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Whether you're an aspiring web designer or a busy professional that's tasked with editing your company's website, learning the basics of HTML is an essential part of that process. Because HTML is often people's first exposure to writing code, some people are a little apprehensive about learning it. And if that describes you, I have some very good news. HTML is surprisingly easy to learn. In fact, you should be of that learn the basics of its rules and syntax in about five minutes or so, and be authoring your own HTML files in short order.
However, before we begin discussing syntax, I want to take a broader look at HTML, so they you have some context as to what it all means, before jumping into the details. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and, as the name implies, it's a markup language. Now, this means that unlike a scripting or programming language that uses scripts to perform functions, a markup language uses tags to identify content. And this is a little bit easier to visualize if you think about it in terms of something that you see every day.
Take this magazine layout. Because of the way that it's formatted, it's easy for you to quickly scan the page and identify content. We could, for sample, start labeling content based on its role on the page. I mean up top we have our main heading. Below that we have a little bit introductory copy. Then we have the body copy which has subheadings in it, and there, right there in the middle, we have what looks to be kind of a sidebar, sort of related content if you will. Well, markup languages work the same way. We would just simply use code to identify those content types.
It's also not unusual to have middleware applications like a content management system and content delivery networks that manage a site's content and generate pages automatically. Now regardless of how complex a site is, or how many other technologies might be involved with it, at the core of the page you'll find HTML. That's why HTML is such an essential skill for any web professional, and it should be the starting point for anyone learning how to create content for the web.
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