HTML – HyperText Markup Language
HyperText Markup Language (or HTML) is the main language used in the source code of websites. HTML is a way of ‘marking up’ normal text so that the web browser knows how to display it.
HTML is described as ‘semantic markup’ as it is there to add meaning to the text document. This is done by surrounding words, paragraphs or sections with certain ‘tags’. For example, if I wanted to markup something as the main heading of a document I would use H1 tags like this:
<h1>This is the heading</h1>
Using these tags a computer (or a person) should be able to tell whether something is a title, heading, paragraph or a link etc. Common tags are:
- <p> – a paragraph
- <strong> – an important word or phrase. Often displayed in bold.
- <em> – emphasis – often displayed in italics
- <a> – a link to another page (or a specific place on a page).
- <div> – a section
- <ul> – an unordered list
- <img> – an image
The HTML standard language is maintained by the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) and there are a number of different versions. The latest version, which is only just starting to be used, is HTML5.
There are default ways of displaying web pages based on their tags but HTML’s main role is describe to structure of a page. CSS should be used to define how the page is actually displayed.