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What does HTML mean?

The exchange of information digitally was not possible before the development of the World Wide Web (WWW), of which HTML is a component. In 1989, a project of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was concerned with making research results from Switzerland and France quickly accessible to each other. Thus, the first HTML version appeared on November 3, 1992.

HTML serves as the basis for the World Wide Web

HTML is the abbreviation for “Hypertext Markup Language” which means the description language for texts with links. It is not a programming language, because HTML is a text-based markup language. Its task is to present content such as hyperlinks, images and text in a structured way in a document and also offer the option of sharing this content digitally. No special program is required to create HTML files. However, so-called HTML editors are offered for a better overview and simplification. Alternatively, any word processing program can be used.

HTML files are also characterized by the fact that they are not dependent on any platform. Such an HTML document can be displayed regardless of which operating system a computer is using. HTML is the most important basis for the World Wide Web, as all hardware and software is represented in a common network and must understand each other. HTML is now considered the standard language and is therefore the reason for the enormous success of the Internet.

Contents of an HTML document

The document type is defined at the beginning.

These include, for example, HTML 4.01, DE for German, EN for English, etc.

The documentary and technical information is contained in the head. The title, which the browser displays in its title bar, is declared.

The various meta data(meta) can contain the author, the keywords, the language, a short description of the page and much more. The “link” instruction leads to other, external resources. External style information (CSS files) are often integrated, which are responsible for the layout of the website. The aforementioned header is not displayed in the browser. Thebody contains the actual content of the website.

Previous knowledge is not necessary

Even if a user has not dealt with HTML before, anyone can read an HTML file opened in a text program. The contents of the output in a web browser are structured by commands in brackets in the text. These can be, for example These can be instructions for formatting texts, for calling up another document (further hyperlinks) or for displaying graphics.

A browser is required for the correct execution and interpretation of commands in HTML documents. As soon as an HTML file is faulty, this does not cause the browser to crash, but the file is ignored. Depending on requirements and the desired range of functions, most browsers can usually be downloaded free of charge from the Internet and installed on the PC.

Monitored further development of HTML

The following organizations are developing HTML uniformly to maintain the standard:

  • W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
  • WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group)

HTML5 has been the latest version since October 2014. In January 2000, HTML 4.01 was reformulated using XML (Extensible Markup Language). This gave rise to XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language = extensible HTML). The further development of XHTML 2009 was discontinued in favor of HTML5.

HTML5 offers many new functions based on XHTML and HTML 4.01. For example, this version directly supports videos, dynamic 2D and 3D graphics and audio. This was previously only possible with HTML 4.01 using additional plug-ins such as Adobe Flash.

The consequences of this can be seen in the fierce competition between individual companies offering browsers. In most cases, such browsers can do more than they are actually allowed to, as they often do not adhere to the latest HTML standards. As a result, not every website can be displayed in exactly the same way in every browser. It is therefore often very difficult for website designers to design a page in such a way that every user, regardless of which browser they use, can view every website correctly. As soon as these differences are not taken into account, this means a loss of visitors.