HTML and CSS Tutorial 9pm 28th May 2009
Update: The notes from this series of tutorials can now be found under the webstyle link
A brief overview of mark-up languages (SGML, HTML and XML) with a little bit of history and where things are going. Its not possible to talk about Mark-up languages and the Web without providing a plug for the WWW consortium whom manage the web standards and development. The section on tools will cover some aspects of browser compatibility and support tools, such as Tidy. Apart from specialist software (e.g. Dreamweaver, Quanta Plus ) some browsers include an editing facility (e.g. Sea Monkey composer and the W3's own Amaya which is used as a test bed for new developments.
HTML The HTML tutorial itself provides a series of examples along with the code and is designed to be self paced. You are encouraged to experiment, and to build on the basic examples. An attempt has been made to keep the coding to minimum, so some coding may be possible during a session.
The accompanying notes provide tips and things to note along the way, for example relating to accessibility and stopping your hypertext links becoming a bowl of spaghetti.
Warnings are also given as appropriate, e.g. on compatibility issues, or just plain bad technique such as the use of the tag.
XML What can be achieved in terms of layout with just HTML is limited. Cascading Style Sheets provide a much more flexible alternative, as they make the various HTML tag properties accessible to coding. The second part of the session will compare The CSS way and HTML way to layouts. Cascading Style Sheets can also be used with XML (e Xtensible) Mark-up Language. HTML is moving moving towards XML and a halfway house is XHTML.
With different browser vendors competing with one another, compatibility went out of the window and a lot of time is still being wasted ensuring web pages work on different browsers. By adding (non standard) features to browsers, under the guise of assistive technology, had the effect locked you into proprietary products, and promoted sloppy coding.
XML is a subset of SGML and so to is XHTML. which is where we started this session. XMTML is a transitional stage between (untidy in terms of standards ) HTML and XML. It is a major attempt to clean up the web. Browsers will not render XML code that contains errors which do not conform to the W3 standards. So as well as being well formed XML documents can be further validated against schemas. The DOM (Document Object Model) provides a need way to parse XML documents to extract the content needed. Important for business and an EDI (Electronic Data Interface).
Finally have you ever wondered what you missed when Google turns up a million results which you can't be bothered to browse through? The web was intended for humans not machines. Meta tags, (data about data), keywords etc. are an attempt to address that problem, but XML will surely make that task easier. XML has brought you SVG (Structured Vector Graphics) and a SMIL (Synchronised Multimedia Integration Language) to your face. Who said engineers don't have a sense of humour.!