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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating an HTML Web Page

Chapter 14 -- Some HTML Resources on the Web

Chapter 14

Some HTML Resources on the Web




CONTENTS

The Internet is many things: It's a file repository, a communications medium, a shopping mall, a floor wax, a dessert topping, and a forum for all manner of kooks, crackpots, nut cases, and nincompoops. But the Internet-and the World Wide Web in particular-is mostly an information resource. Everywhere you go, some kind soul has contributed a tidbit or two about a particular subject. Now, of course, you may not be interested in, say, the mating habits of the Andorran Cow, but you can bet some surfer will be.

What you are interested in, to be sure, is HTML. Now here's the good news: There are dozens, nay hundreds-okay billions-of HTML resources scattered throughout the Internet. The bad news, though, is the usual Internet gripe: How do you find what you need quickly and easily? This is where your purchase of this book-a savvy and prudent investment on your part-really pays off. Why? Because this chapter takes you through the best of the Net's HTML resources. I'll show you great Net locales for things like graphics and style guides, HTML-related newsgroups and mailing lists, and lots more.

A Better Way to Surf This Chapter
To make surfing all these sites even easier, I've included a hypertext document on this book's disk that includes links to every site mentioned in this chapter. Look for the file named RESOURCE.HTM.

Graphics Goodies

The disk that comes with this book has a small collection of bullets, buttons, bars, and icons for sprucing up your Web pages. They'll do for a start, but you'll likely want to check out other images to give your page just the right touch. The next few sections show you a few of my favorite Web-based graphics stops. (Before we start, though, a caveat: Most of the graphics you'll find in these sites are free, as long as you don't use them commercially. Things change, of course, so you should always read the fine print before grabbing a graphic to use on your page.)

The Three Bs: Buttons, Bars, and Bullets

Here are some sites to check out for the little accessories that add character to a page:

Bullets by Jen  A truly massive collection of bullets, bullets, and more bullets. All Jen asks is that you let her know you're using her bullets, and then credit her on your page.
URL:

http://mars.superlink.net/user/jen/webpages/bullets/bullets.html

Celine's Original .GIFs  A nice collection of images created by Celine herself. If you use one of her images, she'll even put a link to your page on her graphics page.
URL:

http://www.teleport.com/~celinec/gifs.shtml

CSC Image Index Page  An impressive gallery of images, including lots of clip art and larger graphics.
URL:

http://www.widomaker.com/~spalmer/

Daniel's Icon Archive  One of the best places to go for a wide variety of quality icons, balls, bullets, and more. And, if you're feeling gung-ho, you'll also find a few graphics-related documents (GIF versus JPEG, selecting a background, and more).
URL:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/~mccoy/Icons/index.html

Geoff's Images Page  Lots of graphical gadgets culled from all over the Web world.
URL:

http://www.fsu.edu/~bbuchana/icons/

HTML-O-Rama  A large collection of graphics, especially the three Bs. There's also an "Images" page that has a few cool icons (see the figure below).
URL:

http://www.fau.edu/student/chemclub/dave/img1.htm

Some icons from HTML-O-Rama.

Icons and Images For Use in HTML Documents  The usual portfolio of Web page wonders, plus a few interesting variations on the standard themes.
URL:

http://www.infi.net/~rdralph/icons/

Interactive Graphics Renderer (IGR)  This site is for the do-it-yourselfers in the crowd. The IGR lets you specify what kind of bullet or ball you want (size, color, shape, and more), and then creates it for you on the spot! Loads of fun.
URL:

http://www.eece.ksu.edu/IGR/

Use the Interactive Graphics Renderer to create your own bullets and balls on the spot.

Yahoo's Icon Index  A seemingly endless list of sites that have collections of icons, bullets, and other images for Web pages.
URL:

http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Programming/Icons/

Yet Another "B": Background Textures

I don't like background images myself, but lots of Web welders swear by them. If you'd like to give them a try, you'll find a few files at some of the sites mentioned in the last section. You'll also find lots of textures (as background images are often called) in the following locations:

Background Archive  Acres and acres of background textures to suit all tastes.
URL:

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~haley/bgnds.html

Background Generator  Another DIY site. This page lets you create your own backgrounds. You start with a basic texture and then "edit" it (change the colors and brightness) to get the image you want.
URL:

http://east.isx.com/~dprust/Bax/index.html

Dr. Zeus' Textures  Some truly unique and way-out images. Most of them are totally useless for displaying text, but they sure look wild!
URL:

http://www.best.com/~drzeus/Art/Textures/Textures.html

Jay's Personal Collection of Backgrounds  Lots of cool textures arranged in categories such as "Funky," "Nifty," and "Tame."
URL:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jll32/bg.html

Netscape's Background Sampler  A truckload of textures from the folks who started all this background nonsense in the first place.
URL:

http://www.netscape.com/assist/net_sites/bg/backgrounds.html

Pattern Land  "Where your pattern fantasies come to life!" I bet you didn't even know you had pattern fantasies.
URL:

http://www.netcreations.com/patternland/index.html

Yahoo's Background Index  If none of the above pages suits your fancy, Yahoo has a list of a few dozen sites that feature background images.
URL:

http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/

Programming/Backgrounds/

A Guide to HTML Style Guides

Although we talked about HTML style in Chapter 12, "The Elements of Web Page Style," we didn't have room to cover everything. Fortunately, there's no shortage of Web wizards who are only too happy to give you their two-cents worth. Here's a list of some of the better ones:

Composing Good HTML  A guide by Eric Tilton that's a bit on the advanced side. It has a good section on common errors that crop up in HTML documents.
URL:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~tilt/cgh/

High Five Award Page  Although not strictly a Web style guide per se, this site presents the weekly "High Five" award to pages that exhibit "excellence in site design" (see the following figure). Checking out the winners will give you a good idea of what the top sites are doing to make themselves stand out from the Web crowd. (See also the WEB WONK page, below.)
URL:

http://www.highfive.com/

The High Five Award Page.

Style Guide For Online Hypertext  This is a friendly manual on good Web page design by no less an authority than Tim Berners-Lee, the fellow who invented the World Wide Web.
URL:

http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/Provider/Style/Overview.html

Top Ten Ways To Tell If You Have a Sucky Home Page  A tongue-in-cheek (sort of) look at the ten worst things you can do in a Web page. (Number 11? Use dumb words like "sucky"!)
URL:

http://www.winternet.com/~jmg/TopTenF.html

What Is Good Hypertext Writing?  An excellent guide (though a bit on the pedantic side) to Web page writing and editing.
URL:

http://www.cs.tu-berlin.de/~jutta/ht/writing-html.html

WEB WONK  A page from David Siegel, proprietor of the High Five Award Page (see above). WEB WONK offers a few handy tips on making pages look their best.
URL:

http://www.dsiegel.com/tips/tips_home.html

Counter Check: Tallying Your Hits

Okay, you've labored heroically to get your pages just right, a Web server is serving them up piping hot, and you've even advertised your site shamelessly around the Internet. All that's left to do now is wait for the hordes to start beating a path to your digital door.

But how do you know if your site is attracting hordes or merely collecting dust? How do you know if you've hit the big-time, or just hit the skids? In other words, how do you know the number of people who've accessed your pages? Well, there are two ways you can go:

Creating a counter program is well beyond the scope of a humble book such as this (insert sigh of relief here). However, a few community-minded programmers have made counter programs available on the Web. Happily, you don't even have to copy or install these programs. All you have to do is insert a link to the program in your page, and the counter gets updated automatically whenever someone checks out the page. This section provides you with a list of some counter programs to try.

A Counter Caution
Counters are cool, and they're certainly a handy way to keep track of the amount of activity your page is generating. There are, however, three counter-related caveats you should know about:

Internet Audit Bureau  The Internet Audit Bureau (IAB) doesn't provide you with a counter that appears on your page. Instead, the IAB maintains a registry that keeps track of the number of hits your page has generated. You can get the current hit count and other statistics by logging in to your IAB account. (The service is free, but you have to sign up with IAB before you can get your counts.)
URL:

http://www.internet-audit.com/

Another HTML Access Counter  This counter is very easy to use and gives you lots of options (such as the size of the counter). The figure below shows the home page for the counter. Notice how the page shows an example of the counter so you know what you're getting.
URL:

http://www.sdsu.edu/~boyns/counter.html

The homepage for Another HTML Access Counter.

The Web-Counter  A nicely implemented, no-frills counter. Note that busy sites (those getting more than 1,000 hits a day) have to pay a subscription fee to use this counter.
URL:

http://www.digits.com/web_counter/

Mailing Lists and UseNet Newsgroups

HTML is a huge topic these days, so there's no shortage of HTML-related chinwagging and confabulating on the Net. If you're stumped by something in HTML, or if you're looking for ideas, or if you just want to commune with fellow Web fiends, there are mailing lists and UseNet newsgroups that will welcome you with open arms.

Here are a few mailing lists you might want to subscribe to:

ADV-HTML  A moderated mailing list for intermediate-to-advanced HTML hounds. To get subscription information, send a message to the following address:

LISTSERV@UA1VM.UA.EDU

In the message body, enter the following:

info ADV-HTML

eug_www  A mailing list devoted to Web browsing and HTML authoring. For subscription info, create a message for the following address:

Majordomo@efn.org

In the message body, enter the following:

info eug_www

HTML Authoring Mailing List  A moderated, general-purpose mailing list designed to answer queries about HTML and Web page authoring. To subscribe via
e-mail, send a message to the following address:

listserv@netcentral.net

In the body of the message, enter the following (replace Your Name with your full name):

SUBSCRIBE html-list Your Name

You can also subscribe on the Web by pointing your browser to the following URL:

http://www.netcentral.net/lists/html-list.html

html-nonprofit  HTML and Web discussions for non-profit organizations. To find out about subscribing, send a note to this locale:

Majordomo@igc.apc.org

Enter the following text into the message body:

info html-nonprofit

UseNet also has tons of HTML and Web authoring discussions. Here's a rundown:

comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html  This busy group is chock-full of HTML tips, tricks, and instruction.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.images  This group focuses on using images in Web pages.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.misc  This is a catch-all group that covers everything that doesn't fit into the other two groups.

A List of HTML Lists

To finish off our look at HTML resources on the Net, this section looks at a few all-purpose, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sites. The following pages offer one-stop shopping for links that cover all aspects of Web page production:

Creating Net Sites  A collection of HTML links and guides from your friends at Netscape.
URL:

http://home.netscape.com/assist/net_sites/index.html

D.J. Quad's Ultimate HTML Site  "Ultimate" doesn't begin to describe this site (see the figure below). It's filled to the gills with links to pages that provide you-whether you're a beginner or an expert-with the HTML know-how you need.
URL:

http://serv2.fwi.com/~djquad/html/index.html

D.J.Quad's Ultimate HTML Site.

Global HTML Directory  A long list of HTML links, including tutorials and resource listings.
URL:

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/people/home/gotz/

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)  The NCSA's list of HTML resources.
URL:

http://union.ncsa.uiuc.edu/HyperNews/get/www/html.html

Macmillan's HTML Workshop  A nice collection of links for Websters of all skill levels. Brought to you by the same people who brought you this book!
URL:
Nuthin' But Links  A long list of HTML links, as well as other Internet- and computer-related links.
URL:

http://pages.prodigy.com/FL/bombadil/home.html

Yahoo's HTML Index  An absurdly impressive (bordering on overkill) list of HTML resources from the bottomless Yahoo library.
URL:

http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/Data_Formats/HTML/

The Least You Need to Know

This chapter clued you in on some of the "in" places to go on the Net for Web page resources, materials, and discussions. We looked at sites for graphics and backgrounds, HTML style guides, hit counters, mailing lists, UseNet newsgroups, and more.