HTML & CSS References

HTML Basics

HTML is a computer language that is used to create and structure web pages. HTML code is at the core of every web page and online application we see on the Internet, no matter how complex they are.

What is HTML

HTML is the standard markup language for describing and defining the structure and appearance of a web page.

HTML elements tell web browsers how to render and display content by separately defining pieces of content as a paragraph, a link, a heading, a table, etc. By using HTML tags and elements, you can control the organization, structure, appearance, and functionality of web pages and websites.

HTML is often paired with scripting languages (like JavaScript) or with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which defines the look and layout of web content.


What does HTML stand for?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HyperText refers to any text displayed on a computer or device screen that connects to another document that web users can immediately access. A markup language is a collection of markings that communicate to web servers how a document should be structured, styled, and rendered. That means that instead of using a programming language to perform functions, HTML separates types of content and their functions by using HTML tags (for example, an image tag, opening tag, etc.)


Who invented HTML?

Physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML in the early 1990s as a way to format and connect written material so it could be accessed on the Internet. HTML was first mentioned publicly on the Internet in a document titled “HTML Tags” in 1991 before the first version of HTML (HTML 1.0) was written in 1993.


History of HTML

Although the history of HTML dates back to the initial release of HTML 1.0 in 1993, not much web development was going on at the time. Over the course of the 1990s, new versions of HTML were published regularly, each with new additional features.

HTML 2.0 was published in 1995 and included structural elements for headings, paragraphs, ordered lists, and unordered lists. Building upon that, HTML 3.0 added powerful new features upon its release in 1997, including support for customized lists, horizontal tabs and horizontal alignment of headers and paragraph text, and extended forms with new field types.

Arriving just before the end of the ’90s, HTML 4.0 was wildly successful and remains the set of markup that most large web pages are based on to this day. HTML 4.0 extended HTML with mechanisms for frames, scripting, style sheets, richer tables, embedding objects, and improved accessibility.

HTML5 was then released in its public-facing form in 2008 before being finalized in 2014. HTML5 aimed to provide additional support for the latest multimedia and other new features, it introduced markup and application programming interfaces (APIs) for complex web applications, and it included features geared toward allowing cross-platform mobile application development.


What is HTML used for?

HTML is used for developing websites, creating web documents, and allowing people to navigate the Internet. Web Developers use HTML code to show web browsers how to display web page elements including text, images, media files, hyperlinks, and more. From the perspective of web users, HTML is used for Internet navigation, as hypertext is one of the crucial underlying concepts behind the web.


How does HTML work?

HTML documents are text files that contain specific tags and syntax that can be read by a computer or web browser to render content so that it can be viewed by an Internet user.

Every HTML page is marked up with special syntax called tags that describe how the information should be displayed. Any piece of content that is enclosed within a tag is called an HTML element, while the tags also include name-value pairs called HTML attributes. An element begins with an opening tag, with content in the middle, before a closing tag (for instance, the text you see here would be a paragraph element defined by the <p> tag).

Attributes, meanwhile, provide more information about the element. Any HTML element can have an attribute. They are always specified in the start tag and they usually come in the form of a name/value pair. Common HTML attributes include the href attribute (which is used to specify a link’s destination), the src attribute (used when including an external resource), and width and height attributes to specify the appearance of an image file.

To learn HTML basics, one must follow a number of basic conventions or a page will not be rendered correctly. For instance, every HTML document must begin with a document type declaration, referred to as a root element, essentially letting the computer know that it is viewing an HTML file. This is written as <!DOCTYPE html>.


Is HTML a programming language?

No, HTML is not a programming language. HTML is a markup language, so it adds structure and context to text, but programming languages typically describe a process of “doing” something. HTML does not contain programming logic, conditional statements (like if/else), or the capacity to carry out tasks or handle events on its own. Web pages and database applications typically use HTML in conjunction with a  programming language like JavaScript to display dynamic content.

Learn HTML & CSS Today

Get hands-on experience writing real code while you learn with interactive tutorials in our free online learning platform – no downloads or complicated setup required.

  • Free and fun
  • Designed for beginners
  • No download or setup required