Getting Help FAQ Forum

Frequently Asked Questions

First and foremost, please consider this page permanently under construction. The more questions I get, and the more frequently I get them, the quicker I'll update the page. Hopefully, you'll find the answer to your question here. If not, try posting a message to my Question and Answer board. To keep spambots from posting frivolous and annoying messages, you'll need to use reader as a username and as a password.

Is there a single file that I can download with all the examples?
Yes! There is a single downloadable file with all the examples, both for Macintosh and for Windows. It includes a handy table that shows you which files go with which sections on which pages (it's also included in the download). Remember that all of the example files and images are © 2007 Elizabeth Castro. All Rights Reserved.
How come you didn't answer my question personally?
This is a constant struggle for me. I am one of those people who really likes to help and I make every effort to answer as many questions as I can. The problem is, I'm just one person and I get twenty questions a day and I'm going a little crazy. That's why I ask you to use my Q&A Forum. That way, everyone can benefit from everyone else's questions. Just search for the topic you need help with.

Some pointers on getting a helpful response: Outline all of the strategies you've already tried, and give me all the necessary details, including what you're expecting and what exactly happened instead. I'm good at sleuthing out what's going on, but I'm not clairvoyant. The easier you make it for me to help you, the more likely I am to answer. (And it never hurts to gush about my books : )

If you post a note and noone answers it, try reading through that last paragraph again, and then post a revised question. I really do want to help.

When I try to edit my HTML file, it opens up in my browser.
When you double-click a file, your computer looks at the file's extension and decides which program it should use to open it. In the case of HTML files, it imagines that you want to view the HTML page in a browser, not a text editor, and that's why it automatically opens the page with your browser. (That's also why the file automatically takes on the icon of your browser, even if you just created the file with Wordpad or SimpleText.)

So how can you edit that file again? You open your text editor and then choose File > Open and then select the file. That is, you open the file from inside your text editor. Save changes as usual, keeping the same .html extension. And that's all there is to it.

In Windows, you can set up the right-click so that it will give you the option of opening the file with a text editor.

What happened to the examples from the earlier editions?
They're still available, just not so obvious so people don't get them confused with the new edition's examples. You can always find a link to them on the main Examples page. Or go to the examples from the Fifth Edition (2002), the 4th edition (2000), or the 3rd edition (1998) directly.
Are styles covered in detail in the new edition? How about scripts?
Yes, there are eight chapters devoted to Cascading Style Sheets (level 2), including using styles for text formatting and layout, and also for specialized environtments like printing and handhelds. If you want to see what else is new in the Sixth Edition, check out the Table of Contents.
Why don't styles work? I've typed the styles exactly as you show them in the book.
Although browser support used to be more spotty, it's gotten quite good. Check first for typos. Then go through Chapter 22: Testing and Debugging Web Pages to try and figure out where the problem lies.
What does deprecated mean?
The World Wide Web Consortium--the organizational body that publishes the standard HTML specifications--doesn't want you to use local formatting and thus has marked certain tags for eventual removal. They'd prefer you use CSS to format your documents. While deprecated tags are still currently "proper" HTML, the W3C says it plans to drop those tags at some point in the future. But, in my opinion, no browser will stop supporting them for many years to come.
How can I learn more about JavaScript?
The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth editions of the HTML VQS include an entire chapter which explains several cool JavaScript tricks. Check it out! You can also find information about adding JavaScript to your Web page (in the Scripts chapter). Beyond that, you'll need a book on JavaScript (perhaps JavaScript and Ajax for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide) to learn how to create your own cool effects.
There are some things that don't work with my browser, but you didn't mention that on the page.
Browsers are constantly changing and no browser supports CSS 2 100%. My book is based on the standard HTML and CSS specifications published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). I recommend you test your pages in as many browsers and on as many platforms as possible.
When I go to look at my page, I see HTML code instead of a beautiful formatted page. Why?
You probably used Microsoft Word to create your page and then when you went to save your document you used the "Save as HTML document" feature. What that does is convert a regular Word document into HTML. But since you already wrote the HTML code, what it does to your page is convert your HTML code into displayable HTML code and then generates more HTML code to format your HTML code. (Did you get that?) To see what I'm talking about, when you go to look at your page in the browser, choose View > Page Source.

There's no problem using Word, you just have to stay away from that command. Instead, choose File > Save As, and then select Text only from the Formats and make sure you use the .htm or .html extension for your file.

If you find that that still doesn't help, try putting the file name in double quotes when you save the file. This keeps Windows from adding other extensions (like .txt) onto the end of your file name.

Why don't my images appear?
Make sure they're saved in GIF or JPEG format with the proper extension. Then, make sure that the path that you specify for them (in step 2 on page 90--in the Sixth Edition) actually points to where they are. Reread the section on URLs on pages 35-37 (again, Sixth Edition). So, if the image is in the same folder as the HTML file that references it, you just need to use src="image.gif". But if the image is in a folder inside the folder that contains the HTML file, you'll need src="folder/image.gif". And if the image is somewhere else, you'll need to specify that, precisely. Otherwise, the browser won't be able to find the image.

Last little thing? Don't forget to upload the images to the server when you upload your Web page. Again, the path that you type for SRC has to match where the image actually is so the browser can find the image.

You can find more details about image problems on page 327 of the Fourth Edition's "Help! My Page Doesn't Work!" chapter.

What's the difference between .htm and .html?

Older Windows systems required three letter extensions, and so in the infancy of the Web, pages that were served by such systems had to use .htm. In fact, the three letter extension is so ingrained in many Windows/DOS users, that it is still seen pretty regularly.

Unix and Macintosh (and indeed Windows post version 3) do not have this limitation, and so can handle four letter extensions (as well as three letter extensions).

Remember that what matters is the server, not the local system on which the pages are viewed. Windows 3.x users can still browse pages with four letter extensions. It's only Windows 3.x servers that wouldn't be able to serve such pages (nor would designers using Windows 3.x be able to create pages with four letter extensions).

Is there any way to protect my HTML code or images?

You've probably noticed (if you're on a Windows system) that when you try to view the source or try to download images from some pages, you get an error message. That error message was probably produced with a JavaScript script that is activated when the visitor does a right-click. Note that since there is no right-click on a Macintosh, Macintosh visitors have no trouble downloading source code or images from these sites.

Is there a better, fool-proof way? I don't think so. Your HTML code and images are generally downloaded into the cache of every visitor's browser who visits your site. That means that they could go into their browser's cache folder and find the image anyway.

You can copyright your HTML code and your images. And you can add digital signatures with Photoshop (and probably other programs as well).

Has the HTML book been translated into any other language?

It has indeed. Check out the Foreign Editions page for details and links.