Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Exploring HTML

If you go up to a random person and say "HTML", they would most likely not know what you mean. HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, makes up the structure of every website. Want an example of HTML? Just go on any website and hit Ctrl-U. Complicated, isn't it? Well, this post just explains the basics.

Unless your website editor, or CMS (content management service) is a really simple drag-and-drop WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, you have to know HTML to create a website. HTML uses markup tags (like <li> and </li> to make a bullet list) to literally mark up web pages.

If you're using a code editor, the first HTML element you'll need is the DocType Declaration (DTD). This is essential for websites since it declares what HTML syntax the page is written in, so the site can easily be indexed by search engines and validated by code validation services. There are quite a few types of DTDs.  
  • The latest version of HTML, HTML5, has the simplest DTD: <!DOCTYPE html>
  • There are many other versions of HTML, but HTML5 is the latest recommendation, and HTML 4.01 is still popular.
  • HTML5's predecessor, HTML 4.01, has a more complex DTD: <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd"> 

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