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Lessons in the Snow Lion's Garden

Lesson One: Words of Welcome, and Words of Conjuring.
Greetings and salutations! Welcome to the Academy, and to my garden! Pull up a rock, or sit on the moss, and together we will explore the mysterious principles of HyperText Mark-up Language, that strange tongue which, if spoken properly, results in the manifestation of Home Pages! When spoken properly, HTML summons creations of beauty an wonder to the Internet. However, when misused or spoken improperly, HTML can cause unspeakable things to happen! Here, in my garden, we will delve into the secrets of this mysterious language an learn by means of what magic words and phrases you can cause strange and beautiful things to come into being! How well I remember when I was but a novice to the mysterious HTML programming language! And I remember my first homepage with many a smile at my clumsiness! But, in time and with practice, I mastered many secrets of HTML.

An old teacher of mine once told me that we can only keep what we have by giving it away. Therefore, I will give you all that I have (such as it is), in the hope that we can learn from each other, and that your home-page can be the best it possibly can be.

Feel free to ask questions along the way. Shall we proceed? Very well, then! We shall proceed, as they say "straight into the mouth of the beast." And explore the mysteries of HTML programming and discover its manifestations in cyberspace!

HTML is written in special units called "tags", which means that each command is bracketed within greater than/less than signs, thus:

<>


You can be certain that, if your commands are not bracketed within these symbols, the result will not be a manifestation of the pure form of the intended home-page, but a MESS instead! Thus, the <> brackets will always have the effect of telling the computer that what they contain is a function to be carried out on your homepage.

Once we have established what symbols will denote an HTML command, the matter still remains to be settled of what those commands are. A homepage can be thought of as a cybernetic entity. As an entity, it can be said to have a body. It is therefore important to tell the system that what it is about to examine is a body of HTML programming. How, then, do we do this? Ah! HTML is a mysterious language! Mysterious because it is so very simple that its secrets often elude our complex minds! No matter! The appropriate command for telling the system that what follows is a body of cybernetic thought is

< BODY >

The < BODY > command ensures that such things as background color, background images, and text colors will appear as you command them to appear. If the < BODY > tag does not appear, yoru computer will use certain pre-specified settings called "defaults", which means that, instead of a colorful homepage, you will see a grey background with black text, which may be a good thing for someone who is putting all the works of Shakespeare on their page and needs every available kilobyte of memory....but for those who aspire to create beauty, it tends not to be a good thing! While we are on the subject of color, perhaps, now would be a good time to explain the commands for controlling the colors on your homepage.

The codes for colors in HTML apply to: The background color, the color of your text, the color for any text operating as a link, and the color for linked text after a visitor has followed that link. Thus, the color codes are at once artistic and functional. The color codes must immediately follow the BODY command, or else the system will not know where these colors are to be used, and will simply ignore them. And that would be a bummer.

The appropriate form in which the commands for color must be written is:
< BODY BGCOLOR="#XXXXXX" TEXT="#XXXXXX" LINK="#XXXXXX" VLINK="#XXXXXX" >

Where XXXXXX is the special 6-digit code for the desired color. These codes are written out as follows:

Just as the ancient Hindu philosophers taught that the Cosmos evolved through the intermingling of the Three Primordial Qualities, these codes represent the hexidecimal value representing three binomial (two-digit) variations of the red/green/blue combination that conjures up the desired color.

But, perhaps you wish not to conjure up a solid color for your background, but would rather create ambience with a background image? How then is that to be done? If you wish to use a graphic image for a background rather than a solid color, the BGCOLOR tag must be changed accordingly. It must then read BACKGROUND="filname.jpg". However, note that there be different species of graphic image in use on the Internet, and you will have to distinguish between a .jpg or a .gif file accordingly. Thus, is the graphic is not a .jpg but a .gif, you must alter the command to read BACKGROUND="filename.gif". You must also be certain that the image you wish to use is stored on your server. NEVER LINK TO AN IMAGE AT ANOTHER SITE, BUT ALWAYS SAVE IT TO YOUR HARD DRIVE, THEN UPLOAD IT TO YOUR SERVER. LINKING TO ANOTHER SERVER FOR AN IMAGE TAG IS CALLED BANDWIDTH THEFT, AND IT IS A VIOLATION OF THE ETHICS OF THE INTERNET. So sorry.....my CAPS LOCK key was stuck! But you probably have gathered by now that, whenever you propose to conjure graphics images into your homepage, there are certain ethical standards to follow, such as giving credit to the talented person who made the image, and not linking to images on other sites, and not using copyrighted images without express permission of the owner.

That about covers it for our first lesson in the philosophy of Web-Conjuring! I am so glad you dropped by!

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