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What is HTML?

Updated on December 5, 2016

Understand the basics of HTML in ten easy steps

I've published a HTML Tutorial for those who are feeling adventurous. And it's actually quite easy!

Hypertext Markup Language

HTML is an acronym of Hyper Text Markup Language.

If you were to look at a page of HTML source code (pages which use the file extension .html or .htm), even if you are unfamiliar with HTML, you should be able to recognize the text (content) of the page within the 'code'. The code is simply a means of 'marking up' the text, to denote its font type, colour and other formatting attributes, as well as hyperlinks (links to other webpages).

The more you become familiar with the 'raw code' the easier it is to see how simple this programming language actually is.

There are certain bits of HTML code which create the afore mentioned hyperlinks as well as create lists, embed images, make headings and other objects.

This code, which are just tags, is easily recognizable by the angle brackets which surrounds the command, for instance: <b>

<b> is used to tell the web browser "make this text bold". When you want to stop the bolding, you use the tag </b>.

The / tells it to 'turn off' or 'switch off' the command.

Italics are made with the <i>. So <i>italics</i> looks like italics.

Building a webpage at HubPages doesn't require a person to have any knowledge of HTML, as the tools to format text and create hyperlinks are contained within the Text Capsule. To some degree the webpage publishing site Squidoo is much the same, but some extra Basic HTML can be utilized for a few extra custom effects.

HTML isn't hard to learn, the easiest way to do so is to use a simple HTML editing program, such as Dreamweaver, and when creating pages take the time to view the source code and see what happens after you've used each function of the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Doing it that way is a very gentle learning curve and you'll be surprised just how much you'll learn without much effort at all.

This is how I learned HTML (in 1997), though the HTML editor I used was Netscape Composer, a free editor that was activated by clicking on an icon located in the bottom right hand of the browser. Using the HTML editor alone I went from accidentally clicking on the icon to uploading my first webpage to GeoCities within an hour. Though it wasn't much to brag about. It would take many more months of playing around and finding out how to get rid of the ghastly thick blue borders around linked images, which could only be done by putting in border='0' in the HTML. Tables were routinely broken through the exclusive use of the editor, so once again I had to dig into the HTML to fix it up.

But it would prove to be a great training ground, one which would see me teach HTML and using programs like Macromedia Dreamweaver to TAFE (college) students and also contracting to a company that trained office personnel, particularly in the mining industry. Teaching them how to create pages on their intranet sites for building a simple document control system.

Understanding HTML is probably the first thing you'll need to master before trying to tackle any of the more complicated programming languages, such as PHP, JSP, ASP. While I don't quite understand PHP, my familiarity with HTML has seen me successful in hacking in missing or buggy code from templates for the likes of Wordpress, phpBB and other applications.

So if you ever wanted to learn a second language, and one that might be more useful than German or French, consider HTML, and release your inner geek.

Your first HTML tutorial!

Ten of the easiest steps you'll ever have to take in learning HTML for the first time.


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    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 

      9 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      There is nothing geekish about the wisdom you have darkside. I have found your input to be 100%. I have learnt so much in such a short period of time from you. Thank you

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Nice &amp; simply put!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      "So if you ever wanted to learn a second language, and one that might be more useful than German or French, consider HTML, and release your inner geek."

      You release your inner geek perfectly.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      I may have to demonstrate the lesson I used to do in class which shows how easy (and some said fun) HTML is.

      Stay tuned for an update!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hey Darky, thanks so much for this hub. You have peeled the scales from my eyes and now there is light. I have always wondered how it all happens and now I know. Thank you, thank you!

    • Hawkesdream profile image


      9 years ago from Cornwall

      Have struggled with the concept of html, thinking it was really difficult, you say it is quite easy, maybe giving it a go will dispel the myth.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      LOL @ hatemail.

      HTML was apparently the 'word' that inspired the naming of HoTMaiL.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      HTML -- can't help it, every time I see it I pronounce it "hatemail."


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