E-Commerce Fundamentals (IV) - HTML: The foundation of your web-site

Hypertext Markup Language is the foundation of World Wide Web. The web is a gigantic storehouse of information written in billions of interconnected pages. The pages are written using the language HTML. HTML documents are ASCII files with embedded codes for logical markup, format (text styles, document titles, paragraphs, tables) and hyperlinks. Browsers (Netscape, Internet Explorers etc.) can read and interpret HTML codes. HTML is not a programming language but a mark-up language that anyone without software background can master in days.

A working knowledge of HTML is necessary for taking maximum advantage from your website. You may not be designing your website, but a working knowledge will help you communicate with your designer in same frequency and achieve what you wanted to achieve fast with maximum ease.

The secret behind HTML is that there is no secret ! Everything's out in the open in an HTML document. To test this, visit any webpage and click View>Source in your browser. You will be able to see underlying HTML code for the webpage.

HTML is made up of two key concepts:

  • Hypertext: A way of creating multimedia documents and a method for providing links within and between documents.
  • Markup Language: A method for embedding special tags that describe the structure as well as the behaviour of a document

One can create simple HTML pages using any text editor (Windows Notepad, Wordpad etc. but NOT MS Word). For complicated pages there are excellent software like Frontpage, HotMetal etc. that create HTML codes.

The simplicity and power of HTML lets anyone create web documents for private or public use. The power of hypertext, with its built-in support for multimedia and document links, creates the threads that compose the worldwide web with its billions of interconnected pages. Mark-up allows flexible and aesthetic display of text and graphics that make reading that much pleasure. The bottomline, you have an incredibly powerful medium to reach out to your target audience, a medium that is much more powerful than print and moves in a borderless world.

Next week we shall discuss selected web resources that help you master HTML in no time even if you do not have any computer background.

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol II, Issue 20' October 25' 2001

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

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