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HTML – a brief explanation

What is HTML?HTML is a computer language which was developed in 1980 for the creation of websites.  Constantly undergoing revision and evolution, it has powerful capabilities but also some drawbacks.

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.

HyperText is the method by which you move around on the web by the use of hyperlinks.

Markup is the term given to the HTML ‘tags’ which determine the sections of code.

Language is the HTML code as a whole.

Along with CSS and Javascript, HTML it is a main building block of all webpages and is read by all internet browsers to render the website as a visible or audible web page.

It’s classed as a ‘Markup’ language rather than a programming language because its main task is to describe the structure of a webpage rather than building it, although it is also capable of that to a degree.  It allows images and objects to be embedded in webpages and can even be used to create interactive forms.

The language is written in the form of HTML ‘elements’ which consist of tags enclosed in angle brackets (< and >). For example, <head> or <body>.

Browsers do not display these tags but use them to interpret how the content they are reading should be displayed.

HTML is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

How does it work?

HTML consists of a series of codes, the ‘Tags’ which are typed into a text file.  This text file is then saved as an html file which can be viewed by internet browsers.

The browser reads the file and translates the text and codes into a visible webpage.  Unfortunately, different browsers may read the code in different ways leading to misinterpretations and this is where HTML needs the implementation of newer, more modern languages, such as CSS.

What are the tags?

The tags are what separate the normal text from HTML code.  Any words in between the angled brackets are classed as tags and different tags perform different functions.

The simplest tags do nothing more than apply simple formatting to text such as the following example:

This text is not bold, <b>but this will be bold because its in between the two tags that depict that it should be bold</b> and this will not.

The forward slash tells the browser that the initial tags has now ended.

Issues using HTML

HTML is constantly updated and modified to keep it up to date and from time to time certain parts of it become classed as redundant and are replaced with other methods/language styles, such as CSS (Cascading Sheet Styles).

There have been many versions of HTML and HTML5 is the latest.

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