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Simply speaking, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the primary language in which most websites are written. HTML is the language used to create the pages and make them functional.

Created by Tim Berners-Lee and others in the late 1980s, HTML was based on the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which was a much larger document processing system. Like HTML, SGML was intended to describe the structure of content within a document, not that content's actual appearance on the screen or page.

HTML is a language for describing the structure of a document, not its actual presentation, the idea being that most documents, such as web pages, have common elements, such as titles, paragraphs, lists, and so on. HTML defines a set of common styles for web pages, and it defines certain character styles.

HTML does not describe the page layout. For the most part, HTML doesn't say anything about how a page looks when it's viewed. HTML tags merely indicate that an element is a heading, a list, or whatever. It doesn't define how that heading or list is to be formatted. In a sense, besides providing the networking functions to retrieve web pages from the web, browsers double as HTML formatters. When an HTML page is brought up on a browser, like Safari or Chrome, the browser parses the HTML tags and formats the text and images on the screen. Different browsers, running on different platforms, may have different style mappings for each page element. Thus, the same web page might look slightly different when viewed in one browser than it does in another. These differences used to be stark, but standardization has come a long way in recent years.

For the first decade, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was the maintainer of HTML. However, in 2000, HTML became an international standard, and development on HTML5 was conducted by both the W3C and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), who were sometimes at cross purposes. In 2019, it was announced that WHATWG would be the sole publisher of HTML standards, although W3C would still participate in its development.

Among the differences between the two groups, was that the W3C had, as a goal, to produce a finished version of the standard, while WHATWG viewed the language as a living language, continuously under development. As the W3C ceded authority over the language to WHATWG, we can't expect to have a finished language.

HTML5 introduced significant changes to the language. Rather than being simply an extension of HTML4, the current version is a collection of technologies that have been brought under a single umbrella name. Several new HTML tags have been added, and many tags have also been removed. At the same time, two new markup languages (Math Markup Language and Scalable Vector Graphics) are now considered part of HTML. Powerful new audio, video, and graphical features, as well as elements designed to provide machine-readable information to specialist browsers and search engines, have been added to HTML.

In addition, several of the enhancements to HTML5 relate to JavaScript, which has also been extended with several new functions and attributes.

Most of the individual changes in HTML were the result of larger objectives for the language. These included encouraging semantic markup, separating design from content, promoting accessibility and responsiveness, reducing the overlap between HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and supporting media experiences within the language, negating plugins like Flash or Java.

As a result of these changes, learning CSS and JavaScript are no longer optional skills in web design. Many of the deprecated features in HTML were those used to achieve design and styling effects. These are now the domain of CSS.

The goal of this category is to provide resources relating to HTML, such as tutorials, guides, and informational pages. While they may produce HTML documents, web editors are design tools and should be listed in the category representing Internet software rather than in this category.



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