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Creating a Website: The Missing Manual, 4th Edition by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 2. Becoming Fluent in HTML

Getting text into a web page is easy—you just open up an HTML file, drop in your content, and add the occasional HTML tag to format that content. But getting text to look exactly the way you want it to is a different story.

Before you can make your web pages look pretty, you need to organize their structure a bit. In this chapter, you’ll learn about the first set of tools you need: the collection of HTML elements that let you break masses of text into neatly separated headings, paragraphs, lists, and more. You already put several of these elements to work in the Lee Park resumé tutorial in Chapter 1. In this chapter, you’ll take a more detailed tour of all the HTML elements that let you structure text. Think of it as a condensed, one-chapter exploration of HTML’s most important elements.

What you won’t learn in this chapter is how to create the look of your pages. That’s because HTML has virtually no formatting features. Instead, you need a separate standard—that’s CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets—to change the way something looks on a web page. You’ll tackle that subject in the next chapter. But for now, you’ll focus on preparing properly structured HTML pages that you can pizazz up later.

Types of Elements

Before you dig in, it’s time to review a couple of HTML essentials. As you learned in Chapter 1, you need to know two things about every new element you meet:

  • Is it a container element or a standalone element?

  • Is it a block element or an inline element? ...

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