Getting to know HTML

Getting to know HTML

An effective web design is indispensable in providing its visitors a pleasant and classy experience while viewing the website.  Any website must be aesthetic, creative, interactive, and reliable. It must be compatible with today’s major browsers and varying screen-resolutions from client to client.

Today web-developers are not only business professionals but aficionado individuals eager to learn web development. HTML lies at the heart of effective web-development & web-designing and is the basic building block for any web-development you can think about.

Here we attempt to give you a quick guide about what HTML is all about, and how does it empower you, as well as underline the potentials and limitations of HTML.

What is HTML?

HTML is the acronym of HyperText Markup Language.  Markup languages are used to format, present and process text. Any markup language includes codes or tags to specify the format, layout and style of text to be presented. Though HTML is the most widely used markup language, other markup languages are Math Markup Language, Lilypond, DocBook,RFT etc. defines markup language as:
Markup refers to the sequence of characters or other symbols that you insert at certain places in a text or word processing file to indicate how the file should look.

In order to define the look of the document you can either insert tags or you can use HTML WYSIWYG editors which make editing all the more easy. While using editors you do not necessarily need to know the code.

HTML is not a programming language

HTML is not a programming language. As it is primarily used for formatting text, hence HTML is a markup language. However HTML inherits few features of a programming language. For example; inserting comments to make code more comprehensible. A simple reason why HTML is not a programming language is that one cannot use HTML to create programs. HTML neither requires you to specify “logic”; it merely specifies the look or format of your document.

The people who deal with HTML are either designers or developers not programmers. However we can say developing advanced webpages with flash or Silverlight embedded content is where traditional programming meets webpages, as flash requires ActionScript while Silverlight requires programming in .NET framework. Moreover, HTML is far easier to learn than any other programming language.


The markup language HTML can be used to format almost any type of electronic document that you need to present on your webpage. HTML empowers you to format documents and link them to each other. The important factor is that the file formatted with HTML and viewed on web-browser will appear the same on any computer regardless of the type of computer used to create the document originally.

The need of HTML arose when numerous software appeared for one purpose. So many text editors, spreadsheet editors, word processors, etc. Now there was a requirement of presenting homogenous text. HTML was written as plain text that any Web browser could present the very same way the writer intended to present it. The webpage will appear the same if viewed in Windows, MAC or UNIX. That is to say, HTML is platform independent.

A markup language such as HTML also plays a vital role in long-distance information sharing. HTML interface separates the text from the format of that text. This implies that information now travels faster. This is because the web browser is now responsible for interpreting the format once you have received the file.

Evolution of HTML

HTML is one of the most continuously evolving languages aiming to bring about efficiency and ease of programming. In the early days of HTML release, it underwent rapid iterations causing a lack of proper standardization across the Internet.

In order to maintain proper standardization, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium founded in 1994) published a list of recommendations or standards for HTML.

HTML 1.0 was the very first release of HTML when a handful of people were engaged in web-development. HTML 2.0 was certainly a language for a larger group of web-developers. HTML 2.0 combined the features of the older version and added some core features. HTML 2.0 remained the standard for web-site development until 1997.

HTML 3.0 emerged as a result of a desire from web developers to have an enhanced look for their website in the era of ‘Netscape Navigator’. The language included many tags enabling designers to render revolutionary web designs. However the browsers then were unpleasantly slow and inefficient to allow implementation of these tags. As a result HTML 3.0 failed. However it was learned from this failure that design improvements must be modular to cope with browser shortcomings.

HTML 3.2 was the first contribution of W3C in the standardization. HTML 3.2 became the official standard in 1997. HTML 4.0 was the last step in the evolution of classical HTML. By then HTML also focused on supporting CSS. At the same time XHTML- a new branch of HTML developed.

HTML 5 is so designed to fulfill the designing requirements for about a decade to come by allowing the adoption of the best features of XML and HTML. As a result, the language is undergoing a slower development process.

In the next article about HTML we will look at some commonly used tags on HTML and discuss website publication with HTML.