What is HTML?

If you are thinking of designing your own Web page, chances are that you have encountered the term HTML and wondered what it is as well as whether you need to understand it to design your website. HTML refers to hypertext markup language and in many ways, it truly is much like any other language. The exception that sets HTML apart from languages such as English or Spanish, is that is designed to provide instructions to browsers. With HTML, it is possible to create pages that can then be sent via email or posted online. HTML is the code that makes it possible for you to view Web pages in your browser.


When you open a Web page, you usually see a variety of different elements, including text, photos, tables and perhaps even videos. You also likely see an array of colors, fonts, and styles of text, such as italics or bolded text. Each of the design elements that you see on a Web page is designed with HTML and tagged using specific codes. These codes provide instructions to the browser regarding how each element should be displayed. The tags also provide formatting and layout information to ensure that the Web page will appear just as the designer intended.

If you are a novice designer and are not familiar with HTML, it is still possible to create stunning websites. There are many programs and websites that can assist you with writing in HTML code even if you are not proficient in it. One such option is iPage. With iPage, you gain the ability to use a drag-and-drop editor that does not require a lot of HTML knowledge. As a result, you can create the website you want with professional looking results even if you have never designed a page with HTML.

What Is Involved in HTML?

HTML coding is typically structured similarly to a tree. This means that each tag is nested. Generally, each formatting element begins with a start tag as well as an end tag. Tags should never overlap. Designers create a tag that begins and ends with angle brackets placed before the text to be formatted. Code, which is typically comprised of letters, words, numbers, or symbols, is placed inside the angle brackets to indicate the elements or attributes that the content should possess. Such attributes might include font, size, or other types of characteristics. To end the formatting, the designer types an opening angle bracket, a backslash, the element code and then ends the bracket. For example, the HTML code to make text bold is indicated with the letter b. So, you could use opening tags and the letter b to create: <b>This sentence is bold</b>

In nested HTML, the HTML tag is used to describe to communicate to the browser that the document is HTML. As the opening tag, the HTML tag is what kicks off your page and informs the browser that everything beginning with that tag and ending with the HTML tag is to be an HTML document. Everything that appears between the opening and closing body tags is what will actually appear in your browser window. This is the main body of your document.

Different Types of Codes

A variety of codes exist to allow designers to create different types of text formatting, such as tables, italics, paragraphs and even hyperlinks for pages. For example, you can use opening and closing tags and the letter p to begin and end paragraphs. Tags can also be used for creating bulleted lists. Certain types of codes can also be used for creating symbols and punctuation marks that need to appear within text.

Writing Your Own HTML

Many people first decide to learn HTML because they want to maintain more control over the design of their pages and avoid the need to pay someone else to do it or purchase software. With a text program such as Notepad, it is possible to write and save your own files and then view them in a browser. In order to do this, you will need to have some understanding of the various codes used in HTML.

Additionally, in working with a text program, it is important to understand that it does not function in the same way that a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Word functions. For this reason, it often takes some time to become accustomed to working with a text program for writing HTML.

It is not uncommon for individuals who are new to HTML to become frustrated when they attempt to view the page they designed and discover that it does not look the way they intended. Such problems can occur when errors are made in the code. All it takes is using the wrong code attribute or forgetting to open or close an element and your page will not function correctly. HTML tags are vital to the website functioning properly. In many ways, they work like an on and off switch. You must open the attribute in order to turn it on and you must close it in order to turn it off. When you open a tag, everything inside that tag will take on the characteristic of the relevant tag descriptor and will remain so until the tag is turned off or closed.

One of the ways in which many people become familiar with HTML is by viewing the source code for existing pages. This can be done by visiting a Web page and the clicking View and then Source. This will allow you to see the code that was used to create the Web page you are viewing. The only way to really become familiar with HTML, much like any other language, is to spend some time working with it and practicing it. Over time, you will become fluent with it and develop a greater understanding of how HTML behaves.

HTML is often viewed as being complex, particularly so by individuals who do not consider themselves to be technically inclined. While HTML is actually quite a simple language when it comes to computer languages, the good news is that there are options available to assist you in creating beautiful, custom-designed Web pages even if you are new to HTML.

Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014