: Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition

8.3 Writing HTML

Without doubt, the most commonly used markup language today is hypertext markup language (HTML), used for creating web pages. HTML consists of text with tags that define characteristics about the text. HTML is not hard to write, and you could use Emacs or any other editor to write the tags and the text. An HTML tag generally looks like this:

<tagname>text being tagged</tagname>

For your convenience, several modes are available for writing HTML in Emacs, including HTML mode, HTML helper mode, html menus, and a variety of SGML[42] tools including sgml mode and psgml mode. Of these tools, we've chosen to describe HTML mode, a variant of sgml mode, which is included in GNU Emacs, and HTML helper mode, which is a popular add-on. If you are writing XHTML, a stricter version of HTML that can be validated, you should consider XHTML mode, described briefly in this section, or psgml mode, covered later in the XML section of this chapter.

Serious web developers may want to investigate some of the cutting edge development going on to make Emacs even more powerful. Check out HTMLModeDeluxe (http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/HtmlModeDeluxe) and the Emacs WebDev Environment by Darren Brierton (http://www.dzr-web.com/people/darren/projects/emacs-webdev). Both of these tools support mmm mode (where mmm stands for "multiple major modes"). Using this feature, the cursor changes major mode depending on the section of the page you are editing. When you edit a script, the mode changes automatically to support that type of authoring. Both are excellent tools for building complex web pages.

In the following sections, we are not going to teach you to write HTML. (For more information on writing HTML, see HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide by Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy, O'Reilly) Rather, we're going to teach you the rudiments of using HTML mode and HTML helper mode to help you create HTML documents.

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