What is HTML?

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What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. All that means is that you're marking the text on the page to show what you want done to that text. It's sort of  like marking a typewritten page to show where you need to make changes. If you (back in the Dark Ages) used a DOS word processing program (like WordStar) you've used the precursors to HTML.

First thing you need to know about HTML ... any section that you want to change is proceeded by a starting tag, and ends with an end tag. The tags always come in pairs. Capitalization makes no difference. I try to be consistent ... just to be tidy.

Example - <i> and </i> are the beginning and end tags used to italicize text. (That's why the i is in the middle). So, if you wanted to italicize a section of text you would type

<i>really important stuff here</i>

and it would show up as

really important stuff here

There are two categories of these formatting tags ... Physical and Logical.

Physical formatting tags tell the browser exactly how to show the text ...

<i> and </i> to italicize text

<b> and </b> to make text show up bold

<u> and </u> to underline text

<s> and </s> to show text with a strike thru (not commonly used)

<tt> and </tt> to make text appear evenly spaced as though written on a typewriter

Logical formatting suggests to your browser what your intentions were ... browsers can be set up to handle these different ways ... but these are the future of HTML ..

<em> and </em> For Emphasis

<strong> and </strong> Another emphasis

of course, there are many more, but these are the only ones you'll need to know for the forums.

The tags can be combined ... ie <b><i> and </i></b> will show as bold and italic
note that the end tags are in reverse order than the start tags (kinda like .... gasp ... math)  - it will work most of the time either way, but this way it will always work And again, it looks tidier.

Speaking of tidier... guess you'll need to know how to make the posts themselves tidier and easier to read. Two different tags will come in handy.
<BR> will insert a line break (kinda like what just happened there)

<P> and </P> are paragraph tags. They will make it look to the reader as though you had two line breaks before and after a section of text. Use the paragraph tags instead of multiple line breaks. More browsers will then interpret your HTML correctly - some ignore multiple line breaks. Using paragraph tags will make it much easier to read what you've written.

I have found a *few* places for more help ....


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last updated: March 12, 2009
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