tutorial on how to create web sites); (HTML Codes, Tags and tutorial help); and so on by typing in the words ?HTML codes, how to? in the Search window of your browser, take your pick.

The only reason I picked Text Pad as my program for creating a web page is because it has the capability of working on or offline. After creating the 1st few lines of text entries you can click on an icon to view it as web page and see how it turns out before you send it on to a web site. It has all the tools of a regular word processing program (file, edit, search, view, tools, Window, and a help menu) with a little extra tool for Configure and Macros (if you know how to use that tool).

Once you get all the correct HTML codes entered into it, save it to your hard drive or floppy or CD. Then you?ll have to use an Upload program tool to get it to the web site you want. There are some Upload program tools you can either get for free or pay for from the Internet, or use COX?s upload program from their site. Many web sites that offer web spaces (i.e., COX, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) have their own uploading program built right in their web site for users to upload their web pages, so buying an Upload program is wasteful, as far as I?m concerned, since web sites offer their own uploading program. Why not? It?s a freebie!

You might want to try Microsoft?s Front Page, just as a start, and see what it would look like first, since you?re just learning how to make a web page. Learning the HTML code way may take you some time in learning and then having to type in all the codes that go before and after the actual text part may make your fingers tired or your brain because just one tiny flaw in your coding can make your web page a mess. If you forget to ?close? your tags, for example, your code will then be displayed in your text lines because the computer doesn?t know what you mean by ?<p> How to use HTML </p? . The tag here is the left and right arrow keys ?< >? located on your keyboard?s shift key of the comma (,) and period (.) See where I didn?t use the right arrow ?>? after I used the code for closing a paragraph ?</p>? ? If that part gets uploaded to the web site, the </p will display on the web site and look a little odd after my sentence ?How to use HTML?, right? So, every tag ?< >? must be closed off with the left and right arrow keys - < > - or your computer and the upload program won?t know what to do. Remember, ?Garbage in Garbage Out?? We call it GIGO in computer language. In addition, if you put a wrong tag code in a line where you might want your text to show either bigger or bolder is another matter, too, so you?d have to know what those codes are to make your text the way you want it to show on the web site.

There is a book you can buy at a book store - or try your local library - called ?Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 4 in 21 days?[Prof. Reference Ed.] by Laura Lemay and published by Sams. I had to buy it when I went to school for my computer science degree. It?s a rather thick piece of knowledgeable work for someone who wants to learn the HTML code way, and I recommend it for anyone. The pages are simple to read, it?s easy to look up what you want to know, and all the codes are there to view at any time and accessible to you more than searching for them on the Internet.

Have fun??.learn???.know????for the more you know the better you are for yourself.

Take care,

Submitted by: Carlene
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by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 2, 2005 8:42 AM PST

Hi ? first, software for creating web sites. I use HomeSite by Macromedia; it is not overly expensive, is easy to get up and running on if you are a beginner, and it includes powerful features that will help you as you grow in building your web site. It allows you to see your web site as you build it and provides built-in help features as you type. You can download a 30-day free trial of this product from the MacroMedia home page,

Next, where to learn code (HTML). If you are just starting out, I would recommend you do the following: work on learning XHTML as that is the current standard for web design; it is also incorporates good coding practice. To learn XHTML, I have found the following web-sites to be EXTREMELY helpful: ? from there they offer a wide range of tutorials covering HTML, XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (which will come in VERY handy as you learn to work with XHTML), and Javascript.

Also you could check your local community colleges; I wanted to learn how to design and work with web pages, and the class I am taking at our local community college has provided the structure and information I needed to begin to develop and design web pages.

I am a great believer in having reference books available. This is the text book we use in the class I am taking ? HTML for the World Wide Web 5th Edition with XHTML and CSS by Elizabeth Castro. It is clear, has good examples, and introduces you to good practices for page design. The author also has a web site from which you can download example files and images to correspond to the book along with some very useful tools that can be used to help with developing your Web page.

Some background may help. In the beginning (well, sort of) HTML was considered the language of the web. However, the rules governing HTML are not very strict, and this caused problems when a web page was viewed in the different browsers. Designers found that they had to develop a different version of a web page for each browser. In an attempt to bring some standardization and structure to web languages, XHTML was developed. Generally, it sets standards and brings consistent structure to HTML.

Now ? some clarification may be needed. In the evolution of web design, the World Wide Web Consortium (generally referred to as W3C) works toward developing specifications and guidelines designed to develop and set standards for the Web. The goal behind this organization is to keep Web technologies ?open? ? that is, available to all of us (we, the people). The goal is to have each Web-related company agree to these standards, and ultimately to support standards that would allow Web pages to behave the same way across the varied browsers. To find out more about what they do, check out

I think you are better off with an understanding of HTML, XHTML, and Cascading Style Sheets than to use a proprietary software program to build your web site (FrontPage, site-provided software). By learning the language(s) of the Web (XHTML, CSS, JavaScript) you will have the ability to add, change or create what you need without the restrictions of software features.

Submitted by: Linda S. of Henderson, NV



I have been using NetObjects Fusion ( for several years, and they recently announced a new version for ?this fall?. I find it much easier to use than FrontPage, which I also have and sometimes need to use at work. I?m not using the latest version, as the current one is fine for me just now, but I will be looking at the new version ?9? when it appears. NOF has ?styles? to use to get you started that can also be edited if you want to delve into that. It is a little more expensive than FrontPage, but worth it if you are serious. There are other commercial ones like Dreamweaver and Adobe?s GoLive for even more money. All of these may be overkill for a simple home page, but I think NOF is better than FrontPage for the novice.

Another option is NVu (, an open source option that is looking pretty good. AND, it is free. Version 1 is out. I have been using it at home to start some pages that need to be imported into work?s FrontPage.

As for learning HTML, I made my first home page using nothing more than Notepad and some on line HTML reference sites almost 10 years ago. That is an excellent way to learn. Check Google for HTML references. You don?t even need a hosted website, as you can save it to your drive (as .html/.htm) and see how it looks in your browser. There are tons of HTML books available and you can always right-click and ?View Source? in your browser and check out any page you may see. Note that any commercial site will probably have lots of things that you can?t touch yet, like Flash, and they have plenty of experienced talent. Check out some simpler sites, and look at the code, reference it online or in your new book, and try some in Notepad! Start simple, and don?t try to rival CNet on your first try! Wink

If you want to ?publish? to your Cox web space/host, you will need FTP (file transfer protocol) software if it isn?t built into whatever you use to create your pages. NetObjects, FrontPage, NVu, and software like that include the ability to upload it to your web host. You can also get a separate FTP program to do that such as WS-Ftp (which I use) or CuteFTP or others, to upload that Notepad masterpiece! Basically you need host names and log on name/passwords no matter which way you go. Check with Cox for the information you will need.

Hope this helps.

Good luck!

Submitted by: Bob M. of Stoughton, MA



Bruce R, you are not alone. Now is a time when many want to delve into web design for their own personal or business related matters. And there are many options available. First, is to decide how detailed you want to get:

-will it be a personal site for pics and/or blog -a personal site with forums or downloads available -a work site for a small business with information and details -a work site for a small business that requires pretty regular updating -a work site that requires credit card acceptance or other e-commerce needs

The above pretty much are listed in order of complexity or requirements. A good first step is to plan your needs. Will you maybe want another domain name? If you do not have a registered domain and are just planning to use your current ISP (Cox Cable, as you said), that's okay. Domain names are cheap, and great if you can get one that really suits your needs ( Most domain registrations give you lots more webspace and e-mail space, but as a newbie, you probably won't need it just yet, so you can stick with Cox Cable if you like. If you are looking for a domain host (you do get
your own domain registered), I would suggest: They have many different plans on the cheap (starting at $3/month), stable reliable service, and register domains for just about the lowest prices out there! For $10/month I have 10 GB space and includes 3 domain registrations/hostings, can't beat it.

Next, there are plenty of low cost solutions for web design. Most are for novices that want something simple without a lot of thought or work. They will be based on templates that you fill in with your words or images, and are pre-formatted to look a certain way when done. Coming from a design background (personally), I find these a little drab for me; and anyways, part of doing something new for me is 'getting under the hood' and learning how to do it. If you're interested in learning some code, then these template solutions may not be for you.

I'm sure many will chime in with opinions, but most advanced web developers swear by Macromedia's Dreamweaver program. It doesn't (usually) come cheap (read on), but it is one powerful tool for doing anything you want. And with a good tutorial book, you can learn it quickly. I was running Dreamweaver MX on my Mac and bought The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver MX by David McFarland by Pogue Press/O'Reilly (2002). It was perfect for a newbie like me. Read my review here:

Now Macromedia has merged with Adobe, so workflow will continue to improve- when setting up pics (in Photoshop) for websites or designing buttons (in Illustrator) for website navigation for instance. If that's more than you want to tackle, you can stick with templates. Your ISP may even have a page designer (program) like many ISP's offer free of charge. Dreamweaver 8 is the newest release, just out Sept. 2005.

Getting the whole "Macromedia Studio 8" is actually a bargain, it's only a bit more than any one of the 3 major programs it includes. Dreamweaver 8 is page design, Flash Pro 8 is animation, Fireworks 8 optimizes things like settings and image compression for best viewing, FlashPaper 2 converts documents to PDF and Flash compatible files, and Contribute 3 allows others to help manage content (for workgroups mostly). Now, that Studio 8 retails at about $1000 - YIKES, right?

Well, this site sells the software, without the retail box, without manual (these really don't come with "full manuals," just installation instructions really) as what is called OEM (original equipment mfr) software for $249 + $9 shipping: This is a FULL version of Studio 8, with just the cd's for installation. Check their site for the FAQ and info, but it's a great deal and buying a legal copy is the way to go. This makes it affordable (enough) to at least consider Dreamweaver. Aside from cost, the other downside of Studio 8 is it is NEW. I mean, the version should do everything you want, but instructional books are mostly due out end of December 2005.

There are two I plan to look at/buy on my Amazon wish list:

They are Special Edition Using Macromedia Studio 8 by Sean Nicholson and Macromedia Studio 8: Training from the Source by Shaowen Bardzell.

If you have a way to pick up a copy (eBay for instance) of Dreamweaver MX 2004 at a good price, I might suggest this book: Dreamweaver MX 2004: Training from the Source by Kristine Annwn Page. She writes a great book, and each chapter lists goals for what you'll learn and a time estimate ("This lesson should take about an hour to complete.").

Submitted by: David P.



Hello Bruce. If you are looking to get away from Microsoft, there are many alternatives. I would like to point out that you didn't specify if you were willing to buy or try to go as cheap as possible or free, or if you have to pay extra through your ISP for that 70mb space. Some times ISPs will say they give you this space, until you get your monthly bill with an extra charge. You probably already know that but I thought I should mention it anyway.

There are hundreds of routes to take to find the right software for you and I simply cannot name each one or even tell you which one is best. My biggest suggestion to you is, research. Web creation software is a lot like people, every one is different and people have many different opinions on them. Even if I suggest one, it won't mean any one else or yourself would like it. You can create your own web page by simply using a text editor like note pad or other simple text editor if you want to go ahead with a bit of HTML learning. I can suggest a site that teaches you a bit about HTML (hyper text markup language), and how to get started by understanding the basics:

This site will also point the way to software that can test your web site for free, once up and running. One other site that provides excellent HTML learning is:

There are many other websites also but I found these to be very helpful. Be aware that some FREE software may want you to have their ads\pop-ups posted on your site if you use it. Some consider this to be just fine as long as the web page looks good and attracts people, but some may not want this. There are also many freebie extras to put on your site:

Also there are many options here:

You also didn't specify what type of website you chose\choosing to build, this can be a major factor in what you need or don't need. If you buy expensive web creation software for a plain HTML web page, this wouldn't make much sense, so you really need to plan ahead.

The few links I gave here are just scratching the surface, if even that much. Taking your time to read\research as much as possible is the best advice I can give you. I think you'll find it much less confusing after doing so. I hope you find what you are looking for Bruce, good luck.

Submitted by: Paul K.



Its real easy to do fairly simple sites with your own code - see my - you can look at the source code for each page by looking at 'View / Source' on the menu bar in Internet Explorer. is a good place to start. Use .html or .htm as file type but they are NOT interchangeable (ie your file xx.html will not be run by a call to xx.htm) Every site must have a home page called index.html, and every page must have a header and body section. There is a good listing of the HTML code language in the HTML Reference Library, which I got free with a book called Internet Bible by Underdahl and Willet, IDG Books Worldwide, containing lots of good info on website creation.

See for logos, buttons etc. and lots of free clean animated graphics are available in the www. To get more ambitious you will probably need either to use MS Office doc to webpage conversions (which often don't work too well and anyway create massive files), or dedicated site creators like FrontPage or Dreamweaver , but now you are spending real money. MS used to provide FrontPage Express (a cut-down version) which I found useful, but it disappeared after MS upgraded (does this infer improvement?) us to Windows 98 I think.

Having got a web home page designed you have to get it onto the web - yes use the ISP free webspace and their management system to operate it - its the simplest way. Remember however that you can only use their tools if you have gone on line using that ISP (either dial-up or broadband). There are other ways - I use Smartftp ( ) which is free for personal/educational use. The ISP free site gets you a rubbish site name. You get round this by buying a domain name from the likes of 123-reg ( ) a part of the Pippex Group, for less than 3 pounds sterling per year and then link this name to your free site. Otherwise you buy the domain name and use that provider to host your site, but that costs lots more.

I went on a short local college course (6 evenings), but it wasn?t much good! Perhaps one near you might be better!

Finally, and the hardest part, getting the major search engines to 'find' your site. You can be persuaded to pay lots of money by search engine people like Google to get them to 'tell' their computer that your site exists - but without any guarantee that it will listen to them !!!!!!!!! Other companies offer to 'tell 40 major engines' but again with no guarantee that I've seen. Apparently one important trick is to get lots of other sites to insert links to your site and vice versa - easier said than done unless you have lots of powerful friends! It seems that the search engine of your own ISP will pick up your new site quite quickly.

I recommend you start small and build up - you may not need to spend lots - good luck

Submitted by: Andy J.



First - Coding the website -
Their are two ways of designing a website - WYSIWYG ( What You See Is What You Get) and plain coding from blank.

WYSIWYG is the easier way (easier doesn't mean better!!). All you have to do is drag and drop and change text, insert pictures etc. The great thing about this method is that you dont need to worry about the HTML - the software does it all for you!!!. This is why its called WYSIWYG - The page you are looking at is what you will see in the internet browser (not all browsers, by the way). A great free WYSIWYG editor is Nvu- available at

The other and more common method is to code the website from code and all. This method can be done from windows standard Notepad!!!! The hard thing about this is that you well need to know the (x)HTML tags and code. Their is tons of other Notepad style programs all with their pros and cons. A few free, good ones are -

Notetab light


1st Page 2000

Second - Learning the language
About learning (x)HTML - Heres a few sites you may like to check out are listed below, and learn Cascading Style Sheets as they are very important.

HTML and CSS info sites....

HTML Goodies


W3C (A weee bit advanced and totally in a different world)

A great site that contains 100s of useful website design links is

Hope that?s enough info to get you started!!

Submitted by: Will R.



There are many tools available for creating web pages. Many word processors and desktop publishing programs will export pages as HTML. These have the advantage of being WYSIWYG editors which give you a good idea of what the page is going to look like as you create it. However, always check the page in at least one browser before uploading it to your site. You may already have a program which will create web pages. However, there are also dozens of applications dedicated just to web page development. If you search for "web page editors" or "HTML editors" in a search engine or in one of the free/share/software sites, you will find many to choose from.

The simplest tool you can use is Notepad in Windows. This requires a little knowledge of HTML code itself, which was the second part of your question. A search for +HTML +tutorial will turn up many resources for learning HTML, and while not every page will have the answers to all your questions, refining your search should get the answer you need. My choice for HTML editing is Fookes Softwares Notetab. Even the free Light version has the ability to insert HTML tags from a sidebar, and a button on the toolbar which will open your page in Internet Explorer, so you can confirm your page looks the way you want it.

Submitted by: biomedr




Your best bet is to use two products if you want to learn HTML coding. First make a page in MS Frontpage which is an excellent and quick tool for creating pages but not so great at clean HTML code. Then use Homesite ( to open the page you created and examine the code. You can format easier with Homesite and it will allow you to be able to learn to code pages. I have personally used the product since it was freeware by the original developer even before it sold to allaire and the macromedia who now owns the product. It is a great product with many great features built in like style sheet editing with Topstyle and link checking.

If you are looking for a quick and dirty method try going to various web pages right clicking and viewing source. Using this method you can "See" how to create some things in code that you can "See" in action first, on a page you have visited and liked a particular feature.

If you don't want to spend the money on two products I would still go with Frontpage even though you are against it because you can view the HTML code within Frontpage and view the page in "design" mode at the same time, which will enable you to learn at least the basics of HTML coding.

A good place to start is this will cover the basics.
For some in depth tag analysis

I hope this helps to get you started.

Submitted by: WeirDave



Your ISP's hosting service is a great way to get started with websites.
Later on if you find yourself making more and more web pages you may want to move onto another dedicated hosting service rather than your ISP.

FrontPage is an acceptable program to start with, however there are several drawbacks. Most all of the dynamic pages that you would want (counters and such) will all require your hosting company (Cox) to have the "FrontPage Extensions" installed which they usually are not. Another drawback is that the pages made in FrontPage don?t look quite as nice as some of the pages made in other programs.

Macromedia Dreamweaver is one of the best programs for web designers of all experience levels and generally speaking, pages look much nicer than FrontPage. There is only one drawback to this program: its price. The program can be used in three modes which makes designing extraordinarily simple. Split mode is most commonly used and displays the code alongside the preview of the page to give you an overview of what is happening to each aspect of the document both code-wise and display-wise. The two other modes are 'Code' which displays code only and 'Design' which displays only the preview of the page and will most likely be what users will want to start out using.

A great tutorial set for learning html is They provide the most simple, clean, and easy to follow tutorials out there. The great thing about tizag is that they also offer tutorials for dynamic web languages like JavaScript and PHP. These are languages which do not require your host to have "FrontPage Extensions" and can prove to be very powerful. Most casual web designers would not need to learn languages like PHP or JavaScript, but it just depends on how far you decide to take it.

I really hope this information helps you get started with your website,

Submitted by: Dan P.



I have been using MS FrontPage for web design and I absolutely love it but that is probably because I am a huge Microsoft Fan. If you want a good web site design program that is not MS based I would highly recommend Macromedia Dream Weaver. Dream Weaver is about four times the price of what I paid for my FrontPage on I also know a lot of people that I know use Dream Weaver for web design and I have also have had a little experience with Dream Weaver and to me it seems very complicated compared to FrontPage but people say Dream Weaver is a little complicated at first put after you get the hang of it, it is the best web design program you will use. If you want to learn a little about web site creation CNET is having an online class right know through December 2 to learn some more information about web design. To learn about HTML I would get some books about it and try looking up on Google. One tip I have for you is to design a few web pages in the web design program you decide to get then try going to a site called and find some web page effects you like in there (I know you will like lots of them because this is a cool web site with lots of cool scripts and web page effects) then find an effect you would like to start out with then open up the code editing part of your web design program and insert the code were the dynamic drive tells you and it should add the effect to your web page.

I hope this helps,

Submitted by: Daniel B.




If you are really interested in creating your first website, Congratulations on your intent! Few people ever attempt to go there.

You didn't mention what kind of site you wish to create. So depending upon what you have in mind will significantly affect which software you choose. Much special purpose software is available for specific types of sites. BLog sites are real popular right now, and so maybe you want to do that, or perhaps you're ready to post your digital photos online, or maybe you want to sell home made widgets on your own e-commerce website. All of those, and many other websites have specialty software that does most of the work for you. But since you seem to be more interested in learning to make a site rather than getting a site onto the web, I doubt you'll go that way on your first crack.

Front Page is a fair general purpose tool. But to be honest, you could use just about anything to make a website, even notepad. The thing is, every site is simply a collection of pages. Usually those pages are linked together for easy navigation back and forth, but even that is optional. All you really need to call yourself a website is some HTML documents. And HTML can be written by hand, or by software. Do this, go to the top of your web browser and click view>source. What you see is HTML. It's a programming language. It's a filter through which people view your site. Anything can be formatted in HTML, why even Word has an option under 'save as' for HTML.

That's right, you could make your whole site with Word, and 'save as' HTML. Fast and easy if your good with Word. But again you mention an aversion to getting work done with Microsoft products. So what you Should use is.... I cant tell you. Seriously, what is recommended depends upon too many variables for one answer to exist. The key is to find what you're good with, and what's good for you. Do you want to spend lots of money on the top of the line professional product that looks good on your resume? Or do you want something easy and intuitive that's not going to take over your life? Do you prefer Linux, Mac, or PC? Do you work better in a programming environment, or in a graphical environment? Are you right brain or left brain dominant? Are you willing to spend $500 more than once to find the right software? Or do you prefer free software, even if it's more work?

Here, I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but the recommended software usually IS FrontPage. If you don't like FrontPage, it's either because your cheap, or because you work better in a programming environment. Only knowing that you're a beginner, I can guess that you probably don't know which way you work better. And therefore you're afraid to make a big investment in something you might never use. And since that appears to be the case, we can also assume you're not learning a skill to get a job, but rather as a hobby. So you're not willing to invest much effort in learning anything complicated.

What you want is a cheap substitute for FrontPage that's easy to use yet powerful enough to build a whole site. Hell, we all want that. And what software doesn't make those claims? I'll tell you what, offers a product called CuteSiteBuilder. They give you a 30 day free trial, to find out if you like it. If not, no loss to you, but if you do like it, it's only a hundred bucks. That's pretty cheap even if you only build one site. Considering professionals could knock out a small personal website in a day or two, and charge prices starting around a grand for just a couple pages, that's really cheap.

Submitted by: Walt P.




Welcome to the other side of the web! There are many packages that you can use to create webpages. Many are freeware, some are shareware, others are commercial applications. Since HTML is really just text that is interpreted by the browser, you COULD even use Notepad to code, provided you like typing your HTML commands and codes. These HTML Editor packages are really just interfaces to simplify the creation of web pages and to minimize the need for memorization. That's why another name for them is Integrated Development Interface, or I.D.E. for short. A good source for software of this sort is the C-Net Downloads page at Use the navigation pane on the left, or the search function at the top of the page to locate what you are looking for. I recommend this page as it is a comprehensive and reputable source for software, has an excellent rating system, and they take good care to screen all of their files for viruses.

This URL should take you to the HTML Editors section where you will find many tools:

I use an older commercial package for most of my work, unless it requires fancy gizmos and what-nots. Symantec Visual Page 2.0. The reason that I use that particular package is simply because I got it free when I worked for Symantec, and I am used to using it. You will need to download a couple of packages and test drive until you find the one that works best for you.

If you want to learn how to use HTML, the best site that I have found is HTML Goodies at They have tips, tricks and tools for the brand new user through to the professional designer. The interface to the site is simple, and it loads fast. If this page is not to your liking, hit Google's search page at and type "learn HTML" (with the quotes) and you will find literally, thousands of sites to explore.

Good luck with your new hobby!

Submitted by: MadMark




To start off, you need to make sure the space given to you by your ISP is enough. 70MB of space may sound like a lot, but you would be surprised how fast that can be used up by pictures and other forms of media. Also, depending on your needs and wants, Cox may not give you all the tools you need, such as SQL Databases and such. If you are satisfied with Cox as your webhost, then great. If not, I have to recommend They give you 5,000 MB of space, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 phone support (it works! I've called them several times.), and support for SQL Databases, PHP support, a free domain name, and much more, all for only $7.95 a month. I host several websites with them and have never had any trouble with them.

Now, for the software question. Personally, I prefer to use Adobe GoLive to design my sites. It is very user intuitive, and syncs quite well with your site online. It is a very powerful program with many tools. I gained a lot more knowledge about HTML by viewing my sites in the source side whenever I make a change. The only problem is, it's quite pricy, about $400 or so, depending on where you buy it. If you are a student, however, you can get the discount, and buy it for around $80.

For learning HTML, I have to recommend They have an amazing database of how to do many different things in the web design world. HTML, XHTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript, and many other web languages are taught in simple online tutorials on this site. The best thing is- it's free! I have used w3schools so many times when I had a question about something in particular.

Now, If you want to make sure your site is easily accessible and has good design, I would recommend the book "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug (ISBN: 0-7897-2310-7). His funny and to-the-point style will help you understand the many techniques that can make your site a better place to visit.

Well, I hope this helps you on the road to building your first site. Good Luck!

Submitted by: Jeff G.



Macromedia Dreamweaver is the program used by professional web designers. Microsoft Front Page is used by many beginners because it is so easy to use. Yes, you can create your website entirely in HTML. That is the underlying code of the web.

DW and FP are ?wysiwyg? editors in that ?what you see is what you get?, most of the time.
They are both visual programs that let you drag and drop or paste photos into the program.
Dreamweaver is much harder to master than Front Page. Dreamweaver has both a design view and a code view.

There are many books and teaching cd?s on HTML at your favorite bookstores; such as Borders or Barnes and Noble. You can peruse the shelves as you search for a book or books that ?speaks to you?, right where you are now in your own learning curve. Some books have an enclosed cd that includes practice lessons and follow the material in the book. In any case, learning cd?s about HTML can be found in bookstores, computer retail outlets and on the web.

I suggest you create your first site in HTML. That way, you will be learning the ?Hyper Text Markup Language? of the web, which is also the underlying code of both Dreamweaver and Front Page. Later, you can study Dreamweaver. Learning HTML first is the correct way to do it. ?Tweaking your code? in Dreamweaver, will be so much easier for you when you understand the HTML code behind it.

Submitted by: William K.



HTML code is pretty simple. The best way to learn HTML would be to pick up a 'Beginner's Guide' for HTML from a local library. Creating web pages is fun, but they can never look the way professional sites do, if you do not use an application like Microsoft Frontpage, or Macromedia Dreamweaver which are two of the most popular software used to create snazzy websites. Using them is like using a word processor like word, where you simply type and the rest of the job is done by them. The most important part of a webpage are their links..(no matter how good the site looks, it won't gain any attention when the links don't work). It would be good idea to create a basic structure(which means the design and the links to all pages) for your site. Here you can decide the filenames of all your pages and put them as links. Then make 5 different copies of the homepage and rename them with the names you had thought of. This way your whole site is made(except for the data which you can insert easily).

If you did not understand anything above, i strongly recommend the following:
Create a Web Log, commonly known as Blog, using websites like and LiveJournal. After logon you will look at a neat interface, which looks somewhat like your webmail service. With two clicks you could post what is on your mind, and not bother about editing that darn page each time you want to edit something. These services let you post photos too. It displays 5-20 posts, depending on what you select, on the homepage and will automatically archive your previous posts, which anyone can access easily. Thus your website lives happily ever after.

With websites, you will have to get used to FTP transfers which can allow you to upload all your files at one go. If you want to create a blog a good thing to do would be to buy a domain, and redirect it to your blog, which can then be called a regular website.

Submitted by: Abhishek N.




While many people do use FrontPage, if you want ease-of-use, the opportunity to learn HTML and tweak it where desired, and relatively standards-compliant code, I recommend Nvu ( It lets you build your pages in terms of what you want them to look like, creating the HTML in the background. Once you learn how to actually code HTML (and for that I recommend one of the books from the "Sams Teach Yourself" series), you can switch to the HTML view and tweak away. Eventually you might become sufficiently comfortable with coding that you don't need the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) aspect of Nvu. When that happens, I recommend Arachnophilia ( It is an easy-to-use editor. The beauty of both of these - they are free.

To help you understand my point of view: I was a piano tuner for 25 years. In the last 5 years prior to the car wreck that put me out of business, I developed an interest in promoting my business via the Internet. ( Was a little ahead of my time. :-[ ) I built a small web site using Arachnophilia and my Sams reference book (needless to say the book got a lot of use.) After becoming disabled, I started looking for something I could do to supplement my Social Security and to keep my mind from becoming total mush. (I enjoy TV-just not that much!) I had been helping a friend of mine, using a programming tool he had purchased (don't recall the name), to build a site for a ministry group he heads.

We were getting the site up, but I was very displeased with how it was going. I finally pulled out Arachnophilia, found Nvu, and totally rewrote the site. It is now doing quite well. This site is volunteer work, but since then it has led to a paying site and I am currently negotiating for another one, which I believe will be about the limit of what I am physically able to handle. Needless to say, on Social Security I don't have the hundreds of dollars it takes to buy Microsoft products. You may, or may not. But if you look around the Internet you can find many quality tools at little or no cost.

Submitted by: David M.



This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I have been a software developer/IT Consultant for over 11 years and recently opened my own business. One of the services we provide is website design, development, and hosting.

There are many things to consider when building a website. You should find out about the servers that are hosting your website, what type of OS are they running and how secure are they. Also, how secure is the building they are located in. How much disk space do they give you, what type of bandwidth and traffic limitations are they going to impose on your website. How easy is it to change your website and will you have to pay someone to do that. The answers to these questions will vary, but for the most part you want to be sure that your website will be secure from hackers as well as ill-tempered employees.

There are many choices out there when it comes to building and hosting your website. If you are looking to "dabble" a bit and learn how to build a website as well as learning some initial HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, then MS Frontpage and your ISP should work just fine. However, if you have a business and are looking to build a website that will work for your business, please, please, please, get some professional help. Why is it that because of tools like MS Frontpage and Dreamweaver, everyone thinks they can be a web designer? Yes, you should be able to update your site once it is built, but use a professional to build it for you.

It's a crying shame when I visit a company's website only to find out they built it themselves or had a "friend" do it. You can tell right away by the look as well as the inconsistent layout and navigation. Today, people expect businesses to have websites that work. We want to go there, get what we are looking for and move on. We don't want to waste a lot of time and if your site is hard to navigate, you can bet visitors won't return.

I should probably get off my soap box now, but I urge anyone who is looking to build a website to consider some of these things. It's your business afterall. Start taking it seriously.

The days of building sites from scratch are over. Basic HTML is all you should need and I would recommend picking up a book or taking a free online course (sometimes even offered by CNET). You will want to learn some basics like anchor tags and working with tables, rows, and columns. Most hosing companies now provide a website builder. Some are good (, some are not so good. Find one that you can try before having to commit to it.

I have to go now and finish writing my novel and building my accounting system. Afterall, I have MS Word and Excel, what else do I need.

Submitted by: Richard L.



Hello Bruce,

I was wondering the same thing many years ago when my first ISP gave me a whopping 5Mb to create my own website. I tried, as I'm sure you have, the WYSIWYG templates and saw the finished product and said ix nay. A few web searches for HTML coding kept taking me to which is the website for the World Wide Web Consortium or the W3C. They develop technology's and create specifications and recomendations for the world wide web.

On their website they do provide some very good tutorial material but I found it to be extremely "dry". There was one link that they do not provide on their website any longer but the website is still going strong today.That website is
This website was humorously enough written by Prof Joe Burns PhD. who admitted repeatedly that he was learning this stuff as fast as he was asked to teach it and developed the website because he thought that if he could pass on what he learned in a simple and humorous way then why not.

This site covers everything from basic html to dhtml, xml, pearl & cgi, java, asp, and database sql. It also covers graphics and animations and how to create them, placement on the page, and how wrap around them. It provides you with all the needed tags, hex codes, instructions on how the tags work and how to use them, just about everything. And they make it funny but interesting at every level. I still use it as a reference resource when I create a site today.

Depending on what level of skill you possess you may want to start at the primers and move through the site step by step. Nowadays I will use php or Frontpage to create a site but I still edit the code manually to tweak the pages using information from htmlgoodies.
Hope you find this to be as helpful as I have. Good luck with the website!

Submitted by: Al W. of Danielson, CT
Collapse -
Mozilla Composer
by pukstpr12 / November 3, 2005 8:24 PM PST
In reply to: Honorable mentions

I use Mozilla Composer (free) and it works great.

Collapse -
TSW Webcoder
by clmartin22 / November 3, 2005 9:10 PM PST
In reply to: Mozilla Composer

TSW Webcoder is another handy free product. FTP and code from one program, but I have to agree with Carlene you should probably at least try Frontpage to get you started.

Collapse -
A second for Mozilla
by mackinney / November 4, 2005 5:09 AM PST
In reply to: Mozilla Composer

I have been using Mozilla Composer (and its predessor, Netscape Composer) with good success for 3-4 web sites that I have designed and maintain. Since all of my websites are for clubs or non-profit organizations, my budget is $0, and I don't use any purchased software. It is important, however, to know some html since sometimes text editing is the easiest way to set table sizes, etc.

There is also an open source web authoring program with a similar wysiswyg interface. Check


Collapse -
Other advice from our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 2, 2005 8:43 AM PST

Ok, here it is! I personally use Macromedia Dreamweaver so that's were we begin. Macromedia Dreamweaver will allow you to design a website using it's builtin WYSIWYG, ("What you see is what you get") editior and you can also look at the source anytime. If at anytime you are having a problem with programming, (HTML, VB, VBScript....), there a O'Reilly reference books builtin. The drawback is that the software has a hefty price tag, ($399) when you compare it to Microsoft Office Frontpage ($99). There is a "watered" down version of Dreamweaver called Homesite from Macromedia, it costs less but you don't get as much either. Homesite is a very nice WYSIWYG editor if you do not need code references or if your not programming the next Google. If you are looking for the all-in-one design, create, and view you may want to purchase Macromedia Studio 8. Studio 8 includes Flash, Fireworks (image editor), Dreamweaver, Contribute, and more. The extremely high price for Studio 8 may cause sudden loss of consiousness. At $999 this software product will definitely leave a mark in the wallet. This software bundle doesn't take up that much room, 1.4 Gigabytes, but make sure if you choose to download the software, you have a fast broadband connection. Personally, this download took me 20 minutes and I'm at 6 megabits per sec!

Away from Macromedia, Adobe Systems has an all-in-one package called Adobe Creative Suite 2. This will not only allow you to create a website, you can also create vector graphics, and some Flash objects from a name trusted in the Graphics Industry. With more tools, comes more in cost. At $899, it's cheaper than Macromedia Studio 8, but you will still need a small fortune to buy the program. If you do decide to buy the program, make sure you have a big Hard Drive and broadband, this powerful beast takes up the room. The download is 2.2 Gigabytes and fully installed on my machine, it takes up 2.6 Gigabytes of space.

If you are looking to just get a page up and don't plan on doing anything spectacular, well do I have the product for you. Alleycode 2.15 is a great WYSIWYG editor for Windows and best of all it's free. The only problem that I had was it gave me some errors during install and a few errors while running the program on my Windows XP. You can download it right now at

Personally, I would get the opensource first then step up to the plate for the rest, but I am a web programmer, what do I know?

Submitted by: Ryan P. of Green Bay, WI



Frontpage as a Microsoft product can produce a Microsoft look & feel, so many purists and/or snobs do not like it. However, it is probable that your COX website will use "Frontpage Extensions," and probably even has special instructions regarding Frontpage. In my own experience with a Comcast ISP site, Frontpage was easier to use than the built into the site, Web site builder.

That said and given your experience, you might want to use a native to the ISP Web sit builder. Learning HTML is perhaps a pipe dream. A little HTML can go a long way. Actually, I found that I could convert a Frontpage to HTML and then load that into a Web sit builder wizard.

I used to bash Microsoft products, but the top dog is always subject to the harshest criticisms. There is just no escaping that Frontpage is extremely powerful, yet simple to use. Your decision as to which particular product to use might actually boil down to which product is used by your nearest guru or friend.

I use most of the Adobe software, too, and just loading some of that still gives me a chill. Adobe products have a bit of a learning curve. I think they have Klingon programmers.

You might want to buy one of those out of the box and onto the Web software packages for less than $100. Been there, tried that, and it's like playing tennis with a toddler.

You are already comfortable with Microsoft products. Frontpage probably is the best value. Support, templates, and la de dah are plethoric. Microsoft always has a tendancy to see how things go and then come up with a powerful and complete solution that works well with other products. I used to use Microsoft's top of the line Photo program and it was a shell running Adobe Photoshop.

I am just tired of anybody saying what NOT to use. Bill Gates did not become the richest man in the whole galaxy by selling junk. See if your ISP mentions Frontpage and see if they mention anything else!

Submitted by: Thomas D.



Hi Bruce,

Well, there are many other HTML editors that you can use to build your website with. There are lots of freeware products available to use. One of them is 1st Page 2000 , which you can download at . It's a good one and easy to use. It has two modes : Normal and Expert Mode. Normal Mode is for newbies , Expert Mode is more for experienced users. It also has a HTML code database aboard , so if you don't know a code , you just look it up.

Another good site to learn about HTML is , there you can find all you need to know about HTML and other codes you need to build your website with. Otherwise , you can also search the web , there are numberous good websites you can get information about HTML. I hope I helped you further with all this.

Happy Website Building!

Greetings ,

Submitted by: Pcfreakske2000



My first thought was "With all the Free web hosting and built in helpers" why learn all the codes? If this is your first time page, why not try a few of the Free Spots first? I use this and love it. Then if you have MSN Messenger, you can do a "free" Blog. (which is an online journal you share with millions of bloggers all over the world) These sites are set up to let you post photos, graphs, thoughts and have messages left by those who visit it. It is an easy click and follow direction set up with lots of options for background and content.
I guess it is "what do you want to do with your site"? There are lots of books available on Computer language for beginners to advanced user if you still feel you need to have the Language and code skills. And I highly recommend reading one or two just so you don't get caught up in buying a program that you don't really need if you have basic Word already installed on your computer. I just used my "notepad" and put down all my thoughts and what I wanted to do..printed it out and went to the above site...It guided me thru it all and I didn't need to really know any language, but English and how to follow directions.

Submitted by: Judy B. of Central Illinois



I have recently started making websites on my own. There are various programs that you can use to help making your website creation as easy as possible. One word of warning though when you use a program like Microsoft frontpage, Dreamweaver, etc. Those programs are designed to write the HTML code for you, only draw back is that the code they write sometimes leaves some undesireable results. A page may not look right in one browser and may be fine in another browser, or it may not function that way you set it up.

That can be a real nightmare trying to figure out what the program did wrong where. The best advice I have for you is to learn HTML and use notepad(which comes with every Microsoft operating system). That way you know exactly what you coded into the site and how it is supposed to react. And if it dont work or look they you wanted it to, you will be able to find it easier than sifting through code that was written by one of these programs mentioned above. There are some good books out there to help teach you HTML. There's also websites that will give you tutorials right online. One very good website is W3Schools. The address is I have used this website and still do when I get stuck. It has lots of good information and really easy to follow tutorials. One thing to remember is that when you are starting out, take things slow and small bits at a time. Before you know it you will be making websites with ease. Hopefully my advise here has helped. Good luck and happy coding.

Submitted by: Mindslayer92



I recently created a web site using "Mambo". Mambo is an open source solution similar to "Linux" so it is free and it is constantly being improved. There is a community of developers and advocates that are available for support and they will provide answers to questions which invariably come up. There are a number of "free" Mambo web site templates (these can be used immediately after downloading, or they can be customized by you) and there are a number of developers that will sell to you inexpensive custom versions.

You can find out more about Mambo at the following site:

I was very impressed by the breadth of capability (i.e. You can start with a simple static page web site or you can build an interactive web site with Blogs and a storefront). I also liked the "ease of use". You do not need to know HTML, but in the process of tweaking the site, I took the time to learn some of the basics of HTML and CSS (Important to know). Mambo is built with "modules" so you have as simple or as complicated a site as you wish.

Note: Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. all offer canned web site creation packages. I have looked at several of them and they will all do a reasonable job. I picked Mambo after a review of several alternatives.

Web site design and HTML

During this process I found an excellent web site that covers most of the topics of web site creation. The name is "Davesite". I found the site easy to use. I did my learning concurrently with the design of the "" web site for my consulting firm.

The site has some excellent on-line tutorials on HTML, CSS:

1) HTML - Hypertext Markup Language
2) CSS - Cascading Style Sheets
3) JavaScript ?
4) Internet 101 ?

Dave K is very helpful. When I ran into little problems, he was quick to respond to emails.

Good luck on your web site creation.

Submitted by: Bob B.



Hi, I consider myself to be an elite web designer, and I think that I can answer your questions. First of all, Microsoft FrontPage is a very good piece of software with excellent capabilities, but it is more than the average programmer will need. My favorite software is Macromedia Dreamweaver. It gives you awesome features like ColdFusion and CSS programming. However, both Dreamweaver and FrontPage are horribly expensive, so I suggest Mozilla for a first time programmer like you. The Mozilla HTML editor offers advanced support only for HTML, Java, DML, and JavaScript, but you can edit other languages like PHP and CSS in it. As for places where you can learn HTML, W3 Schools is definitely the best website to learn HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS and pretty much anything else. Hope this helped!

Submitted by: Jackson P.



Well Bruce I went thru the same learning curve several years ago and decided to keep things simple and inexpensive. So here is what I did and my suggestion to you.

First obtain a copy of HTML for Dummies at your local library. If you don't have a library that carries it then you might have to purchase a copy online or at a book store. The book does a pretty good job of explaining the basics and you should be able to write some basic HTML code after reading it. There are other good books out there that will help you learn HTML and many of them are available at most libraries.

As for an HTML creation tool, I like and use HTML-Kit. Build 292 is the current version. It is available as freeware at and is very easy to use and very comprehensive in terms of features.

These two items will get you started and after some experience you can move on to other more demanding techniques like php and mySQL.

Good luck and enjoy the fun of creating your own web pages.

Submitted by: Dan R. of Clinton, MD



Hello Bruce R.

My job is a proffesional webdesigner, and web administrator. For my work i don't use a program that makes the website for me, i just learn HTML,(very easy to learn) If you use a programm it is always not the good result you want, always some difference.

There are two types of "website makers programms" One helps you with typing the codes, and one you need to make some objects, and then the programm wriths the codes for you. I always use the first one. It helps you to don't make mistakes. That programm called dreamweaver. ( You can get a trial version of the programm there.

If you use the programm you need(if you wanna or not) to learn HTML. You also got Javascript, CSS, and php to build you're website bigger, with more options, but for a normal website you need only to learn HTML. I learned that language in 2 weeks, when i was 12 years old. SO it's a piece of cake

Submitted by: Thijs T.



I can only applaud Bruce?s intention to learn some HTML. Even when you are doing most of your Web development with a software package, it really does help to have some understanding of the HTML code that it produces. There are several such packages around. I used to use Front Pages but I wouldn?t recommend it now. For one thing it requires some special settings at your ISP and for another it is of average quality, such as we have come to know from a large company like Microsoft who command a near monopoly in so many areas

I find Macromedia Dreamweaver very good. I like the way I can see the HTML code so easily and also see my style sheets. I think Bruce would be well advised to learn something about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as well as HTML at an early stage. To learn about it why not try the CNET course (creep creep!). For books I would recommend ?Webmaster in a nutshell? and ?Cascading Style Sheets ? the definite guide? both published by O?Reilly. They are both good introductions and then will act as a reference.

Nowadays with storage space so cheap, ISPs always offer far more storage that you need. 70MB is huge unless you are into very fancy graphics. But do ask about bandwidth. One of my clients has a relatively simple site but with around 28,000 visitors annually the requirement is for over 3GB per month.

Submitted by: Charles W.



I found a wonderful place via Yahoo egroups to learn HTML..

This is the waiting list site.

This site offers 20 online lessons within a group setting. Each group has a mentor. There are specific courses you take ending up with a website you design only using notepad.

I have enclosed the web site I created for my final for this group:

I found the people here to be very supportive and helpful. It was a fun way to learn HTML in a relaxed atmosphere.

This is the actual site:

Submitted by: Magicquest



HP Learning has a short series of lessons on web pages. You do learn some HTML code but everything is pretty basic. I took the course and produced my first Web Page and maintained it for some time. Although it is a good beginning you will soon want a program which makes life much easier.

I used Web Easy and found it quite easy to use but I am sure there are many out there.

Submitted by: Bill H.



Dear friend,
you can find loads of html codes, javascripts and other important information to know about building a website on

Have luck Happy

Submitted by: Souheil B.



Ref., setting up a Web SITE using Cox Cable! GOOD LUCK, this will be a first if they let you do it. Make sure you are taking to someone other then one of there tech?s. Remember there ( Cox ) is in the business of making money, and at least here in the Omaha Nebraska Market, what you are trying to do is and absolute TABOO. I no this because my son tried to do it and once Cox found out that he was setting up a privet web site to sell space on it, they shut it down faster then you can snap your fingers. Remember Cox controls the speed of both the upload and download, as well as PORT 80 which you will need to set up your service, if this is the type of web site you are trying to do. As I stated check and make sure you are talking to someone that will allow you to do what you are planning. Good luck, and hope you succeed with your plans.

Submitted by: Brian G. of Omaha, NE



Try looking into Coffeecup software. They have all kinds of tools and things for building web pages. Plus you can find the html codes etc. there. Most of their stuff is free too. I use them alot. You can also buy higher grade products from them as well.

Submitted by: John E.



Hello Bruce,
It sounds like you're interested in learning a little html code. You don't really need a special editor to make basic web pages. In fact, you can just open notepad, paste in the text below and save it with a ".html" extension (exammple "MyPage.html") and then double-click it to launch a really simple page.

<style type="text/css">
h1 {color: red}
h3 {color: blue}
h4 {color: green}
<h1>MyPage - Large Header</h1>
<body bgcolor="#FAEBD7">
<h3>A smaller header</h3>
<p>A paragraph of some text, blah blah blah </p> <hr> <h4>Yet smaller header - The End!</h4> </body> </html>

Obviously, this is very basic but illustrates a simple starting point.

There's a nice online tutorial at:

If you prefer to learn from a book, I would go to and search on "basic html" or "learning html" and read the reviews on the top books listed.

Regarding web editors, these tools often hide the code or add alot of unnecessary code, making it hard to read and understand in many cases. This doesn't mean they can't be useful - they certainly can. If you're still curious in this area, I would search for "html editor" or "web editor" to see available shareware or check the sofware reviews on

As you get more and more into web creation, you'll find that there are several aspects of web design including visual design, html coding, style and client-server interaction to name a few. The possibilities are really endless but don't be intimidated - explore as much as you feel comfortable with and have fun!


Submitted by: James C.



The best program for creating websites is 1st Page 2000 available from And it's free! If you do not know how to create websites, i.e., write HTML, this program will step you through the process without knowing HTML.
It will create HTML that is concise and follows W3C HTML standards.

Another great feature of this program is that you can set your experience level. For example,.if you are just starting out, you can set it at the Normal mode which provides a lot of helpful wizards. Once you progress and become more familiar with HTML, you can change the settings to Easy Mode, Advanced/Expert mode, or Hardcore mode. And if you have it set to Hardcore Mode and you forgot the HTML syntax, you can immediately change it back to any mode and then proceed.

Although it is 1st Page 2000, there is a new version, 1st Page 2006 available in beta right now with an expected release early in 2006.

Submitted by: Paul Y.



Hi, Bruce,
Learning basic html is fun and easy. To get started I used the free html guide from Joe Barta at to create my website. Don't skip a lesson, you'll regret it later when your site doesn't look the way you intended and you don't know why only because you cannot find a forgotten closing tag! A great tool to write code is HTML pad.

Hope that helps,

Submitted by: Gryta A.



Only one thing needs to be said to answer this weeks question I think. Free up some time because is gonna show ya how. Or you can pick up a book like I did when my brother donated a site to me. CNet's gonna give you a jump start I would say.
Have fun.

Submitted by: Mark



Dear Bruce,
It depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you don't wish to spend any money, I suggest that you go with Freewebs ( It offers free websites, but you have to build it yourself. If you're looking for a forum type of website, check out InvisionFree ( See an example of an IF forum here. ( They offer an OK amount of storage space with a free forum, a massive support community incase you have questions, and best of all, it's at no cost to you!!! Some website software that you could buy, which has some more features, could for a forum, be VBulletin. (See example of VBulletin at ( If you are interested in a simple website, check out Macromedia's Dreamweaver 8, Now, on to your question about where you can learn how to build a website. Here is a list of sites from Google.

I hope you are happy with whatever route you choose.

Submitted by: Fred R.



I have an answer for learning html code. I found a website ( ) that has helped me out greatly. The person who designed this webpage teaches you code from a very basic standpoint. I learned html very quickly and the site still helps me out a lot.
I did sign up for the members area, which gives you more information and lifetime updates.

Submitted by: Brian



Well I was (am) in the same boat. Don't know much about creating web pages. I use Netscape Composer, it's easy to use, informative and uploads easily. I believe the last composer is built in to Netscape 4.8, I don't see it in later versions but it works well for me.

Submitted by: Pete D.



Video Professor has a course in HTML and that is what I would look at before I started making a home page. I have used his products and they do wonders for me.

Submitted by: Barbara R.



I learned html for free at WebTechU, which is online. The classes usually run 6 lessons and the instructors are great. All the lessons were taught well. They teach not only html, but also tables and everything you need to get a site up. CNET offers the same classes, which I have just signed up for because the instructor also offers ecommerce tips and facts. These are the best classes for what you want to learn.

Submitted by: Ethel P.



Welcome to the world of CNET! I will answer your second question first. Google, Google, Google. The WEB has literally hundreds of resources for learning HTML. Google it! There you will find HTML tutorials suited to your technical savvy. Now for your first question. Again, Google it! You will find several applications for building a website. And many of the better ones are FREE! No single application will "do it all" for you. Review them and select one (or two) that best suits your design needs and technical savvy. I apologize for the short answer. I bet you were expectiong a dissertation. But sometimes the best answers are the shortest ones. Good luck on your first website and enjoy the experience. I did!

Submitted by: Jack F.


Answer: has free classes on the internet for many topics. I completed their "How to build a web-page" and found it very useful and informative. HTML is also included.

Submitted by: Erban



I have enjoyed using/learning with Dreamweaver Macromedia MX 2004. You can create many different formats of web pages, from HTML to ASP.Net C+ to CSS and PHP. It is also very easy to learn. When I started learning about Dreamweaver I got this book which helped me a lot:

In this book you learn by examples not simply reading and reading a lot of text. It comes with many tutorials including: CCS, Fireworks integration, Site management, templates, Library items, frames, rollovers, sounds and plug-ins and more.

I guess everyone has their own taste, that?s why I can only recommend what to get. Good luck.

Submitted by: Eugene G.



Web Page Maker is a much more capable WYSIWYG editor than FrontPage (which I used for a long time), and gives far better results. Version 1.52 , which you can request, is a lot easier to use than their newest version (V2), and worth every cent (the older version was $39).

Submitted by: Gary L.



Use a free html editor. I am using the new Open Office 2.0.0 which was created as Star office 5 years ago as a native html editor around Netscape engine.

It is now a full office suite and save naturally in html. It is free and well supported now in the Open community and commercially supported by Sun.

Good luck.

Submitted by: Germain P. of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec



Hi Bruce:
You are going to get a lot of feedback on some very good HTML editors. I?ll recommend 2 that I have used extensively for the last 5 or 6 years. HTML-Kit ( ) that is a free editor with a lot of features for a newcomer to web site building. NOTE TAB ( ) that has 3 versions to choose from. A basic free version and a standard version for $9.95 and a Pro version for $19.95, an excellent full featured HTML editor.

For learning HTML, the best site I have ever run on to, and I have checked around, is Dave?s Site ( ). He has an HTML- Interactive Tutorial For Beginners. Plus a tutorial in Web Site Creation and other tutorials for beginners. Hope this helps and good luck.

Submitted by: Ron K. of W. Ellicott, NY



In regards to Bruce R.'s question concerning first web page building;

Currently CNET is giving online lessons concerning building web pages.
Here is the url to sign up:

I signed up to learn the basics of web site building and found a ton of
helpful information. Use Netscape Composer to create if you don't like
the idea of using FrontPage (my sentiments also). It comes with the browser
when downloaded. I'm not sure how much help comes with Netscape Composer
but I would think it would be simple enough to use.

Submitted by: Duane M.



Many new creators of websites use Microsoft's Frontpage because it is readily available at no or low cost. ISPs don't want to loose potential customers due to the high cost of some software.

As one who has gone the gamut of low cost software and who also has been burned by Microsoft many times for all the talked about reasons, I've been most comfortable with Macromedia's DreamWeaver.

DreamWeaver is not low cost but it packs a massive punch in all the right areas for the beginner as well as the professional. And as you become more adept and build on your web authoring skills you'll probably want to add those extra perks into your site and Macromedia's Flash will be there to fit seamlessly into DreamWeaver.

If you grow to become a web professional or anything in between, Macromedia has the solutions. Since you are just starting out, you may not need to go with the very latest version. Check out the sites that sell brand new but older versions of the software for a fraction of their original street price. This is a great way to get into it especially at an early stage. Then as your skills increase, move up like all good webmasters do. Happy website building!

Submitted by: Rick O.



You shouldn't automatically avoid Microsoft software just because it's from them. There is some "Big Brother" attitude there, but if you compare one of their programs to others, you might find it's okay... and Microsoft makes a LOT of software most people don't hear about.
As to FrontPage, I found it one of the easier ones for rookies to use. Though I know HTML code well enough to know what does what, msot with-it websites may also use DHTML, XML, Flash, and JavaScript features. So there's nothing wrong with making the job easy on yourself, no matter what your level of expertise.

I've found that FrontPage does have its quirks and bugs, however. I've switched to the open-source NVu and found it the easiest and most useful for my needs.

Learning HTML is relatively easy. There are online sites that walk you through the basics, and every webpage editor out there has (I hope) a button you can click to see the HTML code that's producing the layout you have in the web page view. Switching back and forth will give you a pretty good idea all by itself what that code does.

Submitted by: Dave C.



Cox Cable's suggestion that Bruce R. use MS Front Page to create his web page should not be quickly dismissed. Although FP is not the Rolls Royce of web creation software, it does come with a shallow learning curve. Why spend a lot of time learning how to write HTML code, when such a skill is not necessary? Why have to cope with the complexities of programs like Dreamweaver for a marginal difference in web site impact? Of course, there are those who'd contend that the difference is not marginal, that a talented graphic artist and HTML code expert can work wonders with Dreamweaver that are not attainable with FP. Though I'd agree with that, I also think that the differences in the end product are not worth seeking a technological challenge for its own sake.

Submitted by: Bob F. of St. Augustine, FL



I use Serif Page Plus 9 for building my web site. I then put it on the net using WS FT PRO. Works for me and I don't know any of that html stuff. I can't get on with Front Page nor Dreamweaver.

Submitted by: Gordon
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some of the tools that I use
by paul138a / November 3, 2005 8:10 PM PST

Hi Bruce

Here are some of the tools that I use, I have tried dreamweaver it good but over priced.

I now use xsitepro it is a wysiwyg it has some great maketing tools biult in seo, adsence, database for your affiliate info, it also has a friendly user manual one of the best I have seen.

I have found this to be one of the best and easyest tools to use, I only wished it had been out when I first started, another really cool tool that is free is you can use it to create header logos ect

If you want to create Ebooks to sell on your site you will not find a better better tool for making them as
you can use it to make text auido and picture ebooks and no html is needed

Ken Evoy make your site sell is one is
''The definitive work on making ANY Web site SELL!''

I could go on but these are the main tools to get anyone up and running

Paul Cass

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Just keep at it
by terrymcr / November 4, 2005 3:05 AM PST

I posted my first web page almost ten years ago after my cousin challenged me to. Of course, she lives 1000 miles away, next door to a Windows guru, and I had a 40M hard drive and WordPerfect. But I had the Internet, right? I found Joe Burns at

In this tutorial he said that Windows NotePad was fine for writing HTML but he made some suggestions. I downloaded NoteTab from

It was free then, and you can still get NoteTab Lite free, but eventually I invested in the Pro version for $19.95 because it has great features and I use it so much. It's fast and it's way smaller than the WYSIWYGs.

Anyway, I created and uploaded my first home page in three hours, with a JPEG background and everything. Then I had to decide what I had to offer the Web. I'm an amateur photographer. Easy, right? First, I had to find a photo lab that would scan my photos to 3.5'' floppies. Then I had to lay out pages of them. Even if you could get a fast modem, phone lines had their own limitations, and space on my ISP's server was limited to 5Mb. My only option was writing my own code to make pages look the way I wanted them to on different browsers. I'm glad I learned to do that. Joe Burns and others helped. Then I found out about ZDU's free on-line courses for all the emerging scripts and styles. You can still find some here in C|Net

When I wanted to get more creative I thought I would need one (or more) of the big, expensive programs, but I was lucky to find Xara. There's a new version, Xara Xtreme, it costs less than $100, there are lots of other programs to go along with it, and many, many resources for learning to use it. Not that it's hard to learn. It's very easy to get started. To see what can be done with it, go here

And it's great for composing graphics, enhancing photos, laying out pages, creating navbars, animations, and image maps, and you can use it to upload pages so they will load at the fastest speed possible using the simplest HTML so they get displayed the way you wanted.

I swear they don't pay me. It's my unbridled enthusiasm. I just bought on the latest upgrade, honest.

The biggest thing still is choosing what I have to offer, then finding the best way to present it. I've learned a lot more than I thought possible, and it's been fun all the way.

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I would recommend
by jlrowe / November 8, 2005 11:55 AM PST

HI, I would like to recommend if you are interested in learning basic code or just to know what is going on and how to edit your code. If you dont want to put much time into it use a template there are lot of free templates online that you can modify. and also try for great web editing software.

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by CBTaters / November 3, 2005 7:26 PM PST

I have always wayed to learn html code myself. But the more I look at what others have posted it gets right down to loooking at a mess,Simply because I do not believe they pre-review before posting. I makes it very difercult to read. Can and one lead me to the right books tolearn this before I make a fool out of my self also? I like Microsft product because they have always been very helpful to me with out any cost envolved.I have never as them a question that the did not supply me with and answer in a timely manner.I always did research before asking as not to sound like I was looking for something for nothing.I guess I strted in the days of dos and learned that pretty quick with the help of a blind man. I mean really blind. He had oe of those speach translators and it always read back hids in put so we got alomg find as it would read back what I had input and he would bring me to the error of my ways (lol).

So if and one know of a boook to learn HTML lwt me know
Larry (CBTaters)

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books to learn html
by paul138a / November 3, 2005 9:12 PM PST
In reply to: HTML Code

Hi Larry

The one and only book to learn from is the Osbourn ''complete reference html'' by Thomas Powell it very in depth but breaks it down so as it is easy to understand.
But basicley to explain html it is just a mark up to tell you what to do like a teacher when they mark your work for example if you want something in bold you would put a tag at the begining <B> then anything you write is bold untill you tell it to stop with an end tag </B>
like this it gets easy when do it all the time

<center><h1>welcome</h1></center> ''h1'' is headline ''center'' means of page or table ''br'' means new line
hi my name is paul
<b>hi my name is paul</b> ''b'' is bold
<b><big>hi my name is paul</big></b> ''big'' is big ect
<center><b><big>hi my name is paul</big></b></center> center bold and big

hope it helps you understand

Paul Cass

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Your own code is better than any program
by Intro to basics / November 3, 2005 10:01 PM PST
In reply to: HTML Code

I teach Web creation at the University level. Knowing the basics of HTML gives you the ability to control your own site instead of the page creation program creating your code. (Also, most software includes far more code lines than are necessary).

Also, not all software is cross-platform capable. The best text (I have used for over 10 years) HTML for the World Wide Web 5th Ed/Student Edition; PeachPit Press.

I hope this helps.

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10 years?
by andersong / November 8, 2005 1:08 AM PST

A lot has changed in 10 years. How is this text book sitll relevant?

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Web Design
by zzdave / November 3, 2005 7:33 PM PST is a great resource for html tutorials. Also java script and psp if you want to go further.



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Suggestions on web design
by btblondon / November 3, 2005 7:38 PM PST

The advantage of using Front page is tha tif you use Word, then many of the commands you are familiar with in Word, work in a similar way in Front Page. That's the good bit - the bad bits are that: it is difficult to see how your code affects your layout as you can't see both at once; site managemetn and uploading is poor and difficult to control; and it encourages you to use microsoft design schemes, that are overused and make yoursite look like everyone elses and produce bloated code and slow downloads.

Two alternatives, like many other people who reply, I use Dreamwwaver, it is not the cheapest but it gives you full control and, because you can see your code and your page at the same time, you can see how tweaking your code changes your page and you can learn a lot like that. It also manages templates and bits of code and text you want to re-use very easily. The site management and uploading tools are excellent and intuitive. However it has a fairly steep learning curve - easier if you've used a Mac before as its porting from a Mac platform shows through.

The best free programme is 1st page 2000 <a href=''></a>
This is look alike of Home Site. It is text based rather than WYSISWG, but has lots of helful tools and shortcuts.

The best style guide (and ought to be a compulsory read before anyone posts anything - the web would look much neater) is the Yale Style Guide <a href=''></a>

There are lots of links to good web resources at the LSE IS department page on web design resources<a href=''''></a>

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The first one is always the hardest!
by bob3160 / November 3, 2005 8:01 PM PST

I was lucky enough to come across NVU.

"Nvu (pronounced N-view, for a "new view") makes managing a web site a snap. Now anyone can create web pages and manage a website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML."

I started with NVU and am still using it and if that sounds like an endorsement, well, it is.

You can get all the information from their website: and good luck with your first website project.

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Web page Recommendations.
by wmarr / November 3, 2005 8:22 PM PST

If you don't like using MS Front Page, do this.
This is what I have done in the past.
You can open up a blank word document, edit it (put in the text past pictures etc, where you want them in the document. Now save it as an html, or web page. Just upload it to your webspace as instructed by your provider. Too easy.

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no to Front Page
by sleesolene / November 3, 2005 8:23 PM PST

If you are interested in creating a site which is W3C compliant and will display pretty much the same in all browsers, I would definitely discourage you from using Front Page, or any other Microsoft product. Amaya, an open source WYSIWYG editor, would be a much better option. It is hosted by the W3C, so you are much more likely to be writing compliant code with it. [and let put in here, a bit off topic: do not let Microsoft own the internet! the patchy compliance they seem to have adopted as policy has slowed down development of the web in so many ways. their selective compliance to W3c regs means that web design costs on average 10% more than it would if desginers didn't have to write special code for IE in order to make sites code compliant AND render correctly in Internet Explorer, the special needs child of the WWW].

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FrontPage Rocks
by allendick / November 3, 2005 11:26 PM PST
In reply to: no to Front Page

Everyone knocks FrontPage, but, IMO that is all either ignorance or sour grapes, because FP makes the job much less mysterious and anyone can get a good-looking site running in minutes. Moreover, no matter how sophisticated the site gets, FP can handle it. That really irks those who can charge high prices for simple pages. (I've done that) Happy

Back when computers ran on coal, I used to write my own web code in an editor, (That was after the web was finally invented and before all the new editors came out) but when Microsoft bought what would later become FrontPage, I bought FP. It was pretty crude and buggy back then, but I liked it, and have used it increasingly ever since. I now use nothing else.

That does not mean that I haven't been looking for alternatives. I don't like M$ any better than anyone else, having seen UNIX and then OS/2 out-marketed by what was at the time a vastly inferior product: Windows

Nonetheless, for what 95% of us need 99% of the time, FP is just fine, (and, yes, I do check my pages in multiple browsers and never see problems). Moreover, for the purists and masochistics, FP allows writing code manually, while observing a WSIWYG pane at the same time, and will then check and correct all links in all documents.

The thing I love about FP is that I maintain webs with hundreds or thousands of files and many directories, subsites, etc. and FP allows drag and drop re-arrangement of the files without breaking links. Links are changed in all documents as I move or rename things!

For those who haven't tried FP lately -- or ever -- FP has improved vastly over the years, and I would suggest trying it for a while before knocking it -- or wasting time doing things the hard way.

I've looked, and the only thing that comes close, as far as I can see, is Dreamweaver. I've searched and tried many different tools, looking for freeware or Linux software that comes anywhere close, including Nvu, which has been highly touted, but appears to only do pages, not sites.

As far as I can tell, NONE of the freeware or shareware software programs have the folder and general site management that FP does, and I really depend in the maintenance and report features of FP to find broken links, and generally maintain my sites.

If you only plan to have a page or two, then you don't need FP, but if you are going to create a maze of pages, then you will appreciate what it offers. You don't have to take my word for it. Try FP for free at or

Before you go too far, however, I recommend that you check to see if the provider of your web space includes web creation tools or templates. Many do, and, if so, you can likely do what you want using a web drag 'n drop interface.


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Frontpage is Bloatware
by Thompa / November 4, 2005 9:46 AM PST
In reply to: no to Front Page

Compare the size of a file created with Frontpage with the same page created in Dreamweaver (which I recommend for heavy web sites) or straight html code.

You will find that the Frontpage file is absolutely huge and contains many lines of non compliant W3C code which means that it will not be viewable in all browsers - an important issue if you want the site to be available world-wide.

THe huge size also means that downloads are slower per page and that there is less room for pages in the ISP's allocated space.

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by philip.bankhead / November 4, 2005 7:47 PM PST
In reply to: Frontpage is Bloatware

I completly agree Frontpage produces really heavy files. I bilt my first site with Frontpage but had so much trouble with the updating that I bought Dreamweaver (a bit expensive but very good) I then spent about 2 months deleting tons of useless files on my site ! Now my site is slim and efficient.

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recommendations for Web design
by DorisRL / November 3, 2005 8:29 PM PST

I agree with someone who said Coffeecup software is good. It is easy to use, does the html stuff for you, and relatively inexpensive if you want to upgrade from their evaluation versions. I also used Globalscape's Cutesite Builder, it gives you templates to start with and lots of them. It also has an upload program included in the menus. If you want to download an evalutation copy, try this link to their website: The paid version costs about $70 with email delivery, but I have an older version which was quite nice (version 4.0 I believe). Good Luck! ps: I now am using Microsoft Visual Web Designer, it is a test version yet, and very complicated, but has great features for when you get the urge to do something more sophisticated.

Doris R-L

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More website help for newbies
by Eskiegirl302 / November 3, 2005 8:38 PM PST

I loved charlenes answer and here is a bit info for some of you learning. html my not be very exciting, but it is an absolute must know for creating websites. There is an excellent tutorial here for learning it. This site is wonderful for people. Have fun! Esk

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TSW WecCoder
by Galley / November 3, 2005 8:50 PM PST

You should check out TSW WebCoder 2005. It has every feature you could ever want, and it's a bargain at $29.99.

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Learning HTML
by jodi_d / November 3, 2005 9:00 PM PST

Hi Bruce,

When I wanted to make my own web site, a friend referred me to They offer
a multitude of classes that includes "Build Your Website", which has three levels. It starts with basic HTML and uploading your files and continues through advanced CSS. You're given "homework" every week and the instructor is readily available to help you. Most of the classes are six weeks long and cost $20-$25. After completing several of them, I really didn't need to use Microsoft FrontPage anymore....I found that it was easier to write my own code.
You might want to take a look at their course schedule
and see what they offer.

Take care,


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That's good advice
by cobwebs / February 15, 2006 2:04 AM PST
In reply to: Learning HTML

Learning to write code, in a classroom situation, is the best advice yet. All of the software mentioned is great, but there is no greater reward than seeing your own code "work". After you get a solid understanding you will be able to edit the software code for more personalization. I have taken HTML and Javascript on-line classes so far, but without that, I would consider myself to be blind and feeling my way around in the dark. When you can get the software (discounted at college book stores for their students) I highly recommend taking a current Photoshop class so you can edit photos with the pros and make your own graphics and animations. After these 3 basic classes you will have a great footing, and choosing the right software for yourself will be so much easier. A friend gave me the book "Websites for Dummies" which helped me decide which classes I needed to get where I needed to go. It?s easier to digest more if the courses are taken in a structured order. Bon App

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use openoffice
by jasonkornbau / November 3, 2005 9:06 PM PST

I use works great also sometimes i frontpage I don't know why people make such a big deal using Microsoft Products. They are going to be popular no matter what.

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What about Macromedia Dreamweaver
by bucksguy14 / November 3, 2005 9:11 PM PST

I'm also getting ready to setup a web site and have been advised by a couple of people that Dreamweaver is a much better choice than Frontpage. Anyone have any experience and/or comments about Dreamweaver?

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Go With Dreamweaver
by daygo140 / November 3, 2005 9:37 PM PST

I myself use Dreamweaver. Not only does Dreamweaver allow you to create websites with ease, it makes updating them also an easy task. Although it will help to have some knowledge on how HTML, PHP, etc. works. If you find these to be hard to understand or you don't have the time to learn these I suggest a good WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.

If you do decide to go with Dreamweaver YOU WILL come across styles and things were you will need clarification or additional instruction. That's were Dreamweaver's support is top notch. Go to .

Enjoy creating your first Website. Check out mine to maybe give you some ideas. if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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Run from Dreamweaver!
by karaleah / November 3, 2005 10:01 PM PST

First post here (hi everyone!) but I have to warn you about Dreamweaver. I can't stand this program. If you use the WYSIWIG editor your page's code will be so unfreaking-believably bloated with redundant tags that it makes editing the code itself (which you'll want to do at some point) a nightmare.

Run away from this program! There are better ones out there.

Take care,

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Dreamweaver the Best
by millclar / November 4, 2005 2:05 AM PST
In reply to: Run from Dreamweaver!

I have used Dreamweaver for use. I get virtually no redundant tags - I have no idea where you are coming up with this. It is the best on the market bar none, and the learning curve is not bad at all.

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