Question Help! The screens of my Web site look different on Explorer and Netscape. They look fine on Explorer, but are altered on Netscape. For example, the type on Explorer is the way I want, on Netscape it's big and bold! On Explorer, my background is correct; on Netscape, it's something else!! I use HotDog 2.53 as my HTML Editor. Is there a command I put in each page so that my screens look the same on each browser? I'm confused and a little frustrated. Please help, if you could.
-- Jumbled in Joliet, Illinois

Answer: Remember that HTML is a markup language, not a typesetting language. This means that HTML has never been intended as a language to precisely specify page layout or appearance. There's no way to specify that your pages will look the same in the many different brands of past, present, and future Web browsers. Not to mention that there may be different kinds of devices (like telephones) that may soon display your Web pages.

Remember also that your users may set their default font size to their liking (or their font colors or background colors in the case of some brands of browsers). Their actions may render your careful tweaking moot. While you may think you have control over page appearance, you really don't.

There are advanced tricks and things you can do to tweak the appearance and layout of pages. I don't think that new Web developers should focus too much on these, however. I first recommend for you an apprenticeship period during which you let go of the need for control.

The HTML Prayer

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not control, the skill to specify the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I recommend implementing Web pages according to HTML standard specifications, concentrating on developing the meaning of your Web pages, and then checking your page implementations in a variety of Web browsers to ensure that they are satisfactorily (not perfectly) rendered.

Question Any codes out there for Greek alphabet letters? Theta, Delta, Omega, etc. etc?
-- Aristotle in Athens

Answer: Check out this list, Aristotle.

Question I have found your page to be the most helpful of all the HTML pages I've looked at today. Thank you.

I have a question though, maybe you can help me. How do you indent a paragraph? Not a block indent, but just a five space indent at the beginning of the line.
-- Johannes G. in Germany

Answer: One way to do this is by using the   (non-breaking space) entity.

Put this at the start of your paragraphs: To get this effect:
<P>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;I have found your page to be the most helpful of all the HTML pages I've looked at today.

      I have found your page to be the most helpful of all the HTML pages I've looked at today. Thank you.

      I have found your page to be the most helpful of all the HTML pages I've looked at today. Thank you.

Another way to indent paragraphs on a page is to use the STYLE element using cascading style sheets. This is actually a superior solution from the portability perspective. Cascading style sheets allow you to set the paragraph indent in a style specification located in one spot on your Web site. If you change that specification, you can have the changes "cascade" through all HTML pages that use that style specification. This is great from a maintainability perspective.

Setting the paragraph indent using <P>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; is not evil, but the style sheet solution is much more portable. After all, we are not setting type here, Johannes.

Question I have seen a few pages that have "clickable" pictures. Let me explain: There is a picture of a counter/desk with a calendar, computer screen, clock, etc. and each separate item serves as a link. I can import and make individual items "clickable" How do you make a certain part of a picture the link?
-- Marshall M. in Toronto

Answer: A simple solution is to use a a client-side imagemap.

You could also use a Java applet, Javascript, or probably some other more complex and less portable solution. I recommend the simplest route. After all, the message isn't the medium, Marshall.

Question Is there a way to change the color of text hyperlinks midway through a page? If so, what code do I use?
-- Michael in Jackson, Mississippi

Answer: The way to designate the hypertext link color throughout a single page is to use the BODY attribute Link:

<BODY Link="#FF0000">

This sets the hypertext link color (to red or #FF0000) through the whole page. Once you set your color in a page like this however, you are committed to it for that page if you are using only HTML 3.2.

Keeping the same color from page to page is a good idea from a user's perspective--link color is a navigation cue. You don't want to confuse your users with ambiguous color cues, Michael.

If you want to change link colors on a single page, however, use the inline style method. You do this by using the pre-defined classes of the anchor (A) element. These pre-defined classes are link, visited, and active. Using these classes, you can change the colors of the anchors in your Web pages. For example, to set the color of an unvisited link to red, you do this:

<A Style.link="color: red" Href="http://www.december.com/">http://www.december.com</A>

In the same document, a few lines later, you can set the unvisited link color to blue:

<A Style.link="color: blue" Href="http://www.december.com/">http://www.december.com</A>

If your browser does not support the Style attribute of the A element, you won't notice any visible difference in the links in the above examples. (You also won't notice a difference if you have previously visited the URL http://www.december.com/).

Again, I warn and recommend against doing this kind of anchor color switching on the same page--it gives inconsistent navigation cues to your user. Pick a color and stick with it, Michael.

Question Hi, I am interested in creating my own chat net would you be able to let me know how to do this or tell me where I can find this information?
-- Chatty in Chattanooga

Answer: Check out this search page to find one.

Question How do I implement the META element in the HEAD element, to cause a web page to be indexed & cataloged by indexing sites like Alta Vista, Yahoo, Jobsite etc?
-- Solitary in Southampton, UK

Answer: see this note on the META element.

Question How do I do all kinds of tricks with HTML?
-- R. Nixon in California

Answer: Check out the HTML tricks page.

Question What is the HTML technique to have a new web page open up in a NEW browser window when one clicks on a link on the page? (while still keeping the original window open) ?
-- Stifling in Ferndale, Michigan

Answer: In the A element, use the Target attribute set to the value new; like this:

See the Web's best at the <A Href="http://www.december.com/web/top.html" Target="new">Top of the Web</A>.

Caution: you can clutter your user's desktop by having too many of these new browser windows spawned.

I apologize, but my question queue is backed up like a cheap toilet, so I will not be available for questions until I can clear it up. I don't want you to have to wait forever for my answer, so in the meantime, Search the Web.

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