HTML At a Glance | Lesson 1: HTML Tags

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In the early 1990s, the need for an internet-based hypertext markup language (HTML) was born out of a new project called the World Wide Web (W3). In 1991, we saw the first document related to HTML tags which identified the first 22 design elements of HTML. In 1995, HTML 2.0 became the standard by which documents on the internet were based. From there, the internet was born; and the world would never be the same again.

There’s no doubt about it: HTML 2.0 fomented an amazing leap in technology worldwide. Following HTML 2.0’s adoption as a standard, the five-year internet boom of the mid-to-late 1990s helped to create the largest economic expansion in U.S. history. Millions were made wealthy and the unemployment rate was historically low. Indeed, the internet changed our lives in ways we never could have imagined.

But what exactly is HTML, and how is it structured? Let’s take a look.

NOTE: Because this article automatically translates code into HTML, special symbols ? ? are used in place of HTML carats (greater than and lesser than symbols without the underline; see the HTML code tutorial at the bottom of this article). When writing HTML, always use carats.

HTML Tags
The first thing you’ll notice about HTML is its native tag structure. Tags are HTML elements that define an HTML formatting function such as bolding, italicizing, or underlining. Complex HTML tags include bullet lists, tables, images, and URL links. An example of a bold HTML tag is ?b?text?/b?.

Let’s take a closer look at the bold HTML tag ?b?text?/b?. You’ll first notice the carats that surround the tag. The first tag element, ?b?, tells the web page to turn on bolding. Following this command is the text to be bolded, for example headers and emphasized body text. The last tag element, ?/b?, tells the web page to turn off bolding so that the subsequent text is not bolded.

Let’s take a look at another HTML tag: italicizing text. The tag for italics is ?i>text?/i?. Again, you turn on italics with carat i carat, enter text to be italicized, then turn off the italics with carat /i carat.

In effect, the anatomy of an HTML tag is

1) Turn on formatting with opening carats.

2) Type text to be formatted.

3) Turn off formatting with the closing carats.

Other HTML tags include functions to change font types and sizes, hyperlink text and pictures, insert Flash widgets, embed videos, insert graphics, and create advanced formatting features such as backgrounds and custom headers.

If you’re interested in learning more about HTML basics, visit your local library or point your web browser to your favorite search engine and type in the search phrase, “html tutorial.”

Other Resources:
HTML Code Tutorial
Wikipedia Entry on HTML

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