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Krystel Gosselin

Krystel Gosselin
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The Basics of HTML - Part 1

Published by gosk02@uqo.ca on 2012-06-17

Back in January, the professor of our Rédaction Web class, at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, invited a guest lecturer to teach us about the basics of HTML. It was an unforgettable experience to see everyone at work in the classroom. Classmates, with varying computer skills, accomplished all the webpage building tasks set out for them by the lecturer. Classmates smiled when they saw that a tag, entered correctly, had resulted in a new feature for our project.


The lecture was given by Philippe Loranger. Besides being a fountain of computer science-related information, he also works tirelessly to make the governments’ pages as accessible and as error-free as possible. After the lecture, the whole class had understood the amount of work needed to reach such a goal, a difficult but not impossible task.


The Tools

HTML stands for “Hyper Text Markup Language”. It is, essentially, a code used to give commands to the computer to have it input elements (images, text, formatting, etc.) into a webpage. We do so by using “tags”. These are the basic elements of webpage building. Tags are essentially commands written between two symbols known as brackets (< >).  The commands written between the brackets will reflect what you want to do on your web page.


Anyone who owns a computer can write tags! Every computer with the Windows operating system has a program called Notepad. You may have used it before, and at first glance it might seem like a very simple program that is not very useful (especially when we have programs like Microsoft Word that have fancy formatting options). However, this is the basic program needed to write HTML. It doesn’t have as many advanced options as some other programs, but it is a good way to master the basics of HTML. This will be particularly helpful when reviewing the HTML from other programs, which are not fool-proof. Errors can happen; know your basics and you will notice errors faster.


Adobe Dreamweaver is a popular software program for writing HTML code. While it has a lot of interesting features to help users input their codes, it is also known to add superfluous codes to a webpage, which could end up slowing it down. Knowing the limits and functions of any tool can be tremendously helpful.  While this software is expensive, the main advantages include constant updates and new functions. There is even a trial version available on the Adobe website for anyone who would like to try it. The website also offers tutorials on how to use the software for those who require more help.


Another program that came up during the lecture was Frontpage. This software, developed by Microsoft, was discontinued in December 2006. The last version, Frontpage 2003, was said to have been replaced by Microsoft SharePoint Designer. Information on how to use FrontPage can be found on the Microsoft website at office.microsoft.com/en-ca/frontpage-help/. The tutorials can be a bit hard to navigate through, but they are very well written and easy to understand. This has always been one of  the strong points of Microsoft products.


Other programs exist for writing HTML code, of course, but I chose to show you those that had been presented during the lecture. Please feel free to leave a comment and share your knowledge with us all!