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Creating a Web Page with SeaMonkey Composer

Creating web pages with SeaMonkey Composer is as easy and intuitive as writing a letter using a program such as Microsoft Word. Let's look at using Composer to build a simple web page, one that provides information about some fictitious individual. We start by entering the content that we want to present in the web page; we will come back and make the content appear more eye-pleasing.

To follow along, start Composer, if you haven't already. Recall that this can be accomplished by launching the SeaMonkey browser, going to the Window menu, and choosing the Com- poser option. (Refer to Figure 1.9 for a screenshot of the Window menu in the SeaMonkey browser.)

Entering content into the web page is as simple as typing it in! The web page we'll be creating is about a fictitious fellow named Bob. In this page, Bob wants to share information about himself, including

  • His age
  • What he does for a living
  • A bit about his wife and kids
  • His hobbies
  • Information about his pets

Start out by typing in the information Bob wants to share with the world. Feel free to be creative and make up a bevy of interesting facts about Bob to share in this web page. I decided to enter the following for Bob:

Hello, you have reached my very first Web page! My name is Bob, I'm 34 years old and I live in Dallas, Texas.

I work as an instructor at a sky-diving school, teaching people how to jump out of planes. I've made over 400 jumps myself, and made my first jump back when I was a mere 12 years old!

I am married to my wife Irene, and we have seven lovely children: Bertha, Bobby-Joe, Jermain, Ted, Todd, Rod, and Lil'Elaine. Bertha's the biggest and oldest, and Lil'Elaine is the youngest (although not the smallest—Rod has that distinction).

For fun I like to bowl. I am in a league, and we play every Wednesday at the Bowlorama.

The joy of my life is my pet parrot, Mr. Polly. Mr. Polly has a large vocabulary, and is quite talkative, especially when the whole family sits down for dinner. Mr. Polly, believe it or not, has been on several jumps with me.

Figure 1.11 shows Composer after I have entered information about Bob.

Figure 1.11

Figure 1.11 Bob's first web page.

Without a doubt, Bob's first web page is a bit of a disappointment. It doesn't look very exciting. Over the next several sections, we'll examine how Composer allows you to spruce up the appearance of a web page. With a few simple steps, you can radically improve the look and feel of a web page.

Changing the Font

By default, the text you type into Composer is displayed using the web browser's default font. You can choose a specific font quite easily in Composer, though. To demonstrate this, let's have Bob's home page displayed in the Arial font.

Start by highlighting all of the text you've typed in thus far. To highlight the text, you can go to the Edit menu and choose Select All, or, using the mouse, you can click and hold the button within the text and drag the mouse cursor to select a portion of the text. To change the selected text's font, go to the Format menu and choose the Font option. This displays a long list of available fonts, as shown in Figure 1.12. To follow along, choose the Arial font.

Figure 1.12

Figure 1.12 The Format menu's Font option lists the available fonts.

Figure 1.13 shows Composer after the font has been changed to Arial.

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.13 The text in Bob's web page is displayed in the Times New Roman font.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14 Arial, Times New Roman, and Verdana are the three most popular fonts.

Making Text Bold, Italic, and Underlined

You can make text bold, italic, and underlined using the toolbar icons shown circled in Figure 1.15. To apply such formatting to a given piece of text, highlight the text and then click the appropriate icons.

Figure 1.15

Figure 1.15 These toolbar icons allow you to make text bold, italic, and underlined.

For example, let's have Bob's children's names italicized. To accomplish this, use the mouse to select Bob's children's names. When this text is selected, simply click the Italic icon (the I in the toolbar), and the text becomes italicized.

Also, let's add a brief title before each paragraph, where each title is made bold. Figure 1.16 shows Composer after the boldfaced paragraph titles have been added and the children's names italicized.

Figure 1.16

Figure 1.16 Some bold and italic formatting has been applied.

Changing the Colors

Composer allows you to easily specify the foreground color for text, and the background color for a web page. To set the foreground color, simply select the text whose color you want to change, and then go to the Format menu and choose the Text Color menu option. Choosing this option displays the Text Color dialog box, which is shown in Figure 1.17.

Figure 1.17

Figure 1.17 The Text Color dialog box allows you to select the text's color.

This dialog box allows you to choose a color from a palette of colors. After you select a color and click the OK button, the dialog box closes and the selected text's foreground color changes to the specified color. Take a moment to alter the foreground color of some text in Bob's web page.

The web page's background color can be changed by going to the Format menu and choosing the Page Colors and Background option. This displays the Page Colors and Background dialog box (shown in Figure 1.18). To change the page's background color, select the Use Custom Colors radio button and then click on the Background button. This displays the Text Color dialog box shown in Figure 1.17. After choosing a color and clicking OK in both dialog boxes, you are returned to Composer, and the background color changes to the specified color.

Figure 1.18

Figure 1.18 This dialog box allows you to change the background color of the web page.

Positioning Text

Like with a word processor, Composer allows you to position text in one of four ways:

  • Left-aligned
  • Center-aligned
  • Right-aligned
  • Justified

To specify the positioning, simply select the text you wish to position and then choose the appropriate positioning icon from the toolbar. Figure 1.19 shows the text-alignment toolbar icons circled.

Figure 1.19

Figure 1.19 These toolbar icons allow for positioning of text.

To practice text positioning, take a moment to right-align the paragraph titles (About Me, My Job, and so on). To right-align the About Me title, select the text and then click the right-align toolbar icon. Repeat this process for all paragraph titles on the page.

After the right-aligning has been performed, your screen should look similar to Figure 1.19.

Saving the Web Page

There are many more formatting options in Composer, and we examine these in detail when we start building full-blown websites. The goal of the past few sections was to introduce you to some of the more basic formatting options Composer provides and to hammer home the concept that formatting in Composer is synonymous to formatting text in a word processor.

Now that you have completed Bob's first web page, save it. To save the web page, go to the File menu and choose the Save option. This displays a dialog box prompting you for the title for this web page.

Choose a title, such as "Bob's First Web Page," and click OK. Next, you are prompted for where to save the file. You can save it anywhere on your computer you'd like, such as in the My Documents folder, on the desktop, or in a custom folder.

When saving the web page to your computer, be sure to remove any spaces from the filename. While your computer can certainly store files whose names contain spaces, URLs cannot. Consequently, it's good practice to omit spaces from the filenames of your web pages.

At this point, the web page is saved only on your computer. There is no way that your grandmother in Toledo could visit this web page through her web browser. To make this web page accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, we need to create a website and then copy this file to the web server that hosts our website. This involves a number of steps, which are examined in detail in the next chapter.

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