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Hypertext Markup Language

HTML is a way for you to suggest to other people's computers exactly how to display your webpage.

        "I want my background to be such
        and such color, this image to go
        here, that image to go there,
        I'd like this word to be red,
        those words really big, and one
        of those animated thingies to
        roll across the screen right here, let's make it over there."

Pretty BOSSY huh? Well, by using HTML you can be just like this.

You'll be able to leave little invisible sets of instructions all over your webpage that explain what your page should look like.

How It All Works

A webpage, in it's raw form, is simply a text file ending with the suffix .html or .htm

If you display this file on your computer in it's raw form, you'll see nothing but text interspersed with HTML tags. We're talking no background, no pictures of your cat, no really cool animations, nuthin but text and code. B O R I N G !!!

This text file, in all it's rawness, is often referred to as the "source code" of a webpage.

So how does this boring and dry text file become a webpage with color and life and vitality?

You have a program on your computer that takes these text files, reads them in the raw, interprets the HTML, and displays the document on your monitor in whatever way the file's HTML suggests. This program is called a browser.

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It's All In The Angles

If you look at the source code for any webpage, you'll notice different HTML commands interspersed all through the document. These commands are called TAGS and tell the browser how to display the text, layout, and images of the document.

These tags are easy to recognize because they are always between a lesser than sign and greater than sign, or as I like to call them, Angle Brackets.

<Like This>

The first you should learn is the BOLD tag.
IT's simply the letter "B", sandwiched between two angle brackets and looks like


Tags almost always work in pairs. There are a few exceptions we'll discuss later, but most of the time there is an opening tag and a closing tag. The closing tag for Bold looks like


Notice it's the same as the opening Bold tag except for the /mark. All closing tags are like that. They look the same as the opening tag except for the added slash right after the lesser than sign. Any text placed between the opening and closing Bold tags will look thicker than the rest of the text on the page. Everything after this paragraph is in bold text.

This is NORMAL text.
<B>This is BOLD text</B>

Two more real simple tags are EMPHASIS and BIG.


Are you catching all of this?

One thing I should probably mention at this point is that html tags don't give a hoot if you type them in lowercase or CAPITAL letters or even a mix of big and small letters. Everything inside the angle brackets get's read the same way.

Parts Is Parts

Every Webpage written in HTML has essentially two parts:

The Head     The Body

Now, having told you that, let me tell you about one more tag before going on.


The HTML tag tells your computer that everything between these two tags is an HTML document. You'll always begin your page with the opening HTML tag and end it with the closing HTML tag.

<HEAD>    </HEAD>

The very first part of your document is the Head.This is where you'll put the title that comes up on somebody's navigation bar when they call up your page.

<BODY>    </BODY>

After the Head is the Body. This is the real meat of the page. It's where all your visible text will be, and all your images and links too. Don't forget to put a body in your Homepage!

The Skeleton

Here is the HTML for a VERY simple webpage. See if you can figure it out using what You've learned so far.

Whoa!!!This is like so <EM>TOTALLY</EM> Cool. Like I'm writing a WEBPAGE!!!!!

See how these tags fit into each other? And How all the text is between the BODY tags?

Notice also how I began my document and ended it with a pair of HTML tags. Without those, Your computer won't know how to read what it's been handed.

That's enough for Lesson one. Create a simple page for yourself like the one above, Then, come back for Lesson 2.

See you soon!

Practice this lesson's HTML in the

   Home    Lesson Two

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