A Brief History of HTML

In the late 1980s, Tim Berners-Lee was working as a physicist at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). He devised a way for scientists to share documents over the internet. Prior to his invention, communication via the internet was limited to plain text, using technologies such as email, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and Usenet-based discussion boards.

The invention of HTML made use of a model of content stored on a central server that could be transferred and displayed on a local workstation via a browser. It simplified access to content and enabled the display of “rich” content (such as sophisticated text formatting and the display of images).

What is HTML?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a markup language. Hypertext Markup Language is a language for describing how text, graphics, and files containing other information are organized and linked together. Hypertext originally meant text stored in electronic form with cross-reference links between pages. It tells the web browser how to display content.

HTML separates “content” (words, images, audio, video, and so on) from “presentation” (the definition of the type of content and the instructions for how that type of content should be displayed). HTML uses a pre-defined set of elements to identify content types. Elements contain one or more “tags” that contain or express content. Tags are surrounded by angle brackets, and the “closing” tag (the one that indicates the end of the content) is prefixed by a forward slash.

A Basic HTML Document

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Sample page</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Sample page</h1>
<p>This is a <a href=”demo.html”>simple</a> sample.</p>
<!– this is a comment –>
</body>
</html>

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