HTML and Message Boards
Message boards are one of the more interesting parts of using the internet. It gives an opportunity to speak with people from around the world on a subject you are interested in a near real-time format, but slow enough to not overwhelm like a chat room.
HTML stands for HyperText Mark-up Language, and it is the basic language of the internet. It is the source behind most web pages, and any message board that you frequent online will use at least some HTML in developing the board, even if they also use other languages.
It is possible for you to use HTML yourself when posting on a message board. Using HTML in message boards gives you the freedom to make even greater use of your creativity and better write down your thoughts. Including images, links, changing fonts, etc., are all part of message board HTML use.
Not every message board uses HTML, though. Many message boards use their own coding, such as VB code, to allow users to utilize extra functions. However HTML is still the most common code that is used on message boards.
HTML is a programming language. It is a fairly simple one, as programming languages go, but it is a programming language, and it has its own special codes and features that are required for it to work.
When an internet browser reads something written in HTML, the default reading is as text. What this means is, anything you type, when looked at by the browser, will be read as text, just like the text you are reading now.
In order to make a command in HTML, you have to use a special signifier to show the browser that what you are writing is a command, and not just normal text. The signifiers we use in HTML are .
Say, for example, you wanted to bold something. You would use the command . This is called a tag. Any text after this command would be bolded. However, you don’t want everything in your post to be bolded, just a word or two. You have to put a closing tag to stop the browser from reading all of your text as bolded.
A closing tag looks like this: >. It is the same as the opening tag like we used before, with a slash in it. Basically the slash tells the browser to stop reading the code. So if you wanted to bold something, here is how it would look: text to be bolded.
Anytime you type in any command, you will have to put in both an opening tag and a closing tag (except for image tags, we’ll cover this below).
One thing that makes HTML a bit different from other programming languages is the fact that case does not matter when making a command. Usually programming languages require you to use either upper or lower case, but in HTML it doesn’t matter. Typing or will get you the same results.
Altering Text Using HTML
Say that you want to add a little bit of extra emphasis to something in your post. There are a few different things you could do. One is the bold command that we talked about above. It works just like the bold in a word processor like Microsoft Word. Its tag is , as described above.
Another thing you could do is italicize the text. This will put the text into italics, again just like in a word processor. The command for italics is . Remember not to forget the closing tag when you put the text into italics. When your done it should look like this: text in italics.
The third basic text alteration is underline. It also has a simple code: . When you underline text, it will look like this: text to be underlined.
But what if you want to get even more fancy than that? Say you want to change the size of your text, or change the color, or even change the font?
There are two basic commands for changing size, and they are pretty easy to remember. If you want to make text small, you can use the command. If you want to make it big you can use the command. This will make the text one size smaller or one size larger than the text before it or after it, depending.
You can also type in the size of font you want manually. This uses the command.
The command is actually used for several different text alterations. If you want to change the font, change the size or change the color you will use this command. You will add another command inside the tag depending on what you want to change.
We’ll start with size. Say you want to make something big. Very big. You would type in . 7 is the highest font size used in HTML. Generally message boards are going to have size as their default, so 7 is quite a bit larger. You can type in any number between 1 and 7 to change the size of the text.
Next we will do color. It is basically the same as the size command, but instead of size you use color. For example, if you want your text to be blue, you would use the command . You have to put the color that you are changing the text to in quotation marks.
For basic colors you can just type in the word, like red, yellow, blue, etc. However if you want to use different shades, you have to use what we call color codes. These are codes which refer to specific colors, such as dark red, or sky blue. They look like this: #993300. That is the code for dark red. You’ll find the link for an excellent color code listing below.
Lastly is the font. Generally HTML reads things in Times New Roman, but say you wanted to use another font, like Courier or Arial? Then you would use the type command. This would change the font to Arial, rather than Times New Roman.
When you are closing the font tag, regardless of what you’ve changed, you simply type for your closing tag. You don’t need to type or to close it.
Now, if you want to change two or three things about the font at once, you can do it all in the same tag. For example, say you wanted the text to be as large, as well as red. You would type in something like this: . It is one tag but it will give you both changes that you want. And when you want to close the tag, you simply type in and it is done.
One other thing you can do with your text is change where it is located on the page. For example, say you wanted your text centered in the middle of your post, rather than using the normal left alignment. You would use the tag. This would align your text in the center rather than to the left, as if you had changed the alignment in your word processor.
Links are part of what make HTML such a powerful language. If you want the reader to go somewhere else, it is incredibly easy to insert a link that will take them directly where they want to go immediately, just by having them click on it.
In order to put in a link, you use the tag. Here’s an example of how it works:
. You insert the url of the address you want to link to inside quotations, and have it equal the href.
All text that you write after this opening tag is the link. In order to close it you put . You don’t need to put the entire href , just . Everything in between the and the will be your link. It should look like this: this is the link, click here.
If you really want to impress people, you can even make your link open up a new window on their browser. This uses what we call the target command. You would insert target=”new window” after the . Here’s what it would look like if we had the link above open in a new window: this is the link, click here. Clicking this link would make a new window pop up in the viewer’s browser, rather than going to the page in the same window that they are viewing the message board.
The last thing you need to know in order to properly use HTML in message boards is how to put an image in a post. Putting up pictures can make your posts more interesting and entertaining.
In order to put in an image, we use the tag. (IMG stands for image). In order for the image to appear, though, we need to put in source for the image as well. Images you put in message boards must already be on the internet for people to see them, you can’t just put them from your computer.
When you writer your tag, you will also put in src (that stands for source). Like the tag, the src will equal the image you want to put in your post. Here’s an example of what it should look like: . Because you aren’t changing any text here, there is no need for a closing tag. The image will appear, and everything after it will just be text.
If you want to get a little bit fancy, you can even make images into links. To do this, insert the image you’re posting inside the opening and closing link tags. For example, let’s say we wanted to make the image we used above into a link, here is how it would look:
. Here there would be no text link, you would have to click on the image in order to go to the page.
These are the basics of HTML for use in message boards. Using the tags and commands here will allow you to make your posts more interesting and appealing. HTML takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it it comes naturally. In no time you’ll be posting like a professional.