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      By now you should know <square brackets> are used to create html tags. But what if you want to show these on your web page? And what about a "quote"? If you would use it inside a tag, it might be interpreted as the end of an attribute definition, while it is not.


    Special characters like these are constructed with some special code. Consisting of an ampersand (&), an abbreviated description or number, and a semicolon. The < character for example, is described as lt, short for 'less than'. As you may have guessed, a plain ampersand cannot be used in html, as it starts a special character, so it has its own special code.


    There is another good reason for this setup. Computer characters are defined in ASCII (American Standard Characters for Information Interchange). This relatively old (1968) standard originally had only 128 characters, and was later extended to 256 (8 bit or one byte). This is not nearly enough to define all characters used in the world today. Therefore some sections of the ASCII table hold different characters for different countries or languages.
    To complicate things, the same ASCII number can give different characters on different operating systems. In particular with high ASCII, characters above the 128 count. It would probably be wise to use only alphanumeric characters and basic punctuation in html. Everything else had better be defined with the ampersand construct.

    There is a list of special characters, used in html, as defined in the ISO 8859-1 standard.

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