Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, is the basic language in which all Web sites are created. It isn’t always the only language used, because there are others developed that can co-exist with HTML on the same page to add options HTML does not, but every Web site has its foundation in HTML because this is the language that Web browsers – the tools used to view such pages – understands.
If you happen to use a Web design and management package like the ultra-popular Microsoft FrontPage, understand that FrontPage’s Design mode “protects you”, so to speak, from working with HTML directly, because it permits you to work visually rather than with HTML itself. Thus, you’re freed from having to know how to code everything in HTML because FrontPage supplies the underlying code for what you’re producing visually on the page. This is one of the chief beauties of FrontPage and why it allows people who know virtually nothing about HTML to design superb pages. There’s a drawback, too. FrontPage tries to interpret how you want something to look into valid code. But it doesn’t always “guess” correctly.
However, with knowledge usually comes power, and understanding some HTML can help you in many ways. For example:
• It can aid you in troubleshooting problems with how a page is displaying, perhaps because FrontPage doesn’t quite understand what you’re trying to achieve
• You can add some simple options through HTML that you may find suggested on a Web site design page
• And when you become more proficient, you can use HTML to seriously enhance the functionality and design of your site by adding things that FrontPage itself won’t provide for you, such as scripting routines to handle a particular function
HTML has developed and expanded in many different directions since the introduction in the early 1990s of the World Wide Web, which serves as the graphical component of the Internet. Before HTML and the Web, everything on the net was far less pretty and required visitors to know what they were doing to find what they needed. Thus, the Web has bridged the Internet out to people with no real knowledge of how to use options like message boards, online ordering, downloading files, and more.
Because of this, not even an entire set of tutorials exclusively devoted to HTML could teach you everything there is to know about using HTML. So what this module will do is help you find where you can learn more to begin working with it.
First, appreciate the fact that something called tags are essential to HTML. Tags are contained within right angle brackets. Most Web elements are contained between an opening tag, which could look like this:
to create a paragraph, and a closing tag which might like this one which ends a paragraph.
For example, if you type:
Everything between the first tag and the second tag will be displayed in bold face type. The first tag tells the browser to turn on boldface, while the second, called a closing tag, tells the browser to turn off the bold face.
Believe it or not, one great teaching guide is contained right within FrontPage. Once you’ve designed a page using Design view, try switching to Code view. The HTML behind what you’ve created will appear there. Then switch to Split view, which shows both the Design and Code view together. Look back and forth between the code and the design, and you will begin to see patterns that explain how something was enabled using HTML.
Also, the Web is filled with great sites offering extremely helpful tutorials to let you learn at your own pace. You can find them using any Web search engine. Here’s a list of ones I find particularly good for those new to HTML: