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HTML³: Introduction |

What is HTML³?

HTML³  is a utility to help with web page design. It is not a snazzy WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor, and it doesn't totally replace the need to learn HTML; what it does do is take the grind out of web page design, and let you create some pretty cool effects as well.

HTML³ is a macro inserter; that is, it sets up various bits of text and types them out for you, almost as if you were typing it yourself. This means that it should work with any normal text editor such as Acorn's Edit, or with StrongEd and Zap, all of which are freely available.

Why use HTML³?

There are an awful lot of HTML codes to remember, and most of them can be used with an awful lot of extra parameters; the text editor of your choice may have a HTML mode which can add some common commands at the touch of a button, but no text editor can do them all, and even if you can remember them it's not much fun having to do all that typing, figuring out colours and how to get them to work, adding in huge bits of JavaScript just to do a simple, repetative task and so on.

That's where HTML³ comes in - it works out what you need at the click of a few buttons, and types it in for you. You can click on a button and it will type out the code to create coloured text; drop a file onto it and it will work out how to create a link to that file, or if it's an image how to display your picture, speeding up the download process by working out the image sizing and so on; it can add embellishments like "rollover buttons" (the JavaScript where images change when you move the mouse pointer over them); it can help you work out colour schemes and even design 16 colour palettes which can be used in graphics.

Hand coding vs. Machine coding

But so what? Why not use one of those nice WYSIWYG editors and write web pages just like you're using a word processor? Well, for some people this is fine; it will do an okay job and might even have nice extras like built-in spell checking and so on. However, for people who are serious about web design and HTML then it's usually much better to keep full control over your work by being able to see exactly what's going on. For instance, most WYSIWYG editors will add lots of extra, uneccessary code into a web page to make sure that it doesn't lose track of what it's trying to do, which means that the page takes much longer to download - definitely to be avoided!

An example from Microsoft's email client:


<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Just to let you know that I'll be out of the
office on Thursday 23 from 11 am to approx 2 pm</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>&nbsp;</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Anne</FONT></DIV>

count: 239 bytes


<font size="2">
Just to let you know that I'll be out of the
office on Thursday 23 from 11 am to approx 2 pm

count: 134 bytes

On a more extreme level, this from Netscape Composer: to do a paragraph break it would use the following code...
when all it needed to do was...
That's seven times the size it needed to be, and due to a bug in Netscape rendering it didn't even work properly!

Final word

HTML³ is the product of over nearly two year's work (games of Total Anihilation, Quake and Half-Life aside[1]) and a similar number of years of updates by someone who designs websites for a living, aided by input from other designers and interested parties. As such it has a lot of bells and whistles which may make certain parts of the program appear complex at times. For this I can make no apologies, as it would not have been written if it could not be made to handle almost everything I need to write complex HTML.

In an effort to make this the best utility possible other programs such as Netscape Composer and Microsoft Front Page have been examined, and all the useful features copied and even enhanced; a little patience and HTML³ can be made to manipulate Web sites in ways not possible on PCs without spending large amounts of money, and you're getting it for free!


1. Games played instead of working on HTML³ now include:

  • Alien v Predator 2 (single and multiplayer)
  • Half-Life (plain, Opposing Force and CTF versions)
  • Homeworld (plain and Cataclysm versions)
  • Max Payne
  • Quake III
  • Red Faction
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Star Trek Klingon Hono(u)r Guard
  • Star Trek Voyager Elite Force
  • Total Annihilation (plain, Kingdoms and some modded versions)
  • Unreal Tournament (single and multiplayer)
...and probably others that I've temporarily forgotten.

HTML³: © Richard Goodwin 1997-2002