Hypertext Markup Language

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Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, is a very basic markup language utilized to add format effects to text, generally for the purpose of presenting a web page. To utilize HTML, all that is required is a text editor and a web browser.

Combined with CSS, HTML is absolutely necessary for creating any standard web page, although some corporations prefer to create pages exclusively in Flash instead. HTML is also useful when editing MediaWiki, so if you want to work with the templates, you'd better learn it!

What is and is not proper HTML is defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who provide a documentation of standard HTML and CSS elements and attributes.

Structure of HTML

Basic layout

All proper and standard HTML documents must begin with a doctype declaration, specifying what kind of HTML is being used - the web browser will render HTML differently depending on the rules for the given version, so that new functionality and fixes can be added without disrupting compatibility with very old web pages.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<html lang=en>
  <meta charset=utf-8>

If it helps, HTML 5.0 is going to make it <!DOCTYPE html> so you don't have to copy-paste that long garbage.


This must begin and end the document, after the doctype.


The head contains necessary information prior to the actual rendering of the page, such as format information. These bits of information are collectively known as headers.

Meta tags send format information, such as character encoding. UTF-8 is a form of Unicode, used for multi-language documents. Headers may optionally be sent by the server before sending the requested page, in which case meta tags are not entirely necessary to include in the HTML document itself (but still recommended.)

The title is what appears in the (usually blue) bar at the top of the web browser.

The <link> element can be used to add a CSS document to the page without adding it manually to the document itself.


Except for the title, the body almost always contains all of the visible elements of the page; the head sent all the information necessary to render them properly.


The HTML equivalent of a grammatical noun, and the most basic component, is called an element. These are contained within angled brackets, and are declarations such as:

<b></b> Bold
<i></i> Italic
<s></s> Strikethrough
<u></u> Underline
<sup></sup> Superscript

The great majority of elements have closing tags, as they modify what you put in them. For instance,

<i>italic text</i>

will generate

italic text


Elements do very little useful on their own. To further format text, one must specify attributes, which are properties assigned to an element. For instance, any <img> element must have an attribute telling it from where to load the image:

 <img src='http://www.antilogic.co.za/images/misc/html-tattoo.jpg'>

However, MediaWiki does not allow external image links; you must upload them and utilize the internal image linking for them to appear on MFGGWiki or any other standard wiki.

External links

World Wide Web Consortium main page