a blog by Christian Snodgrass
about programming, web and game design, and everything else

HTML Lesson 1 – What is HTML?

If you’re reading this article, then you must be an absolute beginner in web development… [b]Congratulations![/b] Congrats on taking the first steps to becoming a real web developer. It’ll be a long, sometimes frustrating journey, but it’ll be worth it in the end. =)

What is HTML?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It’s essentially the skeleton of any web page. If you right-click and select “View Source” right now, you’ll see a ton lot of HTML. A web page can’t be a web page without HTML.

Brief History of HTML

Here’s a history lesson for you. I know some of you may not like history, so we’ll keep it short and sweet. In 1980, Tim Berners-Lee, the “father” of HTML came up with an idea similar to HTML called ENQUIRE while working for CERN. Eventually he came up with the idea for an Internet-based hypertext system. Hypertext essentially refers to the way that documents are (hyper)linked together. After a few iterations, HTML was eventually born.

Eventually the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was formed in order to manage HTML (and related technologies). They’re the ones who essentially standardize all of this stuff for us. Somewhere along the lines XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 1.1 came about. These were very similar to HTML, with the exception that it is all valid XML (eXtensible Markup Language) as well. XHTML 2.0 was being planned, but kind of died. The current version of HTML that is fully supported is HTML 4.01 Strict. HTML 5 (which has been renamed to just HTML), is underway and can be used to a limited degree here and there.

Told you it was brief. ;) If you want to learn more, you can read about HTML on Wikipedia.

What’s Next?

Now that you know (incredibly vaguely) what HTML is, head on over to the next lesson to learn the basics of HTML.


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