Basic HTML: A review

In class, we'll be working with BBEdit Lite (but we could also use TextEditor, which is on the Macs). On a PC, you can use Notepad, which is part of the basic computer package. Any word processing program will do. If you're not working with a program designed to turn out Web coding, though, be sure to save your work as a text file (plain; no formatting) with an html extension.

NOTE: BBEdit Lite is no longer being made or supported, but it is still available for free download. It has been replaced by TextWrangler, which is also free. The full BBEdit is still in production, but it is for sale, not free distribution.

Here is pretty much the least of what you need to code a page in html:

<html>
<head>
<title>
The title goes here -- remember that it will show up in the browser bar, not on the page.
</title>
</head>
<body bgcolor="FFFFFF" text="666666">
<p>This is where the content goes. The hexadecimal codes above give you a dark-gray text on a white background. To change those colors, change the codes.</p>
</body>
</html>

Notice that the tags (the information enclosed in angle brackets) used above travel in pairs:
<html> </html>
<title> </title>
<head> </head>
<body> </body>
<p> </p>

Not all tags need to open and close. The line-break tag (<br>) may stand alone, for example. That creates a single-line return instead of the double-line space of the paragraph tag (<p>). Previously, the <p> tag could stand alone. With the creation of xhtml (the language that makes code readable on portable devices), however, the close tag </p> is required. Xhtml also requires that all coding be done in lower case.

Of course, what you've just produced is a very dull page with three sentences on it. To create variety, you need to use such things as headline tags (<h1> </h1>), assigning values between 1 and 7 with 1 being the largest, or <font> tags, or format tags such as <b> (bold) or <i> (italic). You might want to include a horizontal line (rule) with the <hr> code. Consult our handout, the links I've provided or any compilation of html codes.

Continue on to Formatting the Basic News Story