Webmaster Resources Center

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Quick Reference Sheets for Webmasters

Quick Reference sheets are packed full of useful information for all webmasters.

HTML Reference Sheet

Links & Anchors

HTML offers many of the conventional publishing idioms for rich text and structured documents, but what separates it from most other markup languages is its features for hypertext and interactive documents. This section introduces the link (or hyperlink, or Web link), the basic hypertext construct. A link is a connection from one Web resource to another. Although a simple concept, the link has been one of the primary forces driving the success of the Web.

A link has two ends -- called anchors -- and a direction. The link starts at the "source" anchor and points to the "destination" anchor, which may be any Web resource (e.g., an image, a video clip, a sound bite, a program, an HTML document, an element within an HTML document, etc.).

Visiting a linked resource

The default behavior associated with a link is the retrieval of another Web resource. This behavior is commonly and implicitly obtained by selecting the link (e.g., by clicking, through keyboard input, etc.).

The following HTML excerpt contains two links, one whose destination anchor is an HTML document named "chapter2.html" and the other whose destination anchor is a GIF image in the file "forest.gif":

<body>
...some text...
<p>
You'll find a lot more in <a href="chapter2.html">chapter two</a>.
See also this <a href="../images/forest.gif">map of the enchanted forest.</a>
</body>

By activating these links (by clicking with the mouse, through keyboard input, voice commands, etc.), users may visit these resources. Note that the href attribute in each source anchor specifies the address of the destination anchor with a URL.

We will get into greater detail about links and anchors in the HTML Tag List.