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TarBoard Message Format Guide

TarBoard is written in HTML (Hypertext Markup language), which has its own formatting instructions, and the text you post is also posted as HTML. If you want to be able to make your posts look nicer then you'll need to understand these formatting instructions, but don't worry, they are pretty easy.... as long as this file doesn't become corrupted thus rendering the instructions that should follow as utter Gibber-ish.

Hypertext Tags
(You're it!)

The things that affect the format of the text are Hypertext tags. These are short commands placed within less than "<" and greater than ">" symbols, eg:

Since the < and > symbols are used for this purpose they may not be directly typed into an HTML document - more later on how to go about including them.

In the sections which follow we will introduce some of the tags which can be used for simple text formatting.

Basic Formatting
(Easy stuff)

To formatted your text on TarBoard you need only know a few tags. These are:

  <P>  - New paragraph
<BR> - Line Break
<B> - Start Bold text
</B> - End Bold Text
<I> - Start Italic Text
</I> - End Italic Text

For example to make a piece of text bold you would type:

a piece of text <B>bold</B>
NB. TarBoard automatically inserts <P> and <BR> whenever you
leave a blank line or use a carriage return within the message box.

Special Characters

There are numerous special characters, but these are the most important codes to know:

   &amp;     - Ampersand (&)
&lt; - A less-than sign (<)
&gt; - A greater-than sign (>)
&nbsp; - A 'non-breaking space' ( )
&#64; - at (@)
&copy; - copyright symbol

More special characters HERE.

Colours and Sizes
(The Pretty Stuff!)

Once you have mastered these simple tags you can add a few more which might be useful:

  <font SIZE=+1> </font>       - Change the FONT size
<font COLOR=#FF0000> </font> - Change the FONT colour
<center> </center> - Centered text
<UL> </UL> - Indented text (A list)
<LI> - A bullet - list item

These tags introduce a few new concepts, specifically colours and font sizes. Font Sizes are expressed as a number from 1 to 7. In Netscape the standard size is three. You can either set the font size to something + or - the current size, or to an absolute value. Therefore you could do any of the following:

<font SIZE=4> <font SIZE=+3> <font SIZE=-1>

The font sizes look like the following:

Size 1 Size 2 Size 3 Size 4 Size 5 Size 6 Size 7

Font colours are slightly more difficult, and will not be displayed on anything less than Netscape 2.0 anyway. The colour is specified as a # (hash) followed by three pairs of Hexadecimal digits representing RED, BLUE and GREEN respectively. Each pair runs from 00 to FF (Hex digits are base 16, i.e. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F). Therefore FF0000 is bright red, 00FF00 is bright green and 0000FF is bright blue. Here are a few examples:

  • FF0000 - Red
  • 00FF00 - Green
  • 0000FF - Blue
  • 000000 - Black
  • 444444 - Dark Grey
  • 888888 - Mid Grey
  • DDDDDD - Light Grey
  • FFFFFF - White that one was FFFFFF - white ....
  • 664400 - Brown
  • EEEE00 - Yellow
  • 9900FF - Lilac
  • DD11DD - Purple
  • 990099 - Dark Purple
  • 550055 - Deep Purple
  • 660000 - Deep Red
  • 006600 - Deep Green
  • 000066 - Deep Blue
  • 6699FF - Sky Blue
  • DD8800 - Orange
  • FF0044 - Magenta

More Colours HERE.

Links and Images
(Getting Fancy)

Finally, you can try the most exciting part of HTML, adding images and hypertext links to other documents. To do this you include a tag that specifies the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the target document. Think of the URL as the address of the document. You can copy it from a link in Netscape, or make it yourself. The two most common kinds of URL are:

  • - A Web Page
  • - An email address

To add a hypertext link to another page you specify that the tag will be a Hypertext reference (HREF), cite the URL of the document to link to and then indicate what you would like the name of the link to be (this is what will appear on the notice board):

<a href="URL"> Text of link </a>


<a href="">TarBoard</a>

will produce


Images are typically handled in the same way; using the IMG tag instead of HREF, and only citing the URL of the image:



<IMG SRC="">
Shows the Swallow GIF.

NB. TarBoard oddity - When entering links

i.e. <A HREF = "http://.....">.....</A>.

DO NOT press the key in the middle of a link, since the script interprets this as a forced line break and inserts <BR>. If your URL is long, let it scroll off the edge of the form instead, it will still appear OK

Links of the form <A HREF = "/~tarboard/messages/####.htm">a particular message number ####</A> will work from within messages and the latest message page.

TarBoard auto Links and Images

Using The TarBoard auto link and auto image options on the message posting form

At the end of the nessage posting form are three boxes which automate the task of adding links to messages and save you the task of having to write a little HTML. For links to other web resources - one needs to place the address of the resource you want to link to (known as the  Universal Resource Locator or URL ) in the box labelled:-

"Optional Link URL:"

It must start with "http://"

then put a title for the link in the box labelled :-

"Link Title :"

N.B. If you forget the title - no link will be formed.

To include an image which is on another web site - just place the URL of the image,
starting with "http://" - in the box labelled

"Optional Image URL:"

This page was written by David Donachie
(edited by George Smith 11,07,96, I.E-N 09,05,02 and A. Goltz/W. Newall 24,10,08)
and was "stolen" (with permission) from
before being mucked around a bit..

The Board itself is managed by a heavily modified Matt Wright PERL script.

TarBoard was created by Ian Edmondson and managed and honed by him between 1996 and 2008. Three million cheers for Ian!
He handed TarBoard on to a new crew in 2008, when the code was sandblasted, some bits were knocked off, the holes were welded up and was given only one coat of varnish by Woll Newall.