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Chapter 2. Editing Web Pages > HTML and Text Editors

HTML and Text Editors

The inventors of HTML intended it for publishing scholarly and technical papers—and simple ones at that. There was no way to know what size screen or which fonts each Web visitor would have, so the inventors left these details to the discretion of each visitor’s browser and system configuration rather than to the Web page designer. Text would flow within whatever document window the visitor chose. Control over fonts was generic. The designer could, for example, assign style codes such as <h1> through <h6> for progressively smaller headings, but each computer could theoretically display these styles in a different font, size, and color. HTML offered no provision for publishing equations, charts, or tables. Today, of course, style and appearance have become at least as important as content—no one wants to look at ugly pages—and the idea that certain kinds of content can’t be displayed seems ridiculous.

The HTML specification from those early days still provides the basis for the most complicated Web pages we see today. In fact, plain text editors remain among the most common tools for creating Web pages, no matter how complex the page or how cryptic the HTML codes might be.


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