If you want to be a spy, you sometimes need to learn code words. If you want to be a spy for HTML, you need to learn the HTML code words. These code words are called tags. Tags make up HTML.
While the tags are the nouns, attributes are adjectives. Depending on how they are set, different things happen to the area that tag effects. For example if we use the <font> tag and use the attribute color with the value of red the tag would like like this:
<font color="red">This is red text</font>
and it will display this:
This is red text
There are several different versions of HTML. Below are the most important highlights.
In general, it is best practice to use strict when you can. Strict follows the rules more closely and therefor is going to be more likely to look the same across browsers and continue to work in later browsers that may not listen for deprecated tags.
Don't use frameset. Frames make your site look immature and sloppy and people don't like frames.
Use the most recent code base. While using HTML 3.2 is still allowed, it is best to use the most current version. This tutorial will reference deprecated tags, but will be focused around being an HTML5 spy.
When a tag, attribute or value is no longer valid, it is considered deprecated. For example the <font> tag (used above) was valid in HTML 4, but has been deprecated in HTML5, in favor of using CSS to change the font.
There are programs that will do much of the work for you, but none of them can replace knowing how to code. Those programs are great for those that want a site up, but have no desire to customize. They are great for those that don't care if their pages pass validation. If you want to code like a professional, or just want to make simple pages, but want to be able to customize more than the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) programs, then you must learn at least the basics of HTML. Continue with this guide and you will be taken from the most basic to some very complex.
Some people will use WYSIWYG editors to start, then clean up the code afterwards. I find this cumbersome and think it is easier to code by hand, but this is a preference. Either way you prefer works. If you choose to use a WYSIWYG first, you will need to know HTML in order to fix what the WYSIWYG incorrectly thinks you want to do.