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The Bare Bones Guide to HTML


Credit where credit is due

Many people have provided suggestions and assistance as the Bare Bones Guide to HTML has developed. My thanks go out to everyone who has contributed to the effort.

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What is unique about this guide

Several people have created excellent HTML guides and made themavailable on the Web -- who needs another one?

This document is designed to serve a particular niche. It isintended as a concise "cheat sheet" that you can use to look up thecorrect forms of tags as you are creating Web pages.Other HTMLguides provide significantly more descriptive material about howto use particular tags or how HTML works in general. If you are abeginner, you might try one of those guides first.

There are also severalstyle guidesthat focus more on how to write pages that look good and work ondifferent browsers. I encourage you to read one or more of them ifyou are planning on creating Web pages; far too many people ignorethe fact that their pages are going to be read by other people andthat there are better and worse ways of doing things.

My WWW Help Pagehas links to numerous other sites that provide information on HTMLand Web page design. It's a good place to start if you have specificquestions that go beyond the "bare bones" information provided here.

This guide is designed for people who know enough not to needstep-by-step instructions, but who haven't memorized the exact formatof every HTML tag yet. If you want a "quick reference" that youcan glance at without having to read through additional descriptivematerial, this guide is for you.

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Which tags are included

The other distinguishing aspect of this guide is what it includes.The Bare Bones Guide to HTML is intended to include all of thetags in common usage on Web pages today. Specifically, the Guidelists the following:

The development of HTML has been a confusing process, as attemptsto adopt formal standards have often been overrun by developments inthe marketplace. The World Wide WebConsortium (W3C) is the official standards body for HTML. The current W3C recommendation is HTML 4.0.

In itsPositionStatement on HTML, W3C recommends that information providers usethe HTML 4.0 specification, but that tools also be backward-compatible with earlier versions. Therefore, version 4.0 of the Bare BonesGuide to HTML includes all the HTML 4.0 tags, but distinguishes tags introduced in version 4.0 from those in version 3.2 as well.

I have also included all of the Netscape and Microsoft extensions to HTML, with the exception of some server interaction tags such as server push animation. Some of these extensions will not display properly if people viewing yourpages are using another browser, so you should think about youraudience before deciding whether to use them.

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For clarity, I have separated out different attributes that can be applied tothe same tag onto separate lines. Generally, multiple attributes can becombined in the same tag.

Tags are listed in upper case for ease of reading, although most tags arenot case sensitive.


URL    URL of an external file (or just file name if in the same directory)?      Arbitrary number (i.e. <H?> means <H1>, <H2>, <H3>, etc.)%      Arbitrary percentage (i.e. <HR WIDTH="%"> means <HR WIDTH="50%">, etc.)***    Arbitrary text (i.e. ALT="***" means fill in with text)    $$$$$$ Arbitrary hex (i.e. BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$" means BGCOLOR="#00FF1C", etc.):::    Arbitrary date (i.e. DATETIME=":::" means "1994-11-05T08:15:30" etc.)@      Email address (i.e. "mailto:@" means "" etc.),,,    Comma-delimited (i.e. COORDS=",,," means COORDS="0,0,50,50", etc.)|      Alternatives (i.e. ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER means pick one of these)  


(remember, HTML is evolving and browser implementations vary)
     (no notation) In the HTML 3.2 spec.; should work on all browsers 4.0  Introduced in HTML 4.0 recommendationN1   Netscape extension introduced with Navigator version 1.0 or 1.1N2   Netscape extension introduced with Navigator version 2.0 N3   Netscape extension introduced with Navigator version 3.0N4   Netscape extension introduced with Navigator/Communicator version 4.0MS   Microsoft Internet Explorer extension*    Netscape extension now included in the HTML 4.0 specification  

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Version History

Version 4.0 -- January 1999.

Version 3.0 -- July 21, 1996.

Version 2.0 -- October 7, 1995. Lots of changes andcorrections in this version.

Version 1.22 -- August 18, 1995. Added a tag and someattributes that had been accidentally omitted from the forms section,and corrected the listing of which color tags are in the HTML 3.0spec.

Version 1.21 -- July 26, 1995. Removed the archaic<NEXTID> tag and added some annotations to the HTML and tableversions.

Version 1.2 -- July 25, 1995. Several revisions to improvecompliance with the official HTML specifications, and to acknowledgemore widespread implementation of certain HTML 3.0 tags.

Version 1.1 -- July 19, 1995. Cleaned up a number of thingsin the introductory material, and correctly specified the ISO 8859-1character set instead of ASCII.

Version 1.03 -- July 12, 1995. Updated copyright notices toeliminate confusion with Bare Bones Software. Added Netscape relativefont sizing tag, and changed the link to the list of ASCII symbolcodes.

Version 1.02 -- April 24, 1995. Corrected some additionaltypos, fixed the link to this version history, and added the standardcopyright and registered TM codes to go along with the Netscapeversions.

Version 1.01 -- April 11, 1995. Fixed a couple minor typosand ambiguities pointed out by helpful folks, including some errorsin the list tags section.

Version 1.0 HTML -- April 6, 1995. Has some additionalintroductory material, but the text is otherwise identical to version1.0. Formatted for WWW viewing, with assistance from John Berkin.

Version 1.0 -- April 2, 1995. Corrected some errors pointedout by other people, and made some minor revisions to theintroduction and the formatting of certain sections.

Version 0.9b -- March 30, 1995. First public version.Posted on comp.infosystems.www.providers.

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Copyright ©1995-1999Kevin Werbach.
Last updated February 1, 1999.