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Text is prosaic. People are drawn more to pictures, sounds and movies, but text carries the bulk of the content on the Web. HTML was designed to be flexible in order to display text on a variety of computers and monitor settings in a variety of browsers. It carries information about basic formatting such as bold, italics, underline, but unfortunately it cannot specify such basic layout specifications as indenting, line spacing, character spacing or even exact font style or size. So, a page of text can look very different on different computers or in different browsers. Technologies such as style sheets and pdf documents go way beyond the capabilities of HTML, but they are not yet as universal. If you want to reach the widest possible audience, it's still best to stick with HTML.

HTML, however, is static. Once you post a page the text stays the same until you edit and upload the page again. You'll need to use something else if you want to display dynamic information such as news headlines, weather information, random quotes or if you want to provide conversational text such as bulletin boards or chat rooms.



Established: September 30, 2001
Updated: November 9, 2001


© 2001 James D. Blodget
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