What is HTML

HyperText Markup Language

The Authoring Language used to create Documents or Web Pages on the Internet

Updated: January 21, 2019
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff


A computer programming language devised to allow website creation. These websites can then be viewed by anyone on the Wold Wide Web. It is fairly easy to learn, And quite powerful in the creation of web sites. Web pages created with HTML are normally viewed in a web browser. They can include writing, links, pictures, and even sound and video. HTML is used to mark and describe each of these kinds of content so the web browser can display them correctly

HTML also defines the structure and layout of a Web document or web page by using a variety of tags and attributes. The correct structure for an HTML document starts with
<HTML> <HEAD> <BODY> and ends with </BODY></HTML>
All the information you would include in your Web page fits in between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags

HTML can be used to add meta information to a web-page

Meta information is usually not shown by web browsers and is data about the web page, e.g., the name of the person who created the page. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is used to style HTML elements while JavaScript is used to manipulate HTML elements and CSS styles

HTML Formatting Tags

There are hundreds of other tags used to format and layout the information in a Web page. Tags are also used to specify hypertext links. These allow Web developers to direct users to other Web pages with only a click of the mouse on either an image or words. For a more complete list of HTML tags, See the WC3 website

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

Created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). There are several versions of HTML. As of September 2018, the current standard of HTML is dubbed HTML 5 and is specifically at version 5.2



The separation of concerns pattern is more rigorously enforced in HTML5 than it was in HTML4. With HTML5, the bold <b> and italicize <i> tags have been deprecated. For the paragraph tag, the align attribute has been completely removed from the HTML specification. For the purpose of backward-compatibility, web browsers will continue to support these deprecated HTML tags, but the changes to the HTML specification do demonstrate the desire of the community for HTML to return to its original purpose of describing the structure of content, while encouraging developers to use cascading style sheets for formatting purposes

HTML tag vs. element vs. attribute

The idea of using text to describe how text should be displayed might sound somewhat paradoxical, but it is not. This is the whole reason why HTML is known as a markup language. Using HTML, a document containing text is further marked up with additional text describing how the document should be displayed. To keep the markup part separate from the actual content of the HTML file, there is a special, distinguishing HTML syntax that is used. These special components are known as HTML tags. The tags can contain name-value pairs known as attributes, and a piece of content that is enclosed within a tag is referred to as an HTML element

What is well-formed HTML?

In order for a web browser to display an HTML page without error, it must be provided with well-formed HTML. To be well-formed, each HTML element must be contained within an Opening tag and a Closing tag
<p> </p>
<h1> </h1>
<div> </div>
Furthermore, any new tag opened within another tag must be closed before the containing tag is closed
Example would be:
<h1><p>Well Formed HTML</p></h1>
This is considered a well formed HTML because they start and end in the same order

HTML Syntax Standards

Another syntax rule is that HTML attributes should be enclosed within single or double quotes. There is often debate about which format is technically correct, but the World Wide Web Consortium asserts that both approaches are acceptable. The best advice for choosing between single and double quotes is to keep the usage consistent across all the documents. HTML style checkers can be used to enforce consistent use across pages. It should be noted that sometimes using a single quote is required, such as in an instance where an attributes value actually contains a double quote character. The reverse is true as well

"Single quote marks can be included within the attribute value when the value is delimited by double quote marks, and vice versa."

How to use and implement HTML

Because HTML is completely text-based, an HTML file can be edited simply by opening it up in a program such as Notepad++, Vi or Emacs. Any text editor can be used to create or edit an HTML file and, so long as the file is created with a .html extension, any web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, will be capable of displaying the file as a web-page. For professional software developers, there are a variety of WYSIWYG editors to develop web pages. NetBeans, IntelliJ, Eclipse and Microsoft's Visual Studio provide WYSIWYG editors as either plug-ins or as standard components, making it incredibly easy to use and implement HTML

These WYSIWYG editors also provide HTML troubleshooting facilities, although modern web browsers often contain web developer plug-ins that will highlight problems with HTML pages, such as a missing end tag or syntax that does not create well-formed HTML. Chrome and Firefox both include HTML developer tools that allow for the immediate viewing of a web page's complete HTML file, along with the ability to edit HTML on the fly and immediately incorporate changes within the browser

The HTML Standard

HTML is a formal recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is generally adhered to by all major web browsers, including both desktop and mobile web browsers. HTML5 is the latest version of the specification

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