Introduction to HTML

With the knowledge of HTML, you can create websites. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. A markup language is a set of markup tags that describe document content. HTML documents contain HTML tags and plain text. HTML documents are also called web pages.

1. HTML Tags and Element

HTML tags are keywords (tag names) surrounded by angle brackets like <html>. Normally, tags come in pairs - start tag and end tag. The end tag is written like the start tag, with a forward slash (/) before the tag name. Start and end tags are also called opening tags and closing tags.

A pair of tags and the content these include are known as an element.

2. HTML Attributes

Attributes are used to say something about the element that carries them. They always appear on the opening tag of the element that carries them. All attributes are made up of two parts - name and value.

The name is the property of the element that you want to set. The value is what you want the value of the property to be.

  • HTML5 standard does not require lower case attribute names. However, it is recommended to use lower case as it is the most common good coding practice. Lower case is easier to type.
  • HTML5 standard also does not require quotes around attribute values. Again, it is recommended to use double style quotes as it is the most common in HTML.

3. HTML Versions

Version Year
HTML 1991
HTML+ 1993
HTML 2.0 1995
HTML 3.2 1997
HTML 4.01 1999
XHTML 2000
HTML 5 2012

4. Where to write HTML Code

You don't need any special programs to write web pages. You can simply use a text editor such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac, and save your files with the .html file extension.

5. Basic HTML Structure

1. The html Element

Whenever you write a web page in HTML, the whole of the page is contained between the opening <html> and closing </html> tags.

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">


The lang attribute with a value of en, specifies that the document is in English. This attribute is optional.

Inside the <html> element, there are two main parts:

  1. The <head> element: This contains information about the page. For example, it might contain a title and a description of the page, or instructions on where a browser can find CSS rules that explain how the document should look.
  2. The <body> element: This contains the information you actually see in the main browser window.

Together, the <html>, <head>, and <body> elements make up the skeleton of an HTML document - they are the foundation upon which every web page is built.

2. The head Element

The first line inside the head is the one that defines the character encoding for the document. HTML5 improves on this by reducing the character encoding <meta> tag to the bare minimum:

<meta charset="utf-8">

In nearly all cases, utf-8 is the value you will be using in your documents.

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