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HTML Lesson 1


James Adrian

HTML is not a programming language. It does not determine how the hardware of a computer behaves, except in the trivial sense that it determines what a file on the Internet looks like to a visitor of a given page written in HTML or html. HTML is a markup language. It determines whether a link on the page has a color other than black, whether the type style is New Times Roman or something else, whether the size of the letters is big or small or exactly which of many numbered sizes, whether the vertical space between lines is this or that number of screen pixels in size, what the color of text is, how loud a sound file is, how big a picture is, where a video is placed on the page, and determinations of that kind. It is exceedingly simple compared to a programming language. It is called the Hypertext Markup Language.

A few years after the Internet got started, somebody made up a variation of this markup language called Tables. This variation is not simpler or better and is not explained in these lessons.

If you want to know the html code for a given feature you wish your website to have, you can look it up as easily as you can look up any type of information on a search engine with your browser. You can even just ask me. It is a lot easier than learning French or Italian.

HTML5 is the current and final version of html. The first try was pretty good, but not perfect.

The code that you write to create a web page is called the source code and it contains commands that are called tags. These tags are enclosed in angle brackets like these: < > If your code contains a pair of angle brackets and there is something other than blank space between them, they will not be rendered by the server and the visitor to that page will not see the angle brackets or its typed contents.

The pages of these lessons will contain pictures to show tags without calling for their activation as commands. These pictures just show what the tags look like to you as you write the source code. Here is an example:

The picture above shows the five essential items of the source code. They are DOCTYPE, head, /head, body, and /body. The slash indicates the end of the tag (command). There is no /DOCTYPE. To write a rendered web page that can be seen by the web page visitor, other tags must be placed between head and /head and also between body and /body.

The beginning of each rendered paragraph is preceded by p within angle brackets and followed by /p within angle brackets.

Here is a minimal kind of web page:

This is what is rendered as a web page:

My Story

I went to the store and bought a flashlight.

You will occasionally want to make a comment to yourself in the source code. Comments are not shown in the rendered page. The comment delineators are !-- at the start of what is not to be executed and -- at the end of what is not to be executed. The !- which starts the comment is preceded by an angle bracket (<) and the ending -- is followed by a second angle bracket (>).