Introduction to HTML

Humorous Pictures

Comments, like blog posts, often benefit from reader-friendly formatting. Unfortunately, comment forms never include buttons for making your text bold or italic or for creating a link. That means you have to know how to put the format in manually. You have to learn HTML, which is the language of the Internet.

It’s not as hard as you might think, at least to learn enough for commenting on blogs. If you want to learn to write websites in HTML, you will need a lot more than what I’m listing here. But for blog comments, just a few basic tags will get you by.

The Basic Plan for HTML Markup

<tag>your text here</tag>

The “<” and “>” identify this as HTML, which tells the computer to do whatever is written between them. They will not show up in your comment, since their job is just to tell the computer how to display what you write. Replace the word “tag” with whatever type of format you want, and the “/tag” means to stop doing that format.

The Most Important HTML Tags for Bloggers

<b>. . .</b> = Make whatever is between these tags bold.

<i>. . .</i> = Make whatever is between these tags italic.

<s>. . .</s> = This is often used for making a snarky comment joke. The s stands for strike, which means “cross out.”

<br /> = Make a line break. This tells the computer to start a new line, just like the “Enter” button on your keyboard. It does not need a “stop” tag afterward. (You shouldn’t need this tag for comments, but it’s very handy for text widgets in your sidebar.)

<a href=“http://websiteURLaddress/”></a> = Make a link to the website whose address is between the quotation marks. This is the most difficult HTML you will need for commenting on blogs. Be sure to copy it exactly, including the space after the first a and both quotation marks, one before and one after the URL — but, of course, you paste in whatever website URL you want. (Remember, the URL is the Internet address, which you can find in the long box at the top of your browser. You can right-click on a URL to copy it.)

[Note to purists: I know that some of these tags have been deprecated by the W3C, but they have the advantage of being short and easy for kids to learn. If my students decide study webpage design, they can worry about proper usage in that class. . .]

Homework

  • Write at least one blog post that comments on and links to a classmate’s post.
  • Read your classmates’ blogs and comment on at least two posts. See if you can format part of your comments.
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