Q: What is HTML?
HTML stands for hypertext markup language. In words that us common folk might understand, it is the language that is used to create web pages. Let's break down HTML by analyzing what it stands for. Hypertext refers to how you can go from one page to another on the Internet by clicking on hyperlinks (like this one... www.checkmarktutoring.com). Markup refers to the HTML tags which look like this < >. They will have a letter or words inside the tag that 'mark' text to look a certain way (e.g. use <b> and </b> around a word to make it bolded) or perform a specific function (e.g. position an image on the page). Language is... well, I think you can guess this one... it's the language of the internet with words and syntax (arrangement of those words) just like when we write an English essay.
Q: What's wrong with just using the current English language we have?
Well, there is more to a web page then just the words that you see. There is structure (where the words appear), formatting, titles, descriptions, tags for search engines to use, etc. that need to be included.
Q: Why don't I see the HTML when I view a webpage?
The 'source code' of a webpage is the hidden HTML that is processed and presented to you without the markup (e.g. html tags) by the web browser you use (e.g. Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer). The browser transforms the markup to an interactive document (the webpage). This transformation process is called rendering. If you use Firefox, which is my personal choice of browser, you can view the source code by right clicking any unlinked part of the web page (e.g. blank space) and scrolling down the right click pop-up menu and clicking 'View Page Source'. WARNING: The source code is not going to look very pretty and there is a good chance that you will not understand what in the world you are looking at if you're a beginner!
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