HTML Tags

What are HTML tags?
ƒ HTML tags are used to mark-up HTML elements
ƒ HTML tags are surrounded by the two characters < and >
ƒ The surrounding characters are called angle brackets
ƒ HTML tags normally come in pairs like <b> and </b>
ƒ The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag
ƒ The text between the start and end tags is the element content
ƒ HTML tags are not case sensitive, <b> means the same as <B>
Logical vs. Physical Tags
In HTML there are both logical tags and physical tags. Logical tags are designed to describe (to the
browser) the enclosed text’s meaning. An example of a logical tag is the <strong> </strong> tag. By
placing text in between these tags you are telling the browser that the text has some greater
importance. By default all browsers make the text appear bold when in between the <strong> and
</strong> tags.
Physical tags on the other hand provide specific instructions on how to display the text they enclose.
Examples of physical tags include:

 
Physical tags were invented to add style to HTML pages because style sheets were not around, though
the original intention of HTML was to not have physical tags. Rather than use physical tags to style
your HTML pages, you should use style sheets.
HTML Elements
Remember the HTML example from the previous page:

 
This is an HTML element:
<b>This text is bold</b>
The HTML element begins with a start tag: <b>
The content of the HTML element is: This text is bold
The HTML element ends with an end tag: </b>
The purpose of the <b> tag is to define an HTML element that should be displayed as bold.
This is also an HTML element:
<body>
This is my first homepage. <b>This text is bold</b>
</body>
This HTML element starts with the start tag <body>, and ends with the end tag </body>. The purpose
of the <body> tag is to define the HTML element that contains the body of the HTML document.
Nested Tags
You may have noticed in the example above, the <body> tag also contains other tags, like the <b> tab.
When you enclose an element in with multiple tags, the last tag opened should be the first tag closed.
For example:
<p><b><em>This is NOT the proper way to close nested tags.</p></em></b>
<p><b><em>This is the proper way to close nested tags. </em></b></p>
Note: It doesn’t matter which tag is first, but they must be closed in the proper order.
Why Use Lowercase Tags?
You may notice we’ve used lowercase tags even though I said that HTML tags are not case sensitive.
<B> means the same as <b>. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the group responsible for
developing web standards, recommends lowercase tags in their HTML 4 recommendation, and XHTML
(the next generation HTML) requires lowercase tags.
Tag Attributes
Tags can have attributes. Attributes can provide additional information about the HTML elements on
your page. The <tag> tells the browser to do something, while the attribute tells the browser how to
do it. For instance, if we add the bgcolor attribute, we can tell the browser that the background color
of your page should be blue, like this: <body bgcolor=”blue”>.
This tag defines an HTML table: <table>. With an added border attribute, you can tell the browser that
the table should have no borders: <table border=”0″>. Attributes always come in name/value pairs
like this: name=”value”. Attributes are always added to the start tag of an HTML element and the
value is surrounded by quotes.
Quote Styles, “red” or ‘red’?
Attribute values should always be enclosed in quotes. Double style quotes are the most common, but
single style quotes are also allowed. In some rare situations, like when the attribute value itself
contains quotes, it is necessary to use single quotes:
name=’George “machine Gun” Kelly’
Note: Some tags we will discuss are deprecated, meaning the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) the governing body that sets HTML, XML, CSS, and other technical standards decided
those tags and attributes are marked for deletion in future versions of HTML and XHTML.
Browsers should continue to support deprecated tags and attributes, but eventually these tags
are likely to become obsolete and so future support cannot be guaranteed.
For a complete list of tags, visit W3C.org.

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