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HTML: The Beginning

HTML: The Beginning

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, C++, and Ruby are only a select few of the seemingly endless languages used for coding in today’s world. If you have never had experience with it before, it is a daunting task to determine where to start and how to begin. My path began with HTML, the basis of all coding languages that followed. If you are truly interested in learning, start with a firm understanding of this base language, and you will be able to balance the other languages successfully. Initially, it may look like jargon, but like all languages, it takes practice and repetition to truly understand.

HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, was written and developed in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee. Since then, there have been numerous variations on the language, but the idea remains, essentially, the same. It is a markup language that utilizes tags to describe document content with the document being a webpage. It is both a powerful and simplistic language that can define the look of a site.

HTML displays and alters text and images based on usage of elements. These elements have three parts:

  • A starting angle bracket
  • A tag
  • An ending angle bracket

If you want to bold text, for instance, you will need to use the tag ‘b’ since ‘b’ represents ‘bold’. You add it immediately before the section you want affected, and everything after this element will now be in bold. Most of the time, you will only want a select word or phrase altered, so it’s important to include an end tag. The end tag, simply, is the start tag with a slash in front of it (i.e. ‘/b’). This code will only make the text within the start and end bold. Every bit of text within an HTML document must be within a start tag and end tag. The tags are something that can be looked up, but after a while, you will have the more common tags memorized. It is also a good idea to look a list of all HTML compliant tags out there to see what types of alterations are available.

Now that you know how HTML works, you can start teaching yourself through practice. There are many places to practice online as well as countless tutorials showing you advanced techniques. When this is referred to as a language, it is meant in all seriousness. There is grammar and punctuation that must be adhered to in order to makes sure everything runs correctly. If one thing is out of place, any number of errors could occur. This is why practice is so important – you need to learn how to find and fix your own mistakes.

Starting with the building block in any pursuit is essential to success. It not only gives you important knowledge of the origins but also the ability to manipulate it later if a different language needs you to. All other languages add to HTML, and if you do not understand that language, how do you expect to build on it if you don’t know how to use it? HTML is not a hard language nor does it take a long time to learn, but it is an invaluable starting point in learning how to code by teaching you how the media onscreen relates to the words on a notepad and how to alter those things simply. Never forget that in coding, knowledge is power.

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