Markup indicators, also called tags, are commands that are written in some type of computer markup language. One of the most well known markup computer languages is hypertext markup language (HTML). They are used to direct computers or computer networks on what to do. For example, HTML is used to code the text, images, and other features of a website. Each markup indicator gives the web browser a specific command on how to display information. Without these tags, websites would no way of displaying information to the end user.
There are literally hundreds of markup indicators between many various languages, each one giving a very specific command. More than one can be given at one time, and several indicators can be nested inside one another to give several commands at once. This makes the process of coding, or writing, the languages a little less taxing. By combining tags when appropriate, it may also be easier to pinpoint a problem with fewer markup indicators to look through.
In many cases markup indicators may be placed inside of brackets or other symbols to separate them from one another. For example, HTML tags look like this: <font>. All tags in this language are written in this way, with a forward slash being added next to the text to indicate that the command has ended. Other languages may use other symbols to indicate beginnings and ends.
Since writing markup indicators is tedious work, there are software programs available to make creating them easier. In most cases the program creates the tags behind the scenes, while the user simply places text and graphics into a template. Professional programmers and designers should still be aware of how to use markup languages, because changes can still be made with these programs by hand to get the desired affect. Even the slightest variation in commands can render the entire tag ineffective.
Learning to use markup indicators correctly is very important for those who wish to become a web designer or computer programmer. Not all computer languages are markup languages, and markup languages are generally easier to learn than more traditional programming languages. Even so, tags must be written precisely and accurately in order for the tags to do what they are meant to do. There are classes available which are designed to help students learn HTML and other markup languages that are used commonly in various computer applications.