HTML Reference

HTML Reference

This HTML Reference arose for the desire to encourage people to use HTML 5 - as soon as I started to try to create a drawing of the new features of HTML 5, I realised that there isn't my sort of drawing of HTML of any variety (that I've found yet). But, before I could do a drawing, I needed to write some explanation...


HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Mark-up Language. The most important feature of a Text mark-up language is text. In this reference, you will find comparatively little about the text - that's because the text is pervasive: everywhere in the mark-up. The HTML gives additional opportunities for text, by adding attributes like "title" and "alt". But the underlying text (that is marked-up) is still the most important piece.


This reference is about Tags, more than anything else.

Tags appear in the mark up like this:

        <p>The most important feature of a
          Text mark-up language is <strong>text</strong>.

A tag can be closed or open.

An Open tag

An open tag starts with a chevron < and the tag name, some attributes (optional), and the other chevron >:


Later, the tag must be closed, by putting a chevron, a slash, the name and the other chevron:


The open tag includes text and/or other mark-up with in it (i.e. between the open of the tag and its close).

A Closed tag

A closed tag starts with a chevron < and the tag name, some attributes (optional), a slash and the other chevron >:

<hr />


Attributes are very important in HTML, but they are also a second-order matter - getting the structure of the tags right is right is what makes a page useful, whereas getting the attributes correct is significant, but can't compromise the structure.

Reading source

I expect, hope and desire that you will read the source of web pages. If you don't this reference is not of much use to you.

You can read the source in most browsers - there are menu options that show you the source, and you need to find how to do this to understand what this reference is about.

You may use a tool to write HTML - that's fine, but you probably need to see the source that it's writing for you to make use of this reference. If you're not interested in the source, you probably don't need this reference either. I'm cool with that, and I hope you are, too.

Other sites

There are many other, better, more interesting, more important, sites about HTML. Please read them, use them, understand them. I just have a particular spin on HTML, which I hope you'll find useful.