February 21, 2012
You've set up a web server, so you're ready to experiment. If not, you might want to go back and read Setting up a Website. Now you need an editor to edit your pages and a little knowledge.
You could use any of a number of programs available for web creation, but I prefer to maintain control over my site. Editing your site by hand will take more effort and time, but will be more rewarding. So, instead of a program like Dreamweaver -- which I've heard much about, but never used -- I use a text editor called TextWrangler.
TextWrangler is a OS X program for which, unfortunately, there is no Windows version. It has several features that I find very useful. The document drawer makes it easy to switch between files. Not only do I have quick access to these files, but I can move them around on my drive and TW keeps up with the changes. I don't need to close the files or save as... It also color codes key words in your code depending on the language you set. It can parse several different languages including: html, php, css, and about 25 others. It has many more features, but this isn't an advertisement or review, so check it out on the Bare Bones web site. The bottom line is that it has a lot of great features, it's easy to use, and it's free.
A Little Knowledge:
To write web pages you will minimally need to learn HTML and CSS. HTML is for organizing and giving structure to your document, while CSS is for formatting. I suggest that if you are just getting started with html, you might as well learn HTML5. There are a couple of really nice beginner tutorials available for free. The three that I used to get started are:
HTML.net - CSS tutorial: I started here because I already knew a little HTML, but my knowledge was fairly limited. About halfway through this tutorial I started the HTML tutorial and went through them in parallel.
HTML.net - HTML tutorial: I found this to be a very easy place to increase my knowledge of HTML. I went through the entire tutorial in about an hour. They move very quickly to a basic competence and you will find that you can write a basic page in a very short time. The consequence of their approach is that they leave out a lot of detail that you will need to fill in elsewhere.
W3Schools.com - HTML tutorial: I suggest this as a second stop after going through the html.net tutorials. They have a different approach and answered some of those "detail" questions that I had after going through the html.net tutorial.
I recommend these sites to any beginner. After finishing these tutorials you should have enough knowledge to build some simple pages.