What is HTML ?

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the code that is used to structure a web page and its content. For example, content could be structured within a set of paragraphs, a list of bulleted points, or using images and data tables. As the title suggests, this article will give you a basic understanding of HTML and its functions.

Anatomy of an HTML element

Let’s explore this paragraph element a bit further.

The main parts of our element are as follows:

  • The opening tag: This consists of the name of the element (in this case, p), wrapped in opening and closing angle brackets. This states where the element begins or starts to take effect — in this case where the paragraph begins.
  • The closing tag: This is the same as the opening tag, except that it includes a forward slash before the element name. This states where the element ends — in this case where the paragraph ends. Failing to add a closing tag is one of the standard beginner errors and can lead to strange results.
  • The content: This is the content of the element, which in this case, is just text.
  • The element: The opening tag, the closing tag, and the content together comprise the element.

Elements can also have attributes that look like the following:

Attributes contain extra information about the element that you don’t want to appear in the actual content. Here, class is the attribute name and editor-note is the attribute value. The class attribute allows you to give the element a non-unique identifier that can be used to target it (and any other elements with the same class value) with style information and other things.

An attribute should always have the following:

  • A space between it and the element name (or the previous attribute, if the element already has one or more attributes).
  • The attribute name followed by an equal sign.
  • The attribute value wrapped by opening and closing quotation marks.

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