An Introduction to HTML – Learning the Basics

Understanding HTML

Anyone who is considering creating their own website will need to learn at least some basic HTML coding. There are many tools available that can help you design and create your own website, but without a good understanding of at least some basic HTML, even a basic webpage can quickly get out of hand. Understanding web page layout and the underlying HTML codes that make it work will greatly benefit you in modifying and maintaining your web pages.

So, What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Simply put, it is a grouping of codes, known as Markup Tags, that are used to compose a web page. These codes instruct your web browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, Firefox, etc.) how to display the contents of your web page in the browser window. HTML files must have a file extension of .htm or .html to function properly, and can be created and edited with any standard text editor. Web design tools make this task easier by letting you design your page in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, while it creates and assembles the underlying HTML codes for you.

Markup Tags and Document Structure

Markup tags are simply the HTML codes that instruct your web browser how to display the contents of your web page. Tags usually come in pairs with an opening tag and a closing tag, and are enclosed with the ” ” characters, called angle brackets. Closing tags also have a forward slash ” / ” preceding the tag to mark it as a closing tag. Now, let’s look at some basic tags that should be including in every web page.

Document Tags

Document tags are used to define the structure of your HTML document. There are four basic document tags described below, and they should always be included in every web page you create.

Note: For proper formatting of this article I have removed the angle brackets that surround all HTML tags. Be sure to add the angle brackets when using these tags.

html and /html

The html tag is used to tell the browser that everything between the opening html tag and the closing /html tag is an html document. Every web page should begin and end with these tags.

head and /head

HTML pages normally have a “head” and a “body.” The head will typically contain descriptive information about your web page, such as it’s title and author.

title and /title

Every HTML file should have a title enclosed in title tags. This title will usually show up on the title bar of your web browser when the page is displayed, and should include a short description of the page that is being displayed. The title tags should be included within the “head” of your HTML document.

body and /body

The body and /body tags are used to enclose the main content of your web page. This is where you will place the main content that will display in the web browser window, whether it is text, images, titles, tables, links, or whatever content you include.

HTML Elements

“HTML Elements” is another term you will hear frequently when people speak of web page design. An HTML Element simply consists of an opening tag, content, and a closing tag. For example, a body element might look like this:


This is an example of a body element.


Now that you’ve got the basics you should seek out a more comprehensive tutorial or book on HTML coding. The more you learn and understand about HTML, the easier it will be for you to create and maintain interesting and attractive web pages.

Source by Jon Stepp

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