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Introduction to HTML

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What is an HTML File?

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
File extension: .HTML, .htm
MIME type: text/HTML
Type code: TEXT
Uniform Type Identifier: public.HTML
Developed by: W3C
Type of format: markup language
Extended to: XHTML
Standard(s): W3C HTML 4.01
An HTML file is a text file containing small markup tags
The markup tags tell the Web browser how to display the page
An HTML file must have an htm or HTML file extension
An HTML file can be created using a simple text editor



What Is Markup Language

A markup language combines text and extra information about the text.

The extra information, for example about the text's structure or presentation, is expressed using markup, which is intermingled with the primary text. The best-known markup language in modern use is HTML (HyperText Markup Language), one of the foundations of the World Wide Web. Historically, markup was (& is) used in the publishing industry in the communication of printed work between authors, editors, and printers.



Creating an HTML document

Creating an HTML document is very easy. To begin coding HTML , need only two things: a simple-text editor and the dedication to follow this tutorial! Notepad is the most basic of simple-text editors and you will probably code a good amount of HTML with it.

HTML is platform independent, you will need to save your HTML files in standard text format, sometimes known as ASCII. The easy way to do this is use a program like notepad.exe in Windows, pico in Linux, and the like.

If you'd prefer to use a word processor like Word or WordPerfect to write HTML code, you can do so, but need to save your files as "Text" or "Text Only. " You will see this option in a drop down box in your "Save As..." screen.

If you use a word processor and forget to save it as Text format, you will see only garbled data when you try to view the page with a web browser.



The Most Common Mistake

The most common mistake for designers is the urge to put the d:\ in links and images . When you are on the web, there is no d:\ to the rest of the world. When you start out, keep all your HTML files and images in one folder, and don't use d:\ at all.

Quick example:

<img> loads an image into a web page. If you have a file called flower.jpg, use the code <img src="flower.jpg"> to load it, not <img src="c:\My Documents\website\flower.jpg">



Frequently Asked Questions

» What is HTML?

HyperText Markup Language:
HTML is a plain text file with commands <markup tags> to tell Web browsers how to display the file. Tim Berners-Lee created HTML while at CERN, (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics) in Geneva.

» My page looks good on one browser, but not on another.

There are slight differences between browsers, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, in areas such as page margins. The only real answer is to use standard HTML tags whenever possible, and view your pages in multiple browsers to see how they look.

» Does my computer have to run Windows? What about a Mac?

You can do all your training on a non-Windows computer like a Mac. However, some of the examples in our advanced classes require a newer version of Windows, like Windows 98 or Windows 2000.

» How do I know if my HTML is correct?

It's good to validate your HTML. Just because you can see the Web page ok on your browser doesn't mean every browser will show it that way, or even be able to access the Web page. Browsers attempt to "work around" HTML errors, and the differences can be subtle or drastic. That's why the folks at WC3 have worked up the specifications of what works for every browser. Although some may display it a little different, at least you know they can access your page. (The different browser programs have their own set of "whistles and bells" that just won't do the same... especially Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.)

» After I have edited an HTML file, I cannot view the result in my browser. Why?

Make sure that you have saved the file with a proper name and extension like "c:\mypage.htm". Also make sure that you use the same name when you open the file in your browser.



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Keywords:introduction to HTML and browsers, HTML document, HTML tag, introduction to HTML heading

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