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Introduction to HTML
By Virtual Mechanics
An Introduction to HTML 101. OK this is pretty basic. Many of you probably know more HTML than I. If so, please feel free to skip this topic.

A few of you know little or no HTML. Despite the convenience of using Drag and Drop Editors, I can assure you that at some time you will be confronted with the desire to use some HTML directly. It may be that you want to add a nifty site counter that was supplied in HTML form. Maybe you found a site that lets you create a Top 10 list but you must do it using HTML. Whenever the need, knowledge of a little HTML will take you a long way.

The good news is that HTML is quite easy to learn and use. The hardest part in fact is the name HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) which was probably coined by the same people that brought you such cryptic fair as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and URL (Universal Resource Locator) amongst many others.

Here is your first Web Page

I can add as much text as I want to here.


If you take this text and save it in a file with a ".htm" or ".html" extension then post it to your web site, you will see a very valid Web Page.

So how does this work? You will notice three word pairs surrounded by less than "<" and greater than brackets ">" The brackets are an instruction to the Browser to interpret the text inside as a command. Most commands (referred to as "tags") have a start and stop instruction. The stop instruction is the tag preceded with a backslash "/". HTML tags are always "interpreted" by the browser and are never displayed.

Every HTML document should start with the <HTML> tag and end with the </HTML> end tag. This is only natural since it tells the Browser that a HTML page is starting and when it is ending. Everything in-between should consequently be interpreted as HTML (unless instructed otherwise).

The two other commands that are basic to every HTML document are the <HEAD></HEAD> and <BODY> </BODY> tags. The <HEAD> tag always comes first and tells the browser that document "header" information is being entered. Header information can include the title, author, copyright-notice and search engine Meta tags
amongst many others.

Following the </HEAD> terminating tag, the <BODY> tag tells the browser that the following information is to be displayed. In the figure 1 example, only the text "I can add as much text as I want to here" is displayed on the page. There is no limit to how much text you enter. If you want to enter the entire text of "War and Peace"
you can (provided you have permission). When finished, you use the </BODY> tag.

Pretty simple. The browser will by default automatically format your text so that it fits the width of each viewer's computer screen and extend the vertical scroll bar so that the viewer can see the entire page.

If you do enter "War and Peace" you will quickly notice that your web page does not conform to good Page Layout conventions even though you may have thought you entered them. This is because your Browser will ignore your text document conventions such as bolding, paragraph separators and text formatting. You are going to have to enter HTML tags directly into the document to do this.

HTML provides many basic text and paragraph formatting tags. These are usually entered directly into the body of your text and interpreted where found. To bold a section of text you would use the <B></B> tags.

Here is an example of a web page that includes heading information we have discussed in past issues and some basic text and paragraph formatting:

<TITLE>My first Web Page</TITLE>
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="An HTML example">
<META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="HTML, example">

This text will be displayed in the browser's default format. Tags are available to display <B>bold text</B>, <I>italic text</I> and <U>underline text</U> amongst many others. I can also use these tags at the same time if I want to display <B><I><U>bold italicized and underlined text at the same time</U></I></B>.
You must use a paragraph tag to separate paragraphs since blank lines are ignored.
A new line without a paragraph space can be started with the break tag.


You can look at the HTML of any page using the "View Source"
command in your browser to see how the page was constructed.

Source: "IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.

To subscribe send an email to or visit for subscription information and a list of past articles.

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