Don’t skip this step.
We know. When you see words like “code,” mysterious acronyms like “HTML” or phrases like “Hypertext Markup Language,” your brain starts to buzz, little red warning flags start to wave and you turn away saying, “Yeeee … not interested.”
It’s a natural reaction if you’re poking into new territory. But you’ll be surprised how easy it is to sort out and understand high-tech alphabet soup with a little plain talk and clear explanation.
Even if you’ve decided to let a pro take over your business Web site design, you’ll have more control over the look, content and function of your site with a basic knowledge of HTML.
In this step, we’ll look at HTML basics in three parts:
- What is Hypertext Markup Language?
- How Does It Work?
- Understanding HTML Tools
What is Hypertext Markup Language?
Yes, it’s a new language to learn. But HTML has been the basic framework of all Web design for as long as it’s existed, largely because it’s easy to understand.
It’s just words. Plain text, common words mixed with some special but simple “punctuation” marks.
You may be surprised to learn that every Web page, no matter how many slick tricks and graphics it has, is built on nothing but text. It’s like that old wizard behind the curtain: You don’t see him – unless you know where to look.
Go to a Web page you like and right-click your mouse on an empty space. When a menu appears, look for “View Source” or “View Page Source” and left-click it.
A new screen appears, filled with plain English text and familiar punctuation marks – but arranged in a different way. (If it’s one long unbroken block of gobbledygook, pick another page. Whoever wrote the code didn’t bother to break the text into lines and sections for easy reading.)
This is HTML and it controls everything on that page – every sentence, every graphic, every link and form, every sound, all of it. Your Web browser reads this text and translates it into the visual, functional Web page.
It’s as user-friendly as code gets, and you don’t need anything more than a word processor or simple text editor – like Notepad – to write or manipulate it. And it works on any kind of computer with any operating system.