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A Simple Way to Create Web Pages

Intro to HTML

HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is a computer language web designers use to create web pages.

HTML Documents

HTML documents are documents which are viewed on the Web. HTML documents contain text and tags or special instructions. Tags are surrounded by brackets <>. Macintosh or Unix users create documents with the html extension and MS-Dos or Window users create documents with the htm extension. (An extension is the three letter code which tells a computer the file type and is found at the end of a file name. Example: index.htm.) A web browser interprets the tags in an HTML document and displays the results on the screen.

HTML Versions

There are several versions of HTML with HTML 4.0 being the latest. Most browsers display all versions of HTML; however, some companies that make Web browsers have created tags that are specific to their browsers. If a browser doesn't understand a tag, it ignores it.

HTML Advantages

Since HTML documents only contain text, they display quickly over the Web. All computers can display HTML making it extremely user friendly. You only need to create one HTML document for all of the different computer users.

Main Types of Tags

  1. Document structure tags let you set up the basic structure of your page.
  2. Formatting tags let you change the appearance of text.
  3. Links allow readers to select highlighted text and "jump" to another page.
  4. Image tags allow you to add images to your pages.

To View HTML Tags

If you are using either Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator, right click on this page and then select View Source. A program will open which displays the tags used to create this page.

Working with Tags

Most tags work in pairs. There is an opening tag and a closing tag. Text between the tag is affected by that tag. In the following example: <h2>This will be in large font.</h2>, <h2> is the opening tag and is a command to make the text "This will be in large font." a large, bold-face font. The closing tag is </h2>. Closing tags make use of the forward slash (/) which means "end". When displayed, the text will like this:

This will be in large font.

Tag Attributes

Some tags have attributes that you can assign to them. The font tag has a face, color and size attribute. This allows you to change the type, color and size of your text.

Case Sensitive

HTML is not case sensitive. You can use both uppercase and lowercase when coding pages. However, it is recommended that you always use lower case for HTML and file names used on the web.

Text Editors

A text editor is simple text editing program that does not have the advanced features of a word processing program. You type your text and add the tags to tell browsers how to display your pages. When creating HTML documents with text editors, precision counts. You have to know exactly which tags to use and how and where to place them. Creating HTML documents in a text editors allows you more freedom in defining exactly how your pages display in a browser.

HTML Editors

You can purchase programs called WYSIWIGs - What You See Is What You Get - that allow you to create pages visually. You place your text and images as you want them on the page. The program enters the tags for you "behind the scenes". This means that you do not have to memorize tags. However, HTML editors do not allow you to have as much control over your documents.

Layout    Creating HTML Documents


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Updated December 2004