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Elizabeth Castro's Top 5 HTML Questions (and Answers)

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Elizabeth Castro, best-selling author of HTML, XML, and CGI books for Peachpit Press, answers the top five most frequent questions she receives from readers.
Elizabeth Castro wrote the book on HTML and has been fielding your HTML questions through her popular Web site and monthly World Without Borders chats.
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1.  Why doesn't my page look the same in Internet Explorer as it does in Netscape?

The Internet Explorer- Netscape struggle is probably the most vexing problem on the Web. You work hard designing a great page, you test it in your browser, you upload it to your server—and five minutes later your first visitor writes to complain that they can't see anything, or that what they see is not what they're supposed to see (see Figure 1). What went wrong?

The three common culprits are tables, frames, and style sheets. Solving table and frameset problems is easy: Be sure to use a closing </TABLE> or </FRAMESET> tag for each opening one that you code.

Style sheets are trickier—the problem is that neither browser supports style sheets completely. The solution is to restrict your use of style sheets to those elements that both browsers get.

2.  What happened to my images? And why don't my links work?

If you get little red x's or the question mark icon instead of your images, or if your links don't go where they're supposed to, you've probably got problems with URLs, or Uniform Resource Locators, which is just a fancy name for an address. Each and every file (including HTML pages, images, sounds, video, and anything else you have on your page) has a unique address on the Web.

The URL is made up of a path and a filename. The path describes exactly where the file is on the server (not your local hard disk!), and it can be either an absolute address (starting from the root directory, go into the Web directory, and then into the Site directory, and get the xyz file), or a relative address (it's the xyz file that's in this same directory as the page the reference is on). In general, use relative addresses for all the files on your server, and use absolute addresses to link to files on other servers.

You must get the address exactly right—matching upper and lower case letters, and spelling everything correctly. Finally, make sure you upload the file where you say it will be in the URL.

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