HTML, an acronym for HyperText Markup Language, is the text-based language in which every website on the Internet is written in.
The man responsible for introducing HTML to the world is Tim Berners-Lee. When Berners-Lee first came up with the concept of HTML in the 1980s, he had meant for it to merely define a structure for web pages into which many types of multimedia documents could be fitted. He had originally intended for these multimedia programs to contain the content of a website, but as it turned out, HTML could be used to hold content too!
What does "HTML" mean?
As you now know, HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. So, what does that mean? Well, first, Hypertext is a type of tool that can link different information together. Within a hypertext document can be links, or hyperlinks. These links can connect to other websites. When the user clicks on the links, they will be directed to a different site. For example, if you clicked here, you would be brought to the Cyber-Club home page. That is an example of a hyperlink.
Markup describes what you are doing. You can type up the information and the article that you want to post on the Internet. However, documents on the Internet are read by different software than that of your word processor. To read the information correctly, this software requires you to "mark up" your document with special notations that will tell the software what to do- for example, where a new paragraph begins, what size the font should be, whether the text should be bold or italicized, etc.
Finally, as HTML is a type of computer language, the L stands for language.
HTML Documents and Tags
HTML documents are what lie behind the pretty webpages that you see throughout the World Wide Web. All the documents contain HTML notations. HTML notations are all pretty straightforward. They all consist of some sort of opening command within brackets, then closing commands, again in brackets, but also with a "/". Take a look at a simple HTML document:
<H1>Welcome to My Webpage!</H1>
Hi! Welcome to my wacky web page! Have fun, look around, but don't forget to <b>sign my guestbook</b>!
You can visit Jenny's page <a href=http://www.jenny.com>here</a>
Now, let's break this up.
The <HTML> and </HTML> tags are always the first and last tags in an HTML document. Why? Because these tags define the beginning and ending of the document's contents. Everything between these tags is capable of being viewed by users on the World Wide Web.
The <HEAD> tag begins the HEAD section of the document. The HEAD section is used to quickly inform users about the website. The </HEAD> closes the HEAD section.
Almost everything has a title- books have titles, magazines have titles, even your mother and father might have a title (Dr., Mrs., Mr., etc.). It makes sense that your web site would have a title too. When you place the title of your website between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags, it will be displayed in the blue bar along the top of your Internet browser. Note that the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags are always found in the HEAD section.
Just as the <HEAD> and </HEAD> introduce and close the HEAD section of an HTML document, the <BODY> and </BODY> tags introduce and close the BODY section of the document. What is the BODY section? Well, the BODY section of a document is the portion of the document that will actually be viewed in the browser window. When the viewer software sees the <BODY> tag, it will know to interpret all of the <HTML> tags until it sees the </BODY> tag.
In an HTML document, there are special tags for headings. Well, <H1> is one of them. You can imagine headings as the bold text along a top of a screen that serves as a title for the rest of the section. The <H1> tag is used when you want a line of big text that will catch the user's eye. There are 5 additional headings, from <H2> to <H6>. The headings get smaller as they go down. Thus, <H6> is smaller than <H5> and <H5> is smaller than <H4>. Any text you place between the <H1> and </H1> tags will be a fairly large size. Then, after the <H1> tag, the font will go back to the original size.
The <P> tag is usually used to indicate new paragraphs. It basically tells the software to skip a line. All of the text written after a <P> tag is skipped down one line.
<B> means bold. The text between a <B> and </B> tag will be in bold print.
<A HREF=" "></A>
Often, you will want to link to other websites from your site. Well, to do that, you use the <A HREF> tag. Say you want to link to Yahoo. First, you will type in the <A HREF> tag, putting in the URL of the website between the parenthesis. Then, say you will put the text you want to contain the link, then the </A> tag. For example, if you wanted to say:
A link to Yahoo is here
You want the here to be the actual link. Then you would write:
A link to Yahoo is
Some other common HTML tags that weren't used in the example:
This works the same way as the <B> tag. You place text you want underlined between the <U> and </U> tags.
<IMG SRC=" ">
Say you want to put a picture into your document. Well, you type in <IMG SRC=" "> wherever you want the picture to be. Inside the parenthesis, you need to place the location of the picture (i.e., the picture's URL).
What we have put into this section is merely intended to familiarize you with HTML and how it basically works. If you are interested in learning this language, then we suggest you check out http://www.htmlgoodies.com. This is a great online HTML tutorial that will take you step by step through the basic fundamentals of HTML. Eventually, you'll learn how to create tables, frames, and other really cool stuff!
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