July 24, 2010

Take these HTML Challenges to finetune your HTML skills.

Use the following HTML Challenges to hone your decision making skills... should I use an

element or a element?

It's important while doing these challenges to not think about how the page will be displayed yet, but instead focus on creating meaningful mark-up!

Challenge 1: Which heading to choose?

OK, let's get started! This first challenge builds on the skills you developed in What is HTML, helping you to decide when to use an

heading and when to use an


Activity: Which heading to choose?
This is what your finished page should look like in your browser
Copy-n-paste the following html into a new text-file (in Notepad or your preferred text editor) and save your file with the name html_challenge1.html.
Open your file in a web browser and compare it to the image displayed here (you can right-click on the image to open a larger version in another window or tab).
Your challenge is to add

  • headings (




  • paragraphs (

  • emphasis and strong ( and )

so that your page looks like the one in the image!


    A sundial measures time by the position of the sun. The most commonly seen designs, such as the
    'ordinary' or standard garden sundial, cast a shadow on a flat surface marked with the hours of
    the day. As the position of the sun changes, the time indicated by the shadow changes. However,
    sundials can be designed for any surface where a fixed object casts a predictable shadow.
    Most sundial designs indicate apparent solar time. Minor design variations can measure standard
    and daylight saving time, as well.

    Sundials in the form of obelisks (3500 BC) and shadow clocks (1500 BC) are known from ancient
    Egypt, and were developed further by other cultures, including the Chinese, Greek, and Roman
    cultures. A type of sundial without gnomon is described in the old Old Testament
    (Isaiah 38:2).
    The mathematician and astronomer Theodosius of Bithynia (ca. 160 BC-ca. 100 BC) is said to have
    invented a universal sundial that could be used anywhere on Earth. The French astronomer Oronce
    Fine constructed a sundial of ivory in 1524. The Italian astronomer Giovanni Padovani published
    a treatise on the sundial in 1570, in which he included instructions for the manufacture and 
    laying out of mural (vertical) and horizontal sundials. Giuseppe Biancani's Constructio 
    instrumenti ad horologia solaria discusses how to make a perfect sundial, with accompanying 
    Installation of standard sundials

    Many ornamental sundials are designed to be used at 45 degrees north. By tilting such a 
    sundial, it may be installed so that it will keep time. However, some mass-produced garden 
    sundials are inaccurate because of poor design and cannot be corrected. A sundial designed for 
    one latitude can be adjusted for use at another latitude by tilting its base so that its style 
    or gnomon is parallel to the Earth's axis of rotation, so that it points at the north celestial
    pole in the northern hemisphere, or the south celestial pole in the southern hemisphere.
    A local standard time zone is nominally 15 degrees wide, but may be modified to follow 
    geographic and political boundaries. A sundial can be rotated around its style or gnomon (which
    must remain pointed at the celestial pole) to adjust to the local time zone. In most cases, a 
    rotation in the range of 7.5 degrees east to 23 degrees west suffices.
    To correct for daylight saving time, a face needs two sets of numerals or a correction table. 
    An informal standard is to have numerals in hot colors for summer, and in cool colors for 
    winter. Rotating the sundial will not work well because most sundials do not have equal hour 
    Ordinary sundials do not correct apparent solar time to clock time. There is a 15 minute 
    variation through the year, known as the equation of time, because the Earth's orbit is 
    slightly elliptical and its axis is tilted relative to the plane of its orbit. A quality 
    sundial will include a permanently-mounted table or graph giving this correction for at least 
    each month of the year. Some more-complex sundials have curved hour-lines, curved gnomons or 
    other arrangements to directly display the clock time.
Note: Yes, it's true, a web browser will display the h1 heading very large, and the h6 heading quite small, and all the other headings in between! But don't get into the habit of selecting an h4 heading because it displays with the size that you're after! You can always modify the size of your elements using your stylesheet (more on that later).
The key is to use the headings to structure your information in a useful (and meaningful) way! For example, every page should only ever have one main heading - your h1 heading. An h2 heading should only ever be a sub-heading of your h1 heading. Similarly, an h3 heading should only ever be a sub-heading of an h2 heading etc.
Once you are happy with your work (and have checked it in your browser), read through Paragraphs and Headings tutorial over at Wikibooks and compare your markup! Make sure you chat about the decisions you made with someone around you if possible!
Once you're all finished, read through the following excellent snippets from HTML dog as a summary of what you've learned:

Challenge 2: Hyperlinks

For help with this challenge, you can refer to the HTML Dog's Link Tutorial.

Local Link

Save your page as links.html and add a link to another page (if you already have an index.html page this would be a good candidate).

Global Links

Add some links to Google.com and this HTML challenges page (don't forget the http:// bit at the beginning! Try it without and see what happens).

Internal Links

Internal links let you link to parts of the same page, like the table of contents at the top of this page.
Create a longish page (use the Lipsum Generator to painlessly create a big block of text), add an identifier about halfway down the page, and put a link to it at the top of the page.
Now add another identifier to the top of the page, and add a 'Top of page' link at your halfway mark so you can quickly navigate from top to halfway and back again.
(For bonus points, make a link that goes straight to the Hyperlinks heading on this page! How can you find out what identifier you need to link to?)

Creating an email hyperlink

Add a hyperlink to your email address. When a visitor clicks on the link it should open up their email software with your email address filled in and the subject line set to say "Hello".
You'll have to search to find out how to do this one! What words are best to get the information you need?
For merit points consider:

  • why email links might not be such a good idea

  • how to avoid some of the problems they create

Challenge 3: Tables for tabular data

An HTML table with tabular data!

  • You'll need to add a bit of style, too (borders for your table and td elements)!

  • You shouldn't need to add any bold to get your heading looking like a heading.

  • As always, validate your page to make sure you've got everything in the right place.

Challenge 4: Lists, lists and more lists

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