HyperText Markup Language, commonly abbreviated as HTML, is the standard markup language used to create web pages. Along with CSS, and JavaScript, HTML is a cornerstone technology used to create web pages, as well as to create user interfaces for mobile and web applications.


HTML files control the content and structure of a web page. These files are text files that gets interpreted by a web browser (such as Safari, Chrome, and Firefox). For example, when you surf the web in your daily life and open a new web page, your browser pulls an HTML text file down from a server, interprets it, and then renders (draws) the resulting web page on the screen (according to the instructions in the HTML file).

Source: https://goo.gl/bTo3n0

As you begin writing your own HTML files, keep in mind that what you're really doing is writing browser instructions in one of the languages (HTML) a browser can understand. Therefore, you have to understand the rules and vocabulary of the language in order to create effective HTML browser instructions (files). In many ways, learning HTML is a lot like learning any other language, and is best learned "in context," and through practice – much like many language immersion programs (Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.) are taught.

Learning HTML requires three main kinds of knowledge:

  1. An understanding of the general rules for using the language, including understanding how to use tags, attributes, values, and content (text and/or nested HTML tags) correctly. Think of these skills as HTML grammar.
  2. An understanding of some of the core tags of the language, and what they do. Think of these skills as HTML vocabulary
  3. Finally, an understanding of how to seek out and effectively use information and resources

How to Use This Chapter

This chapter will help you to develop the three kinds of knowledge listed above (grammar, vocabulary, and using online resources). The first section reviews HTML grammar rules, which are presented as 10 Rules of Thumb.

After reviewing these grammar rules, please review the 7 sub-sections within this chapter, which cover some of the most common HTML tags, or HTML vocabulary:

Each of the HTML tag pages includes an interactive code sample that you are welcome to manipulate and incorporate into your own HTML files. Finally, at the end of each page, will be a list of additional resources that will help you get oriented with the larger web design and development community.

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