HTML Elements

HTML documents are text files made up of HTML elements.

HTML elements are defined using HTML tags.


HTML Tags

  • HTML tags are used to mark-up HTML elements
  • HTML tags are surrounded by the two characters < and >
  • The surrounding characters are called angle brackets
  • HTML tags normally come in pairs like <b> and </b>
  • The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag
  • The text between the start and end tags is the element content
  • HTML tags are not case sensitive, <b> means the same as <B>

HTML Elements

Remember the HTML example from the previous page:

<html>
<head>
<title>Title of page</title>
</head>
<body>
This is my first homepage. <b>This text is bold</b>
</body>
</html>

This is an HTML element:

<b>This text is bold</b>

The HTML element starts 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.


Why do We Use Lowercase Tags?

We have just said that HTML tags are not case sensitive: <B> means the same as <b>. When you surf the Web, you will notice that most tutorials use uppercase HTML tags in their examples. We always use lowercase tags. Why?

If you want to prepare yourself for the next generations of HTML, you should start using lowercase tags. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommends lowercase tags in their HTML 4 recommendation, and XHTML (the next generation HTML) demands lowercase tags.


Tag Attributes

Tags can have attributes. Attributes can provide additional information about the HTML elements on your page.

This tag defines the body element of your HTML page: <body>. With an added bgcolor attribute, you can tell the browser that the background color of your page should be red, like this: <body bgcolor=”red”>.

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.


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=’John “ShotGun” Nelson’

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