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HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) Overview

Want to Publish on the Internet?

by D1J1T — in HTML — Updated: Feb 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

The goal of the article is to provide a simple overview of the features of HTML. If you are new to web programming, this is a great first step! Though get ready to tackle MANY more advanced languages in order to accomplish all that you desire on the web... HTML is a language that is based on tags. In comparison to other languages, and in my opinion, it is actually quite simple. It it used to define the general structure of elements within a web document.

Due to HTML's popularity, and the fact that it is the main language used to structure a web document, many assume that a programmer that knows HTML is a web developer. This is far from true. Many other skills and languages are required to actually make a fully functional, professional website. Here's an HTML document in one of it's simplest forms:

	  <title> The best web site ever! </title>
    <body> The best web page content you've ever read. </body>

So why is HTML a buzzword even, and what's a tag?

HTML is necessary to define the general structure and elements (headers, paragraphs, lists) of a web page. Again, people sometimes misuse HTML synonymously with "web development" when in fact, a developer should have many other skills. Understand that only the most rudimentary web pages rely only on HTML; most use many other languages as well.

HTML is simply the common language that browsers interpret (though they do so differently) as a web page or document.

Many other languages use HTML: embed it, render it, or are embedded in it. Some of these include CSS, JavaScript, PHP, ASP, SQL, AJAX, JSON, JSP, and many more. Web developers, along with being proficient in other languages, should also have basic graphics skills, basic knowledge of servers, directory structures and some technical writing ability at the very least. Most will have many more skills.

Try this: in your browser, whichever one you are using, view the source code. (Depending on the browser, it may be View->Page Source or similar.) You'll see a lot of < and > symbols. An HTML open tag is in the form <> and a close tag has the form </>. There are many different types of tags (also attributes for each) and specific rules, best practices of course, but this is the heart of the language. Here are some examples:

  • Header: <h1> This is the largest of header types (-h6). </h1>
  • Paragraph: <p> This is the text in my paragraph. </p>
  • Article (HTML5): <article> This is the content in my article. (which probably contains nested tags) </article>

Easy right? Of course many other tags are more complicated, some requiring attributes or other nested tags, some won't work in certain browsers, some are best to use in certain areas/sections. There are SEO concerns for using some. Some won't work at all given deprecation and the different versions of HTML (and other embedded software languages). There are many other applicable factors that are important and should be considered with programming style (mobile devices, responsiveness, load time, UI/UX, capturing data, security, automation, user-friendliness, asthetics, navigation, and much, much more.)

Don't let this discourage you if you're wanting to learn HTML however. Know that it's a great place to start. I'd recommend starting with the newest HTML5 and perhaps consider learning CSS3 & a bit of JavaScript as well.

If you find these articles to be helpful, I could always use another cup of coffee! Social media likes/+1s are also much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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