mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Since I've noticed that a couple of new folks have either joined LJ, or posted after a long absence (waves at [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl), and since I just spouted off a comment describing the basic HTML tags, here's another take on it, with the rough edges smoothed off.

Here are the essential tags for LJ. You can get away with nothing but these, and let LJ's automatic formatting take care of everything else.

Inside of paragraphs, <em> (emphasis), <strong> (bold), and occasionally <cite> (italics, used for citations) <code> (fixed-width), and <del> (strike-out). You can also use <i>, <b>, <tt>, and <s>, but it's considered cheating. <u> (underline) can also be used, but it's confusing given the almost universal convention that links are underlined. See what I mean?

<hr> (horizontal rule) and <img> (image) have their uses; they are two of the three tags that do not need to be "closed" (see inside the cut). <img> tags need two "attributes" between the "img" and the ">": src="url-of-image" to point to the image, and alt="text" to specify the text that a blind person or search engine will see in place of the image. If an image is just there as a spacer or decoration, you can use alt=" ".

The final essential tag is <a href="url">anchor-text</a>, which makes a link. The "a" comes from "anchor", for reasons that are now mainly historical. On Livejournal, there are two more handy tags that turn into special kinds of link: <lj user="username"> (which doesn't need to be closed) links to a user's profile and journal, and <lj-cut>...</lj-cut> cuts out a long block of text and replaces it with a link. Add a text="link-text" attribute to replace the default "details".

The rest is mostly useful outside of LJ. This is long enough, and probably boring enough, that it needs a cut )

So there you have it. For more details, all the rest of the tags and attributes I've left out, and an excellent reference, see The Bare Bones Guide to HTML.

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