HTML Assistant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prepared by Howard Harawitz (

Revised May 31, 1994

The most recent version of this FAQ can be obtained via anonymous FTP at: /htmlasst/htmlafaq.txt

You can download the plain text version directly by clicking here.

Note: This document is under development

What is HTML Assistant?

HTML Assistant is a hypertext editor for creating and editing documents used on the World Wide Web.

In addition to its editing facilities, HTML Assistant incorporates features which can help you to organize and keep track of the Internet resources that you use.

It runs under MS Windows so you need to have Windows on your system in order to use it.

The HTML documents created with HTML Assistant can be displayed on any computer for which browser software exists including IBM PC compatibles, Apple Macintosh, UNIX and simple terminal based systems.

How can I get a copy of HTML Assistant?

HTML Assistant is available via anonymous FTP as freeware. The author holds the copyright, but the software may be freely used and distributed. Distribution must include all the files in the program file set (

You can download it directly by clicking here. The file, "", is under 180K bytes in length.

If you don't already have it, you will also need the file "vbrun300.dll". You can download it by clicking here as "" -- length is about 230K bytes.

The current release is version 1.0.

The FTP site for HTML Assistant is:

The directory containing the files is /htmlasst/

Look at the short readme.1st file to see what files you need

How can I learn more about HTML and the World Wide Web?

As with all things related to the WWW you can find what you need on the Web.

Click here to view the "HTML Assistant Newsletter" page for learning about the World Wide Web and HTML.

Once the document is displayed, simply point and click to bring up additional information.

How is HTML Assistant supported?

The primary support for HTML Assistant will be by means of an electronic publication called "HTML Assistant Newsletter". This will be forwarded, on a somewhat irregular basis, to subscribers by Email starting early June, 1994.

To subscribe send Email to In the 'SUBJECT:' field include the words "subscribe HTML assistant news" (quotes are not necessary). Optionally, you may include comments or suggestions in the text part of the message.

If you have questions about or problems with the HTML Assistant software you can send Email to the author, Howard Harawitz, at the same address.

Why is it called HTML Assistant?

World Wide Web browsers (Cello and Mosaic are examples of browsers that work with MS Windows) use hypertext to access and display information available on the World Wide Web. Hypertext is text that incorporates pointers to additional information. Microsoft Windows "Help" files are examples of hypertext documents.

The hypertext documents used by World Wide Web browsers are ordinary text files that include special markings that tell the browser software something about how the text should appear to the user, as well as how to retrieve information when the user requests it.

The language, or code, used for these special markings is Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

While HTML markings could be added to any text file using a simple editor like "Notepad" which comes with MS Windows, the process is tedious and time consuming. Also, it is difficult to see how the documents you create will actually look when displayed by a browser.

HTML Assistant provides, along with a text editor, special tools and functions that 'assist' in the process of creating HTML text files by letting the computer handle most of the repetitive and time consuming tasks.

HTML Assistant also permits you to use WWW browsers to view your documents, while you are working on them, without leaving the editor.

HTML Assistant incorporates the following features to make the work of creating HTML text documents easier:

  1. Point and click creation of HTML Hypertext markings

  2. Ability to test your work with a WWW browser at the click of a button. You can quickly and easily view the documents you are working on to see how they will look when actually displayed by browsers. HTML assistant can take advantage of Cello's DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) capability so that testing your work with Cello is almost seamless.

  3. A user defined toolbox enables you easily to include new markup text as more features are added to HTML. You can also create your own markings for special editing tasks.

  4. Facilities for extracting, organizing and combining URLs (pointers to information -- see below) from different sources.

  5. A multiple document interface (more than one file may be opened at one time) so you can easily cut and paste between documents.

What are URLs?

URLs, or Uniform Resource Locators, are the pointers to information that can be accessed by browsers. URLs enable a single browser program to incorporate many of the functions that normally require several other software packages including FTP, news, Email and gopher.

For example, the URL "" could be used in an HTML document to enable a browser to retrieve the 'HTML Assistant' program files from an FTP site.

Continuing with the example, the HTML text that would permit a user to retrieve the HTML Assistant files might look something like this:

<a href = "">Retrieve HTML Assistant program files</a>

When the HTML was displayed by a browser, the user would see only the text "Retrieve HTML Assistant program files". The text would be highlighted in some way (i.e., underlined, boxed, or in a different color than normal text) to indicate that it was 'linked' to the URL and that the user could 'click' on it to download the binary file "".

How does HTML Assistant make it easier to work with URLs?

HTML Assistant minimizes typing and makes it easy to systematically collect and organize URLs.

URLs can be somewhat laborious to type. It requires even more typing to add the HTML code that makes the information pointed to by the URL accessible to a user.

With HTML Assistant, URLs need to be typed only once and sometimes not at all. URLs created in HTML Assistant can be saved to files and can be quickly retrieved for point and click insertion into any document.

URLs saved by browsers such as Cello (in Bookmark files) or Mosaic (in its menus and its 'hotlist') can be automatically copied and converted to HTML Assistant URL files for point and click insertion into your own documents.

HTML Assistant makes it easy to organize information you collect. Files of collected URLs can be automatically converted to HTML text with a few mouse clicks. This enables you to quickly create your own browser pages of links organized by subject, date or in whatever way suits you. You can build your own information system based on a hierarchy of menus kept on WWW browser pages stored on your hard drive or on an HTML server.

Where can I find MS Windows browsers for viewing HTML files?

"Cello" is available at in the directory /pub/LII/Cello/.

"Mosaic" is available at in the directory /pc/mosaic/.

What is "HTML Assistant Pro"?

Two versions of HTML Assistant are available. The free version, called "HTML Assistant" is described in this document. It is a full working version with all the features described above. It will continue to be freely available and new versions will be released from time to time.

"HTML Assistant Pro" is a commercially available version of HTML Assistant. It has additional features, comes with a manual and is fully supported.

For more information Email to