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What is HTML?


9th January 2014

Let's explain HTML real simply.

The fancy pants bit is that HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, which doesn't really matter, because no one really calls it that. Probably most people who know what HTML is, don't even know what it stands for.

What is HTML, a simple example here.

HTML is like the building block of the web.

In the same way that you need bricks to build a house, you need HTML to build a website.

"I want to understand more"

Ok. Look at this;

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed risus at odio aliquet blandit. Cras placerat vel augue non imperdiet. Aliquam adipiscing ligula a ipsum tempus, non consectetur lorem lacinia. Curabitur id turpis non est pellentesque venenatis. Cras blandit mi ac pharetra vestibulum. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nam tristique ut diam vitae bibendum. Cras non consectetur nisl. Quisque ac nunc quis velit sodales lacinia.

You don't know what it means (because it doesn't mean anything), but you know that it's a paragraph of text.

Computers aren't as clever as you, so we need HTML to tell your browser (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or whatever browser you are using) that the paragraph is a paragraph.

. . . and that's where HTML comes in

"How does it work?"

Well HTML is probably the most simple of all computer languages.

<p>This is a paragraph.</p>

. . . which would appear like this on your browser:

This is a paragraph.

You may have guessed it already, but all of the paragraphs of text on this page are written in the same way. And if you don't believe me, right click and click 'View Source' to see the code.

"More examples!"

Okay. Let's look at how to do a main heading, a paragraph, and then a list. The list we're going to use is an ORDERED list, which means that instead of bullet points, each list item will be numbered.

<h1>This is the main heading</h1><p>This is a paragraph.</p> <ol> <li>This is the first list item</li> <li>This is the second list item</li> <li>This is the third list item</li> </ol>

And this is how it would look on screen:

This is the main heading

This is a paragraph.

  1. This is the first list item
  2. This is the second list item
  3. This is the third list item

"I wanna learn more!"

While you are more than welcome to ask specific questions in the comments on this page, or indeed use any of the Social Media to contact Zonua, I would strongly recommend w3schools.com. At w3schools.com, you can learn and practice HTML. It's a great FREE service.

If you want to know more, just leave a comment, otherwise, please use the share buttons to spread the knowledge!

Dorcas RĂ©amonn

Hi, I'm Dorcas. I make websites. I lecture in Digital Marketing and related stuff in the UCD Smurfit School, and also work with the UCD Innovation Academy. I love education, learning and all things creative, which could cover anything from coding to filmography to dancing! I take photos (personal Insta @dorcasz). I do consultancy. I do talks. I've written popular books on WordPress (available here and and here. Visit my personal site here.

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