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INTRODUCTION


HTML is a fairly easy-to-understand language that allows people to create interactive pages containing text and images. It also allows people a certain degree of control over how those words and images will appear.

The main way that you can control the appearance of your page is with the use of "tags." Tags are simply words inside brackets that tell your computer what to do. Usually, tags come in pairs - one tag at the start of an area you'd like to change, and another at the end. For example, a common tag is the bold tag, which looks like this:

<B>

It is placed before the first word that you want to appear in boldface, and its partner, which looks like this:

</B>

is placed after the last word you want to appear in boldface. You'll notice that the tag that ends the bold feature is the same as the tage that starts it, except for the inclusion of the slash mark. This is a fundamental concept in HTML, and it holds true for almost every tag.

I think that pictures speak much more loudly than words when explaining HTML, so I try to show you a sample of every concept as you learn it (in fact, sometimes the sample is all you'll see, if the concept doesn't need much explaining). Let's say I want to make the word "world" bold in this sample. The HTML would look like this:

The best guy in the whole <B>world</B> is Pat.

That sample would look like this:

The best guy in the whole world is Pat.



Some tags don't come in pairs, such as the line break tag. It is placed everywhere that you want to start a new line of text, or to add a new image down the page. Without line breaks, the computer simply prints everything from left to right, and when it reaches the edge of the page, it continues on the next line. With line breaks, you can force the computer to start fresh on a new line when you want to.

The tag looks like this:

<BR>

Let's say I'm creating a web page using HTML, and I want four sentences to line up over each other. If I were just using a word processor, I would hit the {ENTER} key at the end of each sentence, and I would then automatically be typing on the next line. That doesn't work in HTML, though - instead of hitting {ENTER}, I have to include the <BR> code.

Still confused? Here is a sample that I've written in the "Text Alignment" page of this primer - see if this helps make things clearer.

WHAT YOU TYPE HOW IT IS PRINTED
This is sentence one.
This is sentence two.
This is sentence three.
This is sentence four.
This is sentence one. This is sentence two. This is sentence three. This is sentence four.
And here's another sample that shows what happens when you use the <BR> tag to break up the lines:
This is sentence one.<BR>
This is sentence two.<BR>
This is sentence three.<BR>
This is sentence four.
This is sentence one.
This is sentence two.
This is sentence three.
This is sentence four.


That's HTML in a nutshell. The rest of the pages included in this primer all follow the same format as you just saw in that table. What you type (the "HTML Code") is shown on the left, with the tags highlighted in navy blue. How it is printed (the "Appearance") is shown on the right. Most pages also have a few paragraphs at the bottom to explain what's happening in the examples.

Here's the bold lesson I showed you before, but now it's in table format (the same way you'll see it on the "Text Appearance" page of this primer):

HTML CODE APPEARANCE
Sample Text - Normal Sample Text - Normal
<B>Sample Text - Bold</B> Sample Text - Bold
<I>Sample Text - Italicized</I> Sample Text - Italicized

When you're done looking at a page, you can always get back to the main page and the table of contents by clicking on the words "
Back to Main HTML Page" at either the top or the bottom of each screen.

I hope you find this useful as you learn HTML, and that you continue to use it as a reference as you progress. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail me at: Steve.Anisman@vtmednet.org.

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