HTML: Lesson Day #2
Hello and welcome to day two! No doubt you've attempted to write a small document on your word processor and save it as TEXT for MAC or ASCII TEXT DOS or TEXT for your PC. You also remembered to save the document with the .htm or .html suffix, I'm sure. Good, now let's move on to today's lesson, for today we write!

HTML Flags

HTML works in a very simple, very logical, format. It reads like you do, top to bottom, left to right. That's important to remember. HTML is written with TEXT. What you use to set certain sections apart as bigger text, smaller text, bold text, underlined text, is a series of flags.

Think of flags as commands. Let's say you want a line of text to be bold. You will put a flag at the exact point you want the bold lettering to start and another flag where you want the bold lettering to stop. If you want just a word to be italic, you will place a start italic flag at the beginning of the word and an end italic flag at the end of the word. Is this making sense so far?

Flag Format

All flag (I sometimes call them command) formats are the same. They begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions. What goes inside the < and > is the flag. Learning HTML is learning the flag to perform whatever command you want to do. Here's an example:

The flag for bold lettering is "B". That makes sense.

Here's what the flags look like to turn the word "Braves" bold:


Look At What's Happening:

1. <B> is the beginning bold flag.
2. "Braves" is the word being affected by the <B> flag.
3. </B> is the end bold flag. Notice it is exactly the same as the beginning flag except there is a slash in front of the flag command.
4. This is what the bold flags above produced: Braves Nice, huh?

Some Questions

Q. Is the end flag for other commands simply the begin flag with the added slash?
A. Yup.

Q. Will the flags show up on my page?
A. No. As long as your commands are inside the < and > marks, the flag is used to alter the text, but the actual code is hidden from the viewer.

Q. Your bold flag uses a capital "B". Do all HTML flags use a capital letter?
A. The browser doesn't care. In terms of flags, capitals and lowercase letters are equal. But I think it would be a very good idea for you to make a habit of writing your flags in capital letters as it sets them apart from the normal text. It also makes them easier to pick out later when you are revisiting the code.

Q. Must everything have a flag to show up on the page?
A. No. If you just type in text, it'll show up. But it will not have any special look.

Q. What if I forget to add the end flag or forget to add the slash to the end flag command?
A. That's trouble, but easy-to-fix trouble. It will be obvious if you've not placed an end flag when you look at the document in your browser. The entire document will be affected after the point where you forgot the end flag. Just go back into the document, add the slash, and reload the document into the browser.

Q. Do all HTML flags require both a begin and end flag, like above?
A. No. There are exceptions to the rule, but let's stay on the ones that do require both flags to work for now. Moving along...

Open and Close Flags

The majority of HTML flags do require both an open and a close flag (a begin and end flag). Most are very easy to understand because the flag is obvious. Here are a few and what they do to text:

Affect Code Code Used What It Does
BOLD B <B>Bold</B> Bold
Italic I <I>Italic</I> Italic
Typewriter TT <TT>Typewriter</TT> Typewriter

Can I Use Two Flags at Once?

Yes. Just make sure to begin and end both. Like so:

<B><I>Bold and Italic</I></B> gives you Bold and Italic

<B><TT>Typewriter and Bold</TT></B> gives you Typewriter and Bold

     If you do use multiple flags to alter text, make a point of not getting the end flags out of order. Look at this:

<B><I><TT>Text Text</TT></B></I>

     In terms of format, the example above is not correct. The end flags are out of order in relation to the start tags.

Follow this rule:
Always set the beginning and end tags at the same time, always placing them on the farthest end of the item being affected.

Here, again, is the example above in correct form:

<B><I><TT>Text Text</TT></I></B>

     Notice the Bold flags are on the far ends. Next in line are the Italics and finally the Typewriter Text flags are closest to the affected text. Just keep setting commands at the farthest ends each time you add them and you'll stay in good form.

Single Flags

The open and close flag format dominates the majority of the available HTML flags, but there are flags that stand alone. Here are three I use extensively:

Flag What It Does
<HR> This command gives you a line across the page. (HR stands for Horizontal Reference.) The line right above the words "Single Flags" was made using an <HR> flag.
<BR> This BReaks the text and starts it again on the next line. Remember you saved your document as TEXT so where you hit ENTER to jump to the next line was not saved. In an HTML document, you need to denote where you want every carriage return with a <BR>.
<P> This stands for Paragraph. It does the exact same thing as the <BR> above except this flag skips a line. BR just jumps to the next line, P skips a line before starting the text again.

Writing Your First Page

So, here we go... you're going to write your first HTML page using what you have learned above plus two other items. And these two items are important to every page you will ever write. Why? Because they will be on every page you ever write.

You will start every page with this flag: <HTML>
     That makes sense. You are denoting that this is an HTML document.

Your next flags will always be these: <TITLE> and </TITLE>
     See the very top of this page? I mean way up top. Above the FILE -- EDIT -- VIEW menus. The colored bar up there. Right now it reads "Basic HTML: Flags" That's the title of the page and that's what you are denoting here. Whatever you put between these two flags will show up in the title bar way at the top.

Finally, you'll end every page you write with this flag: </HTML>
     Get it? You started the page with HTML and you will end the page with /HTML. That makes sense again.

So, Here We Go!

I want you to play around with these commands. Just remember that HTML reads like you do, top to bottom, left to right. It will respond where you place the start flag and stop where you place the end flag. Just make sure your flags are within the < and > items.

Here's a sample page to show you what I mean for you to do tonight:


<TITLE> My first html page </TITLE>

<B>This is my first HTML page!</B><P>

I can write in <I>Italic</I> or <B>Bold</B><BR>


<B><I>Or I can write in both</I></B><BR>


<TT>...and that's all</TT>


Notice I only used the flags I showed you on this page. Yes, it's a simple page, but you're just starting out. Notice the <HTML> and </HTML>. Notice the <TITLE> and </TITLE>. See how there's a beginning and end flag when I alter the text and that the P and BR commands are used to go to new lines?

Now, click here to see the page the code above produced.

Look at the program above and then what it produced. Look at the source code when you open the page. See how the HTML flags denoted where text was affected? Good! I knew you would. Now go! Go into the world -- or at least to your text editor -- and create. Follow the instructions in HTML Lesson Day #1 to help you save and then display your first HTML page.

You Can Do This!

HTML Flags Flag Format Open/Close Flags Single Flags Writing Your First Page

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