HTML Is Your Friend/ pg. 1
Welcome, prospective HTML programmer! I hope this book will answer your question about this relatively simple programming language. However, if the explanations get to be too confusing, please just bear with it. Hopefully, I will have made learning HTML to be the least painful experience as possible. This book was designed to give you, the reader, a short lesson on how to produce the desired effect in your webpage; however, I do include a conceptual base for HTML. So I go to great pains to explain things as simply and slowly as possible. Since this is the text-only version, there are some features missing that would have appeared in the graphical version.
On a technical note, I have decided to teach you about HTML version 4.0, but not the complete language. Why? Well, some things in HTML 4.0 are just not commonly used, depreciated (outdated) or just not part of the standard. But this book is still quite comprehensive. And I'll tell you when I left anything out from the whole HTML 4.0 standard. But if you want to see the official documentation, I heartily suggest you go to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) website.
Shall we begin?
In the first place, what exactly is HTML? Well, HTML is another rather useless computer industry acronym, which stands for Hyper-text Markup Language. "Hypertext"? "Markup Language"? Well, to answer these questions, allow me to shortly digress to the humble origins of this wonderful language.
HTML was first devised by a physicist, Dr. Tim Berners-Lee, who was annoyed at the first primitive Internet he accessed while woking at CERN. There were few standard protocols, which made navigation very difficult. Berners-Lee therefore devised this relatively simple language, which could be read by a program called a browser on any platform, anywhere that was connected to the Internet. According to legend, Berners-Lee had too much stuff that he had to track, so he devised of the hyperlink; that's an object that when triggered (clicked on) loads up another document. You saw something like that in this book's virtual table of contents. Usually, hyperlinks, or "links", are words that are set off from regular text by a color and/or a underline; they can be other things. You'll find out soon enough in Chapter 4: Hyperlinks and Anchors.
You thought I was going to forget about the "Markup" part, weren't you. I would never do something like that. Well, "Markup" is fairly self-explanatory. HTML allows you, the programmer, to "mark-up" your page, so it looks like whatever you imagine. You want that image where? No problem. The text is the wrong font? HTML can fix that. In essence, HTML is not a true programming language. There are no loops, or variables, or subroutines. All HTML can do is tell the browser where to put everything. But it does a darned good job. And don't worry if you didn't understand some of the things I said. You will get the hang of HTML quickly in the following chapters.