Getting text into a Web page is easy. All you need to do is open an HTML file, drop in your content, and add the occasional formatting tag. Unfortunately, getting text to look exactly the way you want is a completely different story.
One of the first things you'll notice when you start working on a site is how little control HTML gives you. When you create a Web page, you're at the mercy of your viewers ' Web browsers, their bizarre preference settings, and a dozen other details beyond your control. Under these conditions, writing a perfect page feels like trying to compose a 90-minute symphony with a triangle and a pair of castanets.
Faced with these limitations, what's an enterprising Web developer to do? The first step is to learn the basic tags you can use to structure your text by marking up paragraphs, sections, and lists. That's the task you'll tackle in this chapter. The second stepwhich you won't dive into until the next chapteris to apply style sheets , a powerful page formatting technology that lets you unleash your markup skills across multiple pages or even your entire site.