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Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and CSS, 2nd Edition by Robin Nixon

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The Difference Between <div> and <span>

Both <div> and <span> elements are types of containers, but with some different qualities. By default, a <div> element has infinite width (at least to the browser edge), which can be seen by applying a border to one, like this:

<div style="border:1px solid green;">Hello</div>

A <span> element, however, is only as wide as the text it contains. Therefore, the following line of HTML creates a border only around the word “Hello,” which does not extend to the righthand edge of the browser:

<span style="border:1px solid green;">Hello</span>

Also, <span> elements follow text or other objects as they wrap around, and can therefore have a complicated border. For example, in Example 18-2, CSS has been used to make the background of all <div> elements yellow, to make all <span> elements cyan, and to add a border to both, before then creating a few example <span> and <div> sections.

Example 18-2. <div> and <span> example
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>Div and span example</title> <style> div,span { border :1px solid black; } div { background-color:yellow; } span { background-color:cyan; } </style> </head> <body> <div>This text is within a div tag</div> This isn't. <div>And this is again.</div><br /> <span>This text is inside a span tag.</span> This isn't. <span>And this is again.</span><br/><br /> <div>This is a larger amount of text in a that wraps around to the next line of the browser</div><br /> <span>This is a larger amount of text in a span that ...

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