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What is HTML?

14th November 2011
Categories: basics, html

There are many huge and cumbersome problems with the internet; one of them is HTML.

Allow me to explain. In the beginning, the internet was not synonymous with the world wide web. The internet was a network of computers, as you might have in any office. The communication between those computers was typically related to transfer of files, or instructions, or people running text-based programs on a remote computer.

Independently of the internet, a system called 'Hypertext' was developed, which allowed you to create a document with 'forks' or 'links' to other parts of the document. Interestingly enough, Jorge Louis Borges is credited with developing the first 'hypertext novel', The garden of forking paths.

Tim Berners-Lee is the genius who put hypertext, the internet, and other elements together to create the world wide web. Using the web you could connect to a remote computer to look at scientific documents and browse around them following the links.

Web page creators needed nothing more than a text editor to create hypertext markup language (HTML) documents ('Markup' refers to the way that ordinary text is 'marked' or 'tagged'):

“<b>” means bold, while “</b>” means end bold. so in a web page, the markup:

come to my <b>party</b>

would look like:

come to my party

<i>is for italic, <u>for underline,

So the following HTML:

<p>Visit the <a href="">oxford web website </a>for more <i>info</i>

would look like this on a web page:

Visit the oxford web website for more info

As HTML evolved, though, the markup became less about how things should look than about what sort of things they were. So as a simple example,

<h1>this is a header</h1>

but it's something else, a stylesheet, that tells the browser how to display “h1” headers. And we'll visit CSS in another blog post.




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