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HTML?

By Seamus Dolly
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Most people using the internet, have seen or heard of HTML. But what is it? Do we need to know?
The simple answer to the second question is "No". Having said that, anyone running a website should "arm" themselves with the basics. Why? Because HTML Editors will not always give you the result that you may have hoped for.

If you can manually insert "code", yourself, then you will have the benefit of the html editors' convenience plus your customised input.
HTML or hypertext mark up language is easy to learn and in my opinion, is logical, and therefore, understandable to anyone of a practical nature. Technically, html is an hypertext authoring language, but there is no great need for anyone to get too concerned or caught up in the technical side, unless you are selling your services on a professional level. My advice to anyone new is to experiment. You will learn in time, so don't be overwhelmed.

HTML editors have a G.U.I. ( graphical user interface ), as indeed your computer has. This GUI, allows you to use the editor in much the same way as you would Microsoft Word. In the case of your computer, the GUI, is the "shell" program, utilising the keyboard and mouse to allow you to easily manipulate your PC.
With the various editors, no knowledge of "coding" is required. Text is typed as normal and the editors introduces the code, indicating font, colour, spacing, paragraphs etc..

What is commonly referred to as a "Browser", is actually an HTML interpreter. Netscape Navigator and Microsofts' Internet Explorer are examples of browsers. If you go to "view", then "source", you will see the code of most webpages. I say this because software can be bought or obtained to "block" such a viewing.
Okay, anything between brackets "" and "", appears to be invisible. Typically, the invisible stuff is colour, font size, margins, tables, frames, meta tags, keywords and other incidental information that is important to the construction of the webpage, but of little interest to the viewer who is primarily interested in the content, and often in the presentation or visual appearance. Colouring of text or background in usually in what is referred to as hexadecimal notation. Hexadecimal or "hex", is a combination of numbers and letters, its' purpose being to shorten the characters. In other words, you need less binary digits, where an alphabetical character is used. Binary is an arrangement of "1" and "0"s, where as hex includes the letters between and including "A" and "F". In conclusion, Binary is base 2, hex. is base 16, and Dinary is base 10. Dinary is what we use, everday, in conventional or basic mathematics.

The meta tags and keywords are relevant to search engines, their "bots" or "spiders". This information is helpful to their indexing processes.
Anchor tags are devises to hyperlink one page to another, one part of a page to another, one page to someone else's, or one image to another and indeed what appears to be an image to someone else's' page. An example of the latter is a banner. There is a special attribute known as the HYPERLINK REFERENCE or href..
If you wanted to link some text to a web address, type the proper url.( uniform remote location ). Use quotes around it.
Example;
A href= "(http://www.example.net/index.html)"/A
You see! None of the above will be visible as it is contained within the brackets as mentioned above. To hyper link text, any text to a website, just do this;
A href= "(http://www.example.net/index.html)"Click here /A
"Click here" is contained within the anchor tag, but not directly within brackets or wickets, and will therefore be visible.
When someone points and clicks on the text "Click me", you can bring them anywhere within the Internet or indeed to an e-mail address.

Originally, Operating systems recognised html files with only three characters in their file extensions, such as htm.. Nowadays, O.S.s' can recognise more characters, such as html.. When you click on a web address, you will be taken to the default page or index.html or index.htm, with other files within the same directory appearing after the forward slash.

Ex. (http://www.examplewebsitename.com/) will direct anyone to a default page of a site of that example name, and
(http://www.examplewebsitename.com/pictures) will, or should, bring anyone to a file within that directory, presumably containing pictures.
Experiment. Its fun and less complicated than it seems. Your PC wont blow up or global commerce wont grind to a halt, due to any misadventure on your behalf.

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