Toronto Free-Net
  Front  •  Account  •  TFNews  •  Help  •  Contact  
Course: Hand-code your own HTML web pages
Main   Course catalog   Course registration   Lecture schedule   Lecture registration

Next available session:

Avail.:next session begins Apr/2013
Admits:open to everyone, including non-members
Prereq.:course "Internet basics for web developers"
Cost:vol $30, pm $90, Bm $105, nm $135, supplies included
Where:TFN office
When:Thursday evenings 7:30 pm - 9 pm
Length:11 days (16.5 hrs), starts 04/Apr/2013, ends 13/Jun/2013

Format:lecture with class participation & supervised lab
Homework:3 or more additional hours per class; not mandatory
Extra help:by email or during the half hour before and after class


To be exempted from the prerequisite course requirement, contact the course instructor.  You will be given a quiz to help determine whether your skill level is sufficient to enable you to succeed in the HTML course without taking the prerequisite "Internet basics" course.


Iain Calder has been writing HTML since the early days of the web boom.  He is very familiar with the standards documents that define HTML and CSS.  He writes HTML code generators.  He is also an expert user of alternative browsers, such as Lynx, and an avid student of the art of good web design.


Learn how to write your own web pages to publish in your webspace at TFN.  Understand exactly what you are doing and why.  Gain the confidence to spot and fix bad code.  We will hand-code HTML and CSS from scratch, without software aids.

This course is designed for people who aren't expert computer users and who have little or no experience with web page authoring.  The teaching style is tuned for people who like to take the time to really master a concept before proceeding to the next topic.

We will go very slowly, fully explaining all technical words in plain English, with lots of examples, to make sure that all students are at their ease.

This course covers only the subset of HTML & CSS that is essential to creating static web pages containing nicely formatted text, images, and links to other pages.  It does not discuss web forms nor any other type of interactive or dynamic content, nor the embedding of audio or video.

We will focus on learning a few concepts well, not on obtaining exposure to all the available features.  We will cover the minimum needed to begin creating simple, but effective, web pages.  We will discuss only features which can be learned thoroughly in the available time.


Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • read other people's HTML code.
  • write static, non-interactive web pages, relying only on an editor and web browser.
  • put text, images, and simple decorative formatting in your web pages.
  • publish your pages on the web and specifically in your TFN webspace.
  • find more information, to continue expanding your abilities.

You will know only a small subset of HTML and CSS, but you will be comfortable and confident in using what you have learned, without further study, even if you are a slow learner.


Homework is provided to give you more practice, to increase your fluency in the concepts and to improve your long term retention.  Some of the homework is designed to lead you into making errors and having to solve them, to deepen and to reinforce your understanding.

The homework is not deliverable and is not required.  You will be able to understand the lectures without it.  However, you will get more out of the course if you do the homework.

Supplies & equipment:

  • Some handouts are provided.
  • Having a computer with a web browser and Internet connection would be useful.  However, on TFN office days, you can use TFN's workstations for your homework.


This syllabus is undergoing change: several topics will probably get trimmed off, before the course begins.

  • how the WWW was created.
  • the purpose of HTML & CSS.
  • acronyms (a few in each class meeting).
  • the parts of a URL & the index.html file.
  • minimum HTML tags and elements for a page containing only text.
  • HTML elements for titles, line breaks, hyperlinks.
  • web conventions and effective choices for the anchor text.
  • HTML entities, a few more HTML tags.
  • the variety of browsers.
  • adding images and lists.
  • co-operating with search engines and browsers.
  • more on HTML lists, HTML tags for special blocks of text.
  • Internet standards bodies.  HTML evolution and standards.
  • HTML tables and their uses.
  • how to write web pages that read well and rank well.  How to ensure that important topics in your pages aren't missed by your audience.
  • CSS terminology.
  • a few initial CSS attributes.
  • HTML tags used for CSS.
  • a few more CSS attributes.
  • using HTML element descent in CSS.

About HTML, CSS, and the web:

HTML and CSS are computer languages.  They are the core languages of the World Wide Web.  Almost all web pages are written using a combination of these two languages.

HTML serves three main purposes:

  • It provides the means to create links between documents.  These enable users to navigate conveniently from one web page to the next.

  • It lets us combine text with images and with other data into a whole that is viewable as a single document, even though it consists of many computer files.

  • It lets us convey to a computer how our text is organized.  For example, an essay contains ideas that are grouped into paragraphs.  A long magazine article may be grouped into sections with titles.  A cooking recipe is organized into a list of ingredients and into steps that must occur in a particular sequence.

CSS serves a different purpose:

  • it lets us convey to the web browser how we want our text rendered.  For example, it lets us define the size of the characters in a title or to change the background colour over which our text will be displayed.

The point of using HTML and CSS is to inform the computers used by our audience about the ways in which these computers are permitted to manipulate and reshape our document.  This is important because screens differ between old and new computers, between Windows and Mac, between cell phones and desktop computers, etc.  These computers then reformat our document to fit their display capabilities.

Back Front Contact

Copyright © 2012 Toronto Free-Net Inc.