Build a Website: HTML Overview
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is as a set of special computer codes referred to as "tags," which instruct a web browser how to display a web page. Think of it is as a collection of styles (indicated by markup tags) that define the various components of a web page.
All HTML documents are written in plain text (ASCII) format, making them universally readable by different web browsers running on different computer operating systems. HTML tags consist of a left angle bracket (< or "less than" symbol) followed by the name of the tag and closed by a right angle bracket (> or "greater than" symbol). Some HTML tags, like the ones used to indicate a new paragraph <P> or a line break <BR>, stand alone. Most tags however, are paired, with a beginning (or open) and an ending (or close) tag. The ending tags are the same as the beginning tags except that they are preceded by a forward slash (/). A typical pair of tags look like this:
Each tag in a pair is placed around the text or section that you want to define ("mark up") with that tag. For example, if you want to begin a section of your document with a heading like "My First Web Page," you would use one of the six levels (sizes) of headings available in HTML and it would look like this:
<H1>My First Web Page</H1>
Every HTML document needs a title. The <TITLE> tag goes inside the document header and should describe the content of the page. This is especially important if you are going to register your site with search engines. You can have only one title per document and it should be in plain text. In other words, there shouldn't be any tags or strange characters inside the title.
There's a wealth of information on the Internet that explains just about anything you want to know about HTML. A good place to start is the HTML Tutorial.Code Your Own Page
These days, it's completely unnecessary to know HTML in order to create web pages. Word processing programs like Microsoft Word can automatically convert your documents into HTML. But if you're feeling adventurous, why not give it a whirl? All you need is a text editor like Notepad and a web browser.
Compose your HTML pages with your text editor and save it as a text-only file with a .htm extension. Then open the file in your browser to see what it looks like. (Keep in mind that an HTML document may look different when viewed with different browsers.) You can go back to the original HTML file to edit it as often as you like. See for yourself how simple it is.
To download HTML editors and file conversion programs visit Download.com.
Last update: Jan 13, 2010