This article is going to be part of a series of articles focused on the basics of HTML. They are FREE extras that compliment our HTML Training. Before starting to learn HTML it’s a great idea to take a step back and understand the context of this new world we are about to explore.
The internet has billions of web pages, the pages are accessible through Internet Browsers. Every internet connectable computer or mobile device today comes with a browser that enables you to “surf” the web freely. Few of the major browsers are: Internet Explorer that comes with Windows; Safari that comes with MAC; FireFox; Chrome; Opera.
Why does this matter?
Having a lot of browsers means there are a lot of ways to see the same content. This opens up many questions, would a site that is opened on an iphone, android, or desktop always look the same? Should it? Ideally we would like to create the best experience for our end users. The better experience, the higher the chances are that they will follow through with what we hope they will do (in the case of this blog please join 02geek and/or our HTML training/newsletter).
What do browsers do?
Browsers take in information and present it in a user friendly way to users. Web sites are built from many types of information, mainly text and images. Browsers then need to have a way to know what is the information that is being sent to it. The convention and way browsers (and for that matter computers) differentiate between “types of things” is through File Types. Each file has an extension that describes the type of information that is stored in the file.
In our video “what is HTML” we take a peak at a few file formats and explore their meaning. Before you do the same you might need to make a few small changes on your O/S [Operating System]. Many modern operating systems hide the file extension types from users. You are about to start your journey as Super-Users. It’s time we undo the hidden file extensions. I strongly recommend that before you start developing to change the default way your files are displayed.
Here are the instructions for windows/mac users:
- If you are working on a Windows 7 or older Click on the Start button then Control Panel. Windows 8 or 8.1 swipe (touch screens or use mouse) from right to left to reveal side menu then select Settings and then Control Panel.
- Once in the Control Panel select Folder Options or Appearance and Personalization (then click Folder Options).
- Click on the View tab and then in the Advance Settings area validate that Hide extensions for known file types is not selected (if it is then click on it to deselect it).
- Go into the Finder (any folder would do).
- In the top menu select Finder and then Preferences…
- Then click on the Advanced tab and select Show all file extensions
Welcome to the world of File Types. Now that nothing is hidden we can start exploring your computer to discover the different File Types. In general File Types have 3 chars [characters] extensions and are marked this way:
The file name is probably already familiar to you, while everything from the dot and onward is newer. The dot is just a dot and is meant to separate between the file name and the file extension/type. Each File Type that is recognized by an application is associated with it, for example if you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer the DOC file type [.doc] would automatically be assigned to Word. When you click to open it by default it will open up in Word. On the other hand your MP3 files [.mp3] are normally associated with a music player (such as iTunes).
What File Types do browsers work with?
Although browsers are running content that is coming from the web the same idea works online. The expected format browsers expect is HTML [.html or .htm]. It’s true you might see other formats out there on the web such as .PHP or .ASP. Those file formats are actually rendered as HTML but are created through server side code – don’t worry about that for now!
That’s it for now. Until next time. Hope you’re enjoying your HTML learning with us.