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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Understanding HTML

HTML stands for the HyperText Markup Language. HTML code is the major language of the Internet’s World Wide Web. Web sites and Web pages are written in HTML code. With HTML code and the World Wide Web, you have the ability to bring together text, pictures, sounds, and links... all in one place! HTML code files are plain text files, so they can be composed and edited on any type of computer... Windows, Mac, UNIX, whatever.

HTML documents look a lot like word processing documents. You can have text that’s bold and italicized, larger and smaller, or it can look typewritten. The HTML code might look something like this:

You can have <b>bold</b> and <i>italicized</i>, <font size=+2>Larger</font> and <font size=-2>Smaller</font>, or it could look <tt>type-written</tt>.

Most HTML code is enclosed within braces < >, and when you place the code between the braces it’s said to be a tag. An HTML tag is code inserted in a document that specifies how the document, or a portion of the document, should be formatted. For example, the <b> tag is saying to start bold text, and the </b> tag is saying to stop bold text. The tag with the slash (/) is known as the closing tag. Many opening tags require a following closing tag, but not all do. Tags make up the entire structure of an HTML document.

HTML files are just normal text files; they usually have the extension of .htm, .html, or .shtml. HTML documents have two parts, the head and the body. The body is the larger part of the document, as the body of a letter you would write to a friend. The head of the document contains the document’s title and similar information, and the body contains most everything else.

Here’s an example of a basic HTML document:

<html>
<head><title>Title goes here</title></head><body>Body goes here</body>
</html>

You may find it easier to read if you add extra blank lines such as follows...

<html>
<head>
<title>Title goes here</title>
</head>
<body>
Body goes here
</body>
</html>

Extra spaces and line breaks (blank lines) are ignored when the HTML is interpreted (displayed) by a Web browser, such as Microsoft Explorer or Apple Safari... so add them if you wish.

When working with HTML code, it’s all about the tags. The HTML tags instruct the text how to look and how it’s formatted. In addition, tags control graphics, animation, in short... everything. For example the following uses the <b> or bold tag:

The cow jumped <b>OVER</b> the moon.

When displayed within a browser it would look like this:

   The cow jumped OVER the moon.

The start tag <b> instructs the text following the tag to use boldface; the end tag </b> instructs the text to stop boldface and return to normal.

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