Hypertext Markup Language

Description: Hypertext markup language - or HTML - is probably one of the most widely known languages in the world of web development today.

Hypertext markup language (HTML) is a language that allows us to set out a web page in exactly the way we want it to appear. HTML can predominantly be identified by its tags, which underpin every aspect of this language.

If you don't know anything about HTML and look at an HTML document you would be forgiven for going pale to begin with. It can look complicated but in actual fact it is a very logical language and is therefore quite easy to pick up. In fact, a lot of people find that they can teach themselves the bare bones of HTML quite happily - even if they have no prior knowledge of it and have never had any experience of designing web pages before.

HTML is built around the use of tags. There are lots of different types of tags which all have a different purpose. The meanings of most of them are obvious as each one begins with the initial letter of the function it needs to perform.

So for example, if you wanted to put the following word in italics - language - you would use the HTML like this:

<i>language</i>

The great thing about HTML is that you can write your document first, and then put the tags in afterwards. This allows you to concentrate on what you want to say before deciding on how you want it to look when it appears on the web page.

All tags start and end in the same way. An opening tag will contain the letter or command you are using, surrounded by the < and > symbols. A closing tag will be very similar, with the addition of a forward slash to indicate the end of that particular command. In this case it will start with </ and end with >.

Put simply every piece of information on your page will be enclosed with tags of some kind. Titles use title tags - <title> and </title> - paragraphs use paragraph tags - <p> and </p> - and any special commands (such as wanting a particular word to appear in bold for example) will use their own unique tags - such as <b> and </b> - around the word or words in question.

The beauty of HTML is that most people can pick up the basic elements very quickly. The more advanced HTML commands can be learned as and when needed.

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