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Welcome to the Citynet Web Design/HTML Reference. This tutorial will hopefully answer many of your questions pertaining to the development of your personal website hosted at Citynet.

DEV-101: A Brief Overview of Web Development:
Like all good lessons, learning can't take place without a little background planning and a foundation on which to build. Therefore, first introduce you to the basics of web design and give a few pointers as to how to begin a website.

Perhaps the single most important feature of a website is the navigation, or the way the user moves around the page in search of information. Links must be presented clearly and the words or images used to create these links must be clear, concise and relevant to the information it leads to. For example the link: My Pictures is very descriptive while: Shots is a little more vague.

Also, it is very important to be consistent with navigation. Always place the navigation links or buttons in the same place on all of the pages of your site. While sometimes there are exceptions to this rule, it's not very common and usually only occurs with more advanced sites or artistic sites. For functionality and consistency's sake, however, keep them all the same.

Another key point to building a good website is planning. Just as an architect wouldn't build a home without plans, so should a developer have a strong plan on which to build the site. This is commonly referred to as Information Architecture. A good way to do this is to sit down and determine:

  1. What is the purpose of this site? (i.e. Selling Goods? A page for my family and friends?)
  2. Who is my audience? (i.e. Kids? Adults? Quilters? - This helps determine the "look" of your site.)
  3. What and How Many pages are going to be in this site? (i.e. How many pages do I need? Is there going to be a separate page for My Pictures or will there be enough to justify a second page?)
  4. What is the easiest way to present this information? (i.e. All on one page, many pages linked together, do I need frames, do I need forms?)
  5. Will there be any interactivity? (i.e. Forms to fill out, custom scripts, JavaScript, etc.)

Another important tool is the "FTP" (File Transfer Protocol) tool. This is an application that allows you to place your website on the Citynet servers. We generally recommend FileZilla or CuteFTP as applications of choice in this area.

Image Editors:
The next tool in your arsenal will be the image editor, generally Adobe Photoshop is the preferred tool of choice, but at $700 it's a bit pricey for the average user. A few other good choices are Adobe ImageReady, Macromedia Fireworks and JASC Paintshop Pro. All of these are available as trial applications on the web and are free to download.

Last, but not least, is the web browser. This is the application that allows you to "Browse" the internet and view websites. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari are the major browsers available today and you should always make sure you have the most current versions of these tools in order to view modern advancements in HTML (the language of the internet). Citynet recommends using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 as it is more compliant with current web standards and is more robust in its features.

After getting the appropriate tools, design your navigation and make your plan (site map) - you're ready to begin building your site! So come on over to the next page where we'll talk about LINKS.