Thread: HTML For Beginners.

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  1. #1 HTML For Beginners. 
    Member PSP User King3vil's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    This HTML Beginner Tutorial assumes that you have no previous knowledge of HTML or CSS. It is a lengthy tutorial but it is very rewarding.

    It should be quite easy to follow if you work through each step, which are all brought together at the end.

    The thing to keep in mind is that HTML and CSS are all about separating the content (HTML) and the presentation (CSS). HTML is nothing more than fancy structured content and the visual formatting of that content will come later when we tackle CSS.

    If you have looked at other HTML tutorials, you might have found that they mention certain things that this one does not. This is because many methods are obsolete, non-standard or just plain bad practice. Getting into the frame of mind of doing things the right way from the start will turn in to much better results in the end.

    Most of the stuff on the web is no different than the stuff on your computer - it's just a whole load of files sorted into a whole load of directories.

    HTML files are nothing more than simple text files, so to start writing in HTML, you need nothing more than a simple text editor.

    Notepad is a common text editor (on Windows this is usually found under the Programs > Accessories menu).

    Type this in to your text editor:

    This is my first web pageNow create a folder called 'html' in your C drive (or anywhere else you fancy) and save the file as "myfirstpage.html". It is important that the extension ".html" is specified - some text editors, such as Notepad, will automatically save it as ".txt" otherwise.

    To look at HTML files, they don't even need to be on the web. Open a web browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer and in the address bar, where you usually type web addresses, type in the location of the file you just saved (for example, "c:\html\myfirstpage.html") and hit return. Alternatively, go to the File menu of the browser, select Open, and browse for the file.

    Pow. There it is. Your first web page. How exciting. And all it took was a few typed words.

    We've said here to use a basic text-editor, such as Notepad, but you may be tempted to use a dedicated software program such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage.

    You should be very careful when using these programs, especially if you are a beginner, because they often throw in unnecessary or non-standard code to "help" you.

    If you're serious about learning HTML, you should read through a tutorial such as this first, so that you at least have a basic understanding of what is going on.

    Software programs such as these will never give you the same control over a web page as coding by hand.

    Although the basics of HTML are plain text, we need a bit more to make it a valid HTML document.

    The basic structure of an HTML document includes tags, which surround content and apply meaning to it.

    Change your document so that it looks like this:

    <DOCTYPE> <body> This is my first web page </body> Now save the document again, go back to the web browser and select "refresh" (which will reload the page).

    The appearance of the page will not have changed at all, but the purpose of HTML is to apply meaning, not presentation, and this example has now defined some fundamental elements of a web page.

    The first line on the top that starts <!DOCTYPE... is to let the browser know that you know what the hell you're doing. You may think that you don't actually know what you're doing yet, but it's important to stick this in. If you don't, browsers will switch into "quirks mode" and act in a very peculiar way. Don't worry about this just yet, you can learn more about "document types" in the HTML Advanced Tutorial if you really want to. For the moment, just remember to shove this line at the top of your web pages and you're laughin'.

    To get back to the point, is the opening tag that kicks things off and tells the browser that everything between that and the closing tag is an HTML document. The stuff between <body> and </body> is the main content of the document that will appear in the browser window.

    Closing tags
    The </body> and close their respective tags. ALL HTML tags should be closed. Although older versions of HTML lazily allowed some tags not to be closed, latest standards require all tags to be closed. This is a good habit to get into anyway.

    Not all tags have closing tags like this () some tags, which do not wrap around content will close themselves. The line-break tag for example, looks like this : <br>. We will come across these examples later. All you need to remember is that all tags must be closed and most (those with content between them) are in the format of opening tag → content → closing tag.

    Tags can also have attributes, which are extra bits of information. Attributes appear inside the opening tag and their value is always inside quotation marks. They look something like <tag>Margarine</tag>. We will come across tags with attributes later.

    Tags tend not to do much more than mark the beginning and end of an element. Elements are the bits that make up web pages. You would say, for example, that everything that is in-between and includes the <body> and </body> tags is the body element. As another example, whereas '<title>' and '</title>' are tags, '<title>Rumple Stiltskin</title>' is a title element.

    All HTML pages should have a page title.

    To add a title to your page, change your code so that it looks like this:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> </head> <body> This is my first web page </body> We have added two new elements here, that start with the head tag and the title tag (and see how both of these close).

    The head element (that which starts with the <head> opening tag and ends with the </head> tag) appears before the body element (starting with <body> and ending with </body>) and contains information about the page. The information in the head element does not appear in the browser window.

    We will see later on that other elements can appear inside the head element, but the most important of them is the title element.

    If you look at this document in the browser (save and refresh as before), you will see that "My first web page" will appear on the title bar of the window (not the actual canvas area). The text that you put in between the title tags has become the title of the document (surprise!). If you were to add this page to your 'favourites' (or 'bookmarks', depending on your browser), you would see that the title is also used there.

    Now that you have the basic structure of an HTML document, you can mess about with the content a bit.

    Go back to your text editor and add another line to your page:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> </head> <body> This is my first web page How exciting </body> Look at the document in your browser.

    You might have expected your document to appear as you typed it, on two lines, but instead you should see something like:

    This is my first web page How exciting.

    This is because web browsers don't usually take any notice of what line your code is on. It also doesn't take any notice of spaces (you would get the same result if you typed "This is my first web page How exciting").

    If you want text to appear on different lines, you need to explicitly state that.

    Change your two lines of content so that they look like this:

    <p>This is my first web page</p> <p>How exciting</p> The p tag is for paragraph.

    Look at the results of this. The two lines will now appear on two lines.

    Think of the HTML content as if it were a book - with paragraphs where appropriate.

    You can emphasise text in a paragraph using em (emphasis) and strong (strong emphasis). These are two ways of doing pretty much the same thing, although traditionally, browsers display em in italics and strong in bold.

    <p>Yes, that <em>is</em> what I said. How <strong>very</strong> exciting.</p> Line breaks
    The line-break tag can also be used to separate lines like this:

    This is my first web page<br> How exciting However, this method is over-used and shouldn't be used if two blocks of text are intended to be separate from one another (because if that's what you want to do you probably want the p tag).

    Note that because there's no content involved with the line-break tag, there is no closing tag and it closes itself with a "/" after the "br".

    The p tag is just the start of text formatting.

    If you have documents with genuine headings, then there are HTML tags specifically designed just for them.

    They are h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 and h6, h1 being the almighty emperor of headings and h6 being the lowest pleb.

    Change your code to the following:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> </head> <body> <h1>My first web page</h1> <h2>What this is</h2> <p>A simple page put together using HTML</p> <h2>Why this is</h2> <p>To learn HTML</p> </body> Note that the h1 tag is only used once - it is supposed to be the main heading of the page and shouldn't be used multiple times.

    h2 to h6 however, can be used as often as you desire, but they should always be used in order, as they were intended. For example, an h4 should be a sub-heading of an h3, which should be a sub-heading of an h2.

    There are three types of list; unordered lists, ordered lists and definition lists. We will look at the first two here:

    Unordered lists and ordered lists work the same way, except that the former is used for non-sequential lists with list items usually preceded by bullets and the latter is for sequential lists, which are normally represented by incremental numbers.

    The ul tag is used to define unordered lists and the ol tag is used to define ordered lists. Inside the lists, the li tag is used to define each list item.

    Change your code to the following:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> </head> <body> <h1>My first web page</h1> <h2>What this is</h2> <p>A simple page put together using HTML</p> <h2>Why this is</h2> <ul> <li>To learn HTML</li> <li>To show off</li> <li>Because I've fallen in love with my computer and want to give her some HTML loving.</li> </ul> </body> If you look at this in your browser, you will see a bulleted list. Simply change the ul tags to ol and you will see that the list will become numbered.

    Lists can also be included in lists to form a structured hierarchy of items.

    Replace the above list code with the following:

    <ul> <li>To learn HTML</li> <li> To show off <ol> <li>To my boss</li> <li>To my friends</li> <li>To my cat</li> <li>To the little talking duck in my brain</li> </ol> </li> <li>Because I've fallen in love with my computer and want to give her some HTML loving.</li> </ul>

    A list within a list. And you could put another list within that. And another within that. And so on and so forth.

    So far you've been making a stand-alone web page, which is all very well and nice, but what makes the internet so special is that it all links together.

    The 'H' and 'T' in 'HTML' stand for 'hypertext', which basically means a system of linked text.

    An anchor tag (a) is used to define a link, but you also need to add something to the anchor tag - the destination of the link.

    Add this to your document:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> </head> <body> <h1>My first web page</h1> <h2>What this is</h2> <p>A simple page put together using HTML</p> <h2>Why this is</h2> <p>To learn HTML</p> <h2>Where to find the tutorial</h2> <p><a>HTML Dog</a></p> </body> The destination of the link is defined in the href attribute of the tag. The link can be absolute, such as "", or it can be relative to the current page.

    So if, for example, you had another file called "flyingmoss.html" then the line of code would simply be <a>The miracle of moss in flight</a> or something like this.

    A link does not have to link to another HTML file, it can link to any file anywhere on the web.

    A link can also send a user to another part of the same page they are on. You can add an id attribute to just about any tag, for example <h2>Moss</h2>, and then link to it by using something like this: <a>Go to moss</a>. Selecting this link will scroll the page straight to the element with that id.

    The a tag allows you to open the link in a newly spawned window, rather than replacing the web page the user is on, which at first thought may sound like a good idea as it doesn't take the user away from your site.

    There are a number of reasons why you shouldn't do this however.

    From a usability point of view, this method breaks navigation. The most commonly used navigation tool on a browser is the "back" button. Opening a new window disables this function.

    On a wider, more general usability point, users do not want new windows to be popping up all over the place. If they want to open a link in a new window then they can choose to do so themselves.

    Things might seem a little bland and boring with all of this text formatting. Of course, the web is not just about text, it is multi-media and the most common form of media is the image.

    The img tag is used to put an image in an HTML document and it looks like this:


    The src attribute tells the browser where to find the image. Like the a tag, this can be absolute, as the above example demonstrates, but is usually relative. For example, if you create your own image and save it as "alienpie.jpg" in a directory called "images" then the code would be <img src="images/alienpie.jpg"...

    The width and height attributes are necessary because if they are excluded, the browser will tend to calculate the size as the image loads, instead of when the page loads, which means that the layout of the document may jump around while the page is loading.

    The alt attribute is the alternative description. This is used for people who cannot or choose not to view images. This is a requirement in the latest versions of HTML.

    Note that, like the br tag, because the img tag does not have a closing tag, it closes itself, ending with "/>"

    The construction of images for the web is a little outside of the remit of this website, but it is worth noting a few things...

    The most commonly used file formats used for images are GIFs and JPEGs. They are both compressed formats, and have very different uses.

    GIFs can have no more than 256 colours, but they maintain the colours of the original image. The lower the number of colours you have in the image, the lower the file size will be.


    JPEGs on the other hand use a mathematical algorithm to compress the image and will distort the original slightly. The lower the compression, the higher the file size, but the clearer the image.


    Images are perhaps the largest files a new web designer will be handling. It is a common mistake to be oblivious to the file size of images, which can be extremely large. Web pages should download as quickly as possible, and if you keep in mind that most people still use modems that download at less than 7Kb a second (realistically it is less than 5Kb), you can see how a large file will greatly slow down the download time of a full page.

    You need to strike a balance between image quality and image size. Most modern image manipulation programs allow you to compress images and the best way to figure out what is best suited for yourself is trial and error.

    Across the worldwide web, HTML tables are used and abused to layout pages. We will come across how to layout a page without tables, in the CSS Tutorial which i should be releasing over the next week. The correct use for tables is to do exactly what you would expect a table to do - to structure tabular data.

    There are a number of tags used in tables, and to fully get to grips with how they work is probably the most difficult area of this HTML Beginners Tutorial.

    Copy the following code into the body of your document and then we will go through what each tag is doing:

    <table> <tr> <td>Row 1, cell 1</td> <td>Row 1, cell 2</td> <td>Row 1, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 2, cell 1</td> <td>Row 2, cell 2</td> <td>Row 2, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 3, cell 1</td> <td>Row 3, cell 2</td> <td>Row 3, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 4, cell 1</td> <td>Row 4, cell 2</td> <td>Row 4, cell 3</td> </tr> </table> The table element defines the table.

    The tr element defines a table row.

    The td element defines a data cell. These must be enclosed in tr tags, as shown above.

    If you imagine a 3x4 table, which is 12 cells, there should be four tr elements to define the rows and three td elements within each of the rows, making a total of 12 td elements.

    Forms can be used to send data across the web and are often used as contact forms to convert information inputted by a user into an email.

    On their own, forms are useless. They need to be hooked up to a program that will process the data inputted by the user. These take all manner of guises and are outside of the remit of this website. If you use an internet service provider to host your HTML, they will be able to help you with this and will probably have clear and simple instructions on how, for example, to make a form-to-email form work.

    The basic tags used in the actual HTML of forms are form, input, textarea, select and option.

    form defines the form and within this tag, there is one required action attribute which tells the form where its contents will be sent to when it is submitted.

    The optional method attribute tells the form how the data in it is going to be sent and it can have the value get (which is default) or post. This is commonly used, and often set to post which hides the information (get latches the information onto the URL).

    So a form element will look something like this:

    <form> </form> The input tag is the daddy of the form world. It can take ten forms, outlined below:

    <input> is a standard textbox. This can also have a value attribute, which sets the initial text in the textbox.
    <input> is similar to the textbox, but the characters typed in by the user will be hidden.
    <input> is a checkbox, which can be toggled on and off by the user. This can also have a checked attribute, which would be used in the format <input>, and makes the initial state of the check box to be switched on, as it were.
    <input> is similar to a checkbox, but the user can only select one radio button in a group. This can also have a checked attribute, used in the same way as the checkbox.
    <input> is an area that shows the files on your computer, like you see when you open or save a document in most programs, and is used to enable users to upload files.
    <input> is a button that when selected will submit the form. You can control the text that appears on the submit button (as you can with button and reset types - see below) with the value attribute, for example <input>.
    <input> is an image that will submit the coordinates of where the user clicked on it. This also requires a src attribute, like the img tag.
    <input> is a button that will not do anything without extra code added.
    <input> is a button that when selected will reset the form fields to their default values.
    <input> is a field that will not be displayed and is used to pass information such as the page name that the user is on or the email address that the form should be posted to.
    Note that the input tag closes itself with a "/>" at the end.

    A textarea is, basically, a large textbox. It requires a rows and cols attribute and is used like this:

    <textarea>A big load of text here</textarea>

    The select tag works with the option tag to make drop-down select boxes.

    They work like this:

    <select> <option>Option 1</option> <option>Option 2</option> <option>Option 3</option> </select> When the form is submitted, the value of the selected option will be sent.

    Similar to the checked attribute of checkboxes and radio buttons, an option tag can also have a selected attribute, which would be used in the format <option>Rodent</option>.

    All of the tags mentioned above will look very nice presented on the page, but if you hook up your form to a form-handling program, they will all be ignored. This is because the form fields need names. So to all of the fields, the attribute name needs to be added, for example <input>

    A form might look like the one below. (Note: this form will not work unless there is a "contactus.php" file, which is stated in the action attribute of the form tag, to handle the submitted date)

    <form> <p>Name:</p> <p><input></p> <p>Comments: </p> <p><textarea>Your comments</textarea></p> <p>Are you:</p> <p><input> Male</p> <p><input> Female</p> <p><input> An hermaphrodite</p> <p><input> Asexual</p> <p><input></p> <p><input></p> </form>

    There is a whole other level of complexity you can delve into in the HTML Advanced Tutorial which should be coming out over the next week if you are up to the challenge.

    If you have gone through all of the pages in this HTML Beginner Tutorial then you should be a competent HTMLer.

    In fact, due to the fact that most people who use HTML use it rather badly, you should be better than most.

    The following code incorporates all of the methods that have been explained in the previous pages:

    <DOCTYPE> <head> <title>My first web page</title> <By> </head> <body> <h1>My first web page</h1> <h2>What this is</h2> <p>A simple page put together using HTML. <strong>A simple page put together using HTML.</strong> A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML. A simple page put together using HTML.</p> <h2>Why this is</h2> <ul> <li>To learn HTML</li> <li> To show off <ol> <li>To my boss</li> <li>To my friends</li> <li>To my cat</li> <li>To the little talking duck in my brain</li> </ol> </li> <li>Because I've fallen in love with my computer and want to give her some HTML loving.</li> </ul> <h2>Where to find the tutorial</h2> <p><a><img></a></p> <h3>Some random table</h3> <table> <tr> <td>Row 1, cell 1</td> <td>Row 1, cell 2</td> <td>Row 1, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 2, cell 1</td> <td>Row 2, cell 2</td> <td>Row 2, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 3, cell 1</td> <td>Row 3, cell 2</td> <td>Row 3, cell 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 4, cell 1</td> <td>Row 4, cell 2</td> <td>Row 4, cell 3</td> </tr> </table> <h3>Some random form</h3> <p><strong>Note:</strong> It looks the part, but won't do a damned thing</p> <form> <p>Name:</p> <p><input></p> <p>Comments: </p> <p><textarea>Your comments</textarea></p> <p>Are you:</p> <p><input> Male</p> <p><input> Female</p> <p><input> An hermaphrodite</p> <p><input> Asexual</p> <p><input></p> <p><input></p> </form> </body>

    There you have it. Save the file and play around with it - this is the best way to understand how everything works. Go on. Tinker.

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  2. #2  
    Senior Member PSP Elite Hacker Killer's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Wow, you can use google. I'm sure other people can also do this.

  3. #3  
    Retired Moderator PSP Elite Hacker Major Zero's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    I'm still a little lost on why you posted this?

    why would someone want to learn html on a PSP modding site?

    wait a sec, are you trying to get your post count up?
    Refresh for more Sigs


  4. #4  
    Knights of War PSP Elite Hacker KoW210's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    lol I have no clue why this guy posted this.

  5. #5  
    Super Senior Member PSP Elite Hacker Pirate-M.Lifnen's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    This is strange. If this were an html forum, this would be awesome.
    But just because you're interested in basic html doesn't mean everyone else is. This is useless. If anyone is actually interested in html google will help them out a lot more than this.
    For real
    Rules, rules, rules. WinRAR
    The most important thread you'll ever read..

    "The mods look like the gestapo; 'do as we say, not as we do.'"

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