"Marking Up" Text

These three paragraphs are unformatted, monospacedMonospaced text is text in which all characters, whether narrow such as an “I” or wide like an “M,” are given the same amount of horizontal space—similar to an old typewriter. text. For years, this format (called "plain text" or ASCIIAmerican Standard Code for Information Interchange (pronounced: ass-kee). text) has been the stuff of which communication on the Internet was made. This is because plain text is the lowest common denominator -- plain text documents can be opened and read by virtually any computer on any system.

This text-only world has changed dramatically. The World Wide Web and the browsers designed to navigate it have transformed the Internet into a multi-media environment -- one in which anyone can publish his or her own documents containing not only text of various sizes, styles, and colors but images, sounds, movies, games and more.

Although web pages seldom appear onscreen as ASCII text, it remains the basic material from which all web pages are constructed. Transforming plain text into web pages is done by "marking it up" with small instructions, called "tags" that tell the browser app how to display it on screen.


Text Source:
This sentence has markup instructions applied to <strong>two</strong> of the
Web Page:
This sentence has markup instructions applied to two of the words.

This illustrates two basic ideas used in marking up text:

  1. Markup instructions are always enclosed between less-than "<" and greater-than ">" signs to distinguish them from viewable text.

    In the example given, <em> caused the text following it to be emphasized (italicized) and <strong> caused text following it to appear as bold.

  2. A markup instruction is terminated by the forward slash "/" symbol.

    In the example, <em> turned on italics and </em> turned it off. (Had the closing </em> instruction been forgotten, all of the remaining text on the page would have been italicized.) (You'll see...)

The <em> and <strong> markup tags are part of the Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a standard set of mark-up instructions that web browsers understand.

An html document refers to a marked-up source document intended for viewing with a web browser. When viewed in the browser, an HTML document is called a web page.

Jay Boersma's Webwork HTML Tutorial
The HTML source code for any web page can be studied by selecting "View source" in your browser menu.

Every page on the web is a potential tutorial.
Previous | Webwork Table of Contents | Next >