What's HTML ?

HTML is the original language of the Internet that made WWW (World Wide Web) together with the Internet as ubiquitous as it is today. It's an acronym for Hyper Text Mark-Up Language and is still the predominant mark-up language for web pages today. It's very simple and straight-forward to use once you get familiar with it. It's what makes simple text become a web page!

The purpose of this article is not to discuss the very technical nature of HTML, but to provide you an inspirational glimpse of what you can accomplish with HTML to create your very first web page! The image above presents HTML in its basic form. Simple text content is labeled (marked-up) denoting what kind of element the text content should be and how it will be rendered by a compliant HTML web browser. You may denote a text content to be a heading, paragraph, list, table or link for example simply by labeling it at its beginning and end with a tag. That's all that is to it, a process of applying the appropriate mark-up!

Don't let the image above scare you by thinking that it's a programmer's coding nightmare. It's not! If you take a closer look, it's nothing but tags enclosed in angular brackets < and >. Enclosed within these angular brackets is a letter or group of letters that denotes what kind of element it is.

For example, take the letter p. It denotes that it's a paragraph. By tagging the beginning of the text (see image above) voluptatem accusantium do totam rem aperiam eaque (written in Latin) with a "p" enclosed by angular brackets <p> and tagging it again at the end with a "/p" enclosed by angular brackets </p> means that the text is a paragraph element and it should be rendered in a paragraph format by any web browser.

Next, we see the above Latin paragraph is further enclosed in its beginning with <body> and </body> tag denoting that the Latin paragraph is part (or is an element) of body. The body element is a container that holds basically all other elements like the heading, paragraph, list, table or link if you have any more contents like it to include on your webpage.

Another container that comes before the body element is what is known as head. It begins with <head> and ends with </head>. It contains additional information referring to the webpage like title, author, styles and supplementary scripts. Notice also that both the head and body element are together enclosed by a single root element called HTML. It begins with <html> and ends with </html>. It encloses everything with it and declares to a web browser that it is rendering html formatted text. The information above the html tag: DOCTYPE is optional for the time being. It is however an important declaration instructing the web browser on what specific version type of HTML will be used in accordance standards set by W3 consortium -- a standards body for the use of HTML.

HTML is basically a container containing other elements which are tagged (marked-up) according how it should be rendered by a HTML compliant web browser. And that is HTML in a nutshell!

Essential Links You Can Use
For Further Self Study

The article above gives you an inspirational glimpse of the simplicity of HTML – a special text document which is the webpage itself. When these individual WebPages are linked to each other by hyperlinks, we now call them a website. There are many available software that can help you prepare a complete website but nothing will beat the flexibility and creativity of using your skill together with simple HTML in preparing your own WebPages and website altogether.

So if you are ready to take a serious plunge into HTML authoring, we suggest you follow (click) the links below. The Internet is by far still the best source of free information and knowledge base!

Introduction to HTML Writing
This is a short introductory course in writing HTML as presented by Dave Raggett. Dave is one of original member of the World Wide Web (WC3) Consortium Technical Working Group on HTML Standards and currently the chairman and activity lead of the W3C Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group.
Advanced HTML Concepts
This another short course in HTML writing but on an advance level presented again by Dave Raggett.
W3 Schools
W3schools.com is a Full Web Building Tutorials - All Free! This link brings you directly to its HTML tutorial home. It's not only a tutorial but a comprehensive reference and guide for all HTML elements and tags including various approaches and techniques of applying them in practice. The site also provides a special and helpful online feature for interactive HTML authoring using templates you edit and preview instantly on a dummy webpage. Just click on the example links close to the bottom of each page on the site. It even gives you a ligitimate diploma after completing a course sucessfully!

Good Luck!