3.1 Introduction (Draft)

This is my draft of the content for 3.1, described as "An 
introduction to marking up a document."  I offer it as a starting point.

3.1  Introduction (novice level)

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is one of several markup languages 
used to organize information for delivery on the WorldWide 
Web.  Elements in HTML have specific purposes, in many cases to 
delineate the structure or hierarchy of the document's 
information.  Adherence to the use of elements for their specific 
purpose is referred to as "semantic markup."

HTML elements are instructions inserted within a pair of angle 
brackets(<>).  The contents within the angle brackets tell the 
browser how to render the content within the element.  Further 
instructions for the browser can be conveyed by one or more 
attributes/value combinations indicating in more detail how the 
element is to be interpreted.  Collectively, the angle bracket, the 
element's name, and any attributes modifying it are often referred to 
as a "tag."

Elements are paired, meaning that in order to apply an element to a 
section of information within the document, the section must begin 
with an opening element tag (e.g., <p>) and must end with a closing 
element tag (e.g., </p>).  Some elements also have mandatory 
attributes, such as the <img> element's src attribute that indicates 
the location from which an image is to be loaded, or the type 
attribute of the <script> element.

There are exceptions to the opening/closing element model, primarily 
for elements that are self-contained, such as the element describing 
the document's metadata (<meta>), the <link> element, and the line 
break element (<br>).  For these single elements, a slash is inserted 
just before the element's closing angle bracket (e.g., <br />).

HTML documents are comprised of two major sections.  The head section 
(<head>) includes the metadata information, stylesheet and script 
information, and the document's title.  The body section includes the 
document's content, and any associated markup.

The way that information is presented is typically governed by style 
information, contained either in the head of the document by use of 
the <style> element or in an external style sheet, which is 
referenced by a <link> element.  Segregating the style information to 
an external style document allows the author to reference one master 
set of styles from multiple documents, which makes it easier to 
maintain the look and feel of a collection of documents.  To the 
extent possible, presentational information should be excluded from 
the body of the HTML document, which preserves the semantic usage of 
elements and their attributes.

Debi Orton / oradnio@gmail.com

Received on Sunday, 15 July 2007 18:23:50 UTC