As part of my ongoing series on client-side web programming, I decided to write a guide to HTML.
To many programmers, this may seem like a big waste of time. Nowadays, everyone has worked with HTML. Plenty of programmers (myself included) started coding personal websites well before they even glanced at a programming language like C or Java. The comments on most websites accept certain HTML tags, so even non-programmers know how to mark up text with
<em> tags. What’s the point in telling people what they know already?
The answer is that many people think they know HTML, but few actually do. HTML has been around for a long time, and many practices that used to be common (or necessary “hacks”) are simply bad practices today. Also, the HTML5 standard is fairly new, and many people aren’t used to using it. People who learned HTML before 2006 or so are probably using it wrong. Their HTML is bad, and they should feel bad.
This, as it turns out, includes me. Researching this article has led me to tags that I didn’t know existed, and to discussions about Web standards that I had never read before. So, I wrote this guide for me as much as for all of you. Still, I hope you all find it helpful – and if not, or if I make mistakes, then please contact me to let me know.
First, let’s take a look at what HTML is – and what it is not.