Department of Mathematics

Math 300: Mathematical Computing

Hypertext Markup Language

Hypertext Markup Language, better known as HTML, is the dominant format for the transfer of information across the Internet. It was the coupling of the idea for a browser with HTML that engendered the use of the term World Wide Web .

Each HTML file is a flat text file containing tags that indicate formatting or other kinds of objects (e.g. images) to insert. HTML files follow just a few rules. Some rules are optional - they really have to do with XHTML, a replacement for HTML which we will learn later.

  1. Every HTML command is enclosed in < and > characters: e.g. <p>
  2. Basic HTML atoms are called "tags". Every opening tag must have a closing tag. Closing tags are the same as opening tags, except that the name of the tag is preceded by a slash: e.g. <p> has closing tag </p>.
  3. The opening and closing tags enclose text whose format or content they specify.
  4. If a tag does not enclose text, it can end itself: put a slash before the > character: e.g. <br/>
  5. Tags must be nested properly: e.g. <b><i>bold italic text<i><b> is correct; <b><i>bold italic text<b><i> is not.
  6. The behavior of HTML commands can be modified by inserting style specifications in the opening tag: e.g. <p style="text-align:center"> A Centered Paragraph <p>
  7. HTML tags should be in lower case

Historically, HTML tags did not need to be closed, did not need to be nested properly, and it was even considered good style to write them in upper case letters. It is only with more recent updates to the language that these rules have become important.

There are many tutorials available for HTML on the web - we list a few below.

In this class we will emphasize the newest standard in the making. HTML5 is nearing the status of an international standard, and most browsers support it to some extent. It provides a great deal of power that was not available in HTML4, and which required more machinery to use in XHTML. In short, it makes things that used to be difficult seem easier.

Some points of style seem to be worth making.

There is a terrific site giving details of HTML and CSS at blooberry.

Assignment 6 is posted.

The midterm exam will take place Monday, 16 October. As with all exams, all paper notes may be used, but no electronic devices are permitted. There is a sample exam available.

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