Old HTML authoring tips

(Last addition: 5 January 1997.)

This document contains a few tips on writing HTML. I suppose one could alternatively call these workarounds for bugs in Netscape Navigator... This page assumes you're familiar with the basics of HTML; if you aren't, see A Beginner's Guide to HTML.

  • If you've got a link target near the end of a page, add this to the end of the page:

    [insert a screen's worth of blank lines here -- maybe 40 of 'em]

    Then when you link to the target (using a #target href), the target comes up at the top of the window instead of the bottom of the window. This goes a long way toward preventing reader confusion. (For those with browsers that handle the situation better, if anyone: if you use Netscape Navigator to jump to a target at the bottom of a page, the target comes up at the bottom of the window, often making it very difficult to find on the screen.)

  • You can get a registered-trademark symbol (®) by using the "&reg;" entity. Unfortunately, nobody thought to provide a normal trademark (TM) entity. "&trade;" is an entity name, but Netscape Navigator won't interpret and display it properly. The closest you can get to this in Netscape at the moment is: <font size=1>(TM)</font>, which generates a small (TM) in parentheses. It's not the small superscripted TM that most lawyers would prefer, but apparently it'll do in a pinch.
  • Until someone follows my suggestion and makes footnotes an integral part of HTML, with a special tag, you can do pseudo-footnotes by combining two of the above tricks: make a link, the text of which is a small number in parentheses. Link it to a target at the bottom of your page, then put a bunch of pre-formatted blank lines at the end. You may want to provide an explicit "back" link from the footnote text as well.
  • This has more to do with Webmastering than with authoring per se: if the main file in a directory has a name other than index.html, create a symbolic link (or alias) from the filename index.html to your main file. Since index.html is the default page name, when a user just gives the directory name ta will get your main page.