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|Updated||October 1, 2013|
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Welcome to HTML… This is Primer #1 in a series of seven that will calmly introduce you to the very basics of HyperText Mark-up Language. I suggest you take the Primers one at a time over seven days. By the end of the week, you’ll easily know enough to create your own HTML home page. No really. You will. I say that because many people scoff at the notion that they can actually learn this new Internet format. I’m still amazed that the best-selling line of computer books calls its readers “Dummies.” And people seem to revel in that title. Some of the smartest people I know love to proclaim themselves “Dummies” regarding every aspect of computers. Strange. I think you’ll do a whole lot better at your next cocktail party by handing out your home page address rather than laughing about how dumb you are about the Internet. You Can Do This!
Let’s Get Started
I am assuming at the beginning of this tutorial that you know nothing about HTML. I am assuming, however, some computer knowledge. You wouldn’t be looking at this page without having some knowledge. To continue with these Primers, you will need…
A computer (obviously)
A browser like Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or Opera. If you’re looking at this page, you already have one. If you look up at the title bar at the very top of your screen it will probably say the page title (“Basic HTML: Introduction”) and then your browser’s name.
A word processor. If you have access to Windows “Notepad” or “WordPad” programs or the MAC “Simple Text” program, use that to get started.
If you have those three things, you can write HTML with the best of them. Now here are a few questions you probably have:
Q. I have a MAC (or PC) — will this work on my computer?
A. Yes. HTML does not use any specific platform. It works with simple text. More on that in a moment…
Q. Must I be logged onto the Internet to do this? More specifically, will learning this throw my cost for on-line way up?
A. Neither. You will write off-line.
Q. Do I need some sort of expensive program to help me write this?
A. No. You will write using just what I outlined above. You can buy those programs if you’d like, but they’re not needed. I’ve never used one.
Q. Is this going to require I learn a whole new computer language like Basic or Fortran or some other cryptic, God-awful, silly-lookin’, gothic extreme gobbledygook?
A. Touchy-touchy, aren’t we? “No” is the answer. HTML is not a computer language. Allow me to repeat that in bold… HTML is not a computer language!
What is HTML?
H-T-M-L are initials that stand for HyperText Markup Language (computer people love initials and acronyms — you’ll be talking acronyms ASAP). Let me break it down for you: Hyper is the opposite of linear. It used to be that computer programs had to move in a linear fashion. This before this, this before this, and so on. HTML does not hold to that pattern and allows the person viewing the World Wide Web page to go anywhere, any time they want. Text is what you will use. Real, honest to goodness English letters. Mark up is what you will do. You will write in plain English and then mark up what you wrote. More to come on that in the next Primer. Language because they needed something that started with “L” to finish HTML and Hypertext Markup Louie didn’t flow correctly. Because it’s a language, really — but the language is plain English.
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