August 14, 2011

HTML Definition

HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages.

HTML is written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags, enclosed in angle brackets (like ), within the web page content. HTML tags normally come in pairs like and

. The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag (they are also called opening tags and closing tags). In between these tags web designers can add text, tables, images, etc..

The purpose of a web browser is to read HTML documents and compose them into visual or audible web pages. The browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses the tags to interpret the content of the page.

HTML elements form the building blocks of all websites. HTML allows images and objects to be embedded and can be used to create interactive forms. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items. It can embed scripts in languages such as JavaScript which affect the behavior of HTML webpages.

Web browsers can also refer to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the appearance and layout of text and other material. The W3C, maintainer of both the HTML and the CSS standards, encourages the use of CSS over explicitly presentational HTML markup.

In 1980, physicist Tim Berners-Lee, who was a contractor at CERN, proposed and prototyped ENQUIRE, a system for CERN researchers to use and share documents. In 1989, Berners-Lee wrote a memo proposing an Internet-based hypertext system. Berners-Lee specified HTML and wrote the browser and server software in the last part of 1990. In that year, Berners-Lee and CERN data systems engineer Robert Cailliau collaborated on a joint request for funding, but the project was not formally adopted by CERN. In his personal notes from 1990 he lists "some of the many areas in which hypertext is used" and puts an encyclopedia first.

The first publicly available description of HTML was a document called HTML Tags, first mentioned on the Internet by Berners-Lee in late 1991. It describes 20 elements comprising the initial, relatively simple design of HTML. Except for the hyperlink tag, these were strongly influenced by SGMLguid, an in-house SGML based documentation format at CERN. Thirteen of these elements still exist in HTML 4.

Hypertext markup language is a markup language that web browsers use to interpret and compose text, images and other material into visual or audible web pages. Default characteristics for every item of HTML markup are defined in the browser, and these characteristics can be altered or enhanced by the web page designer's additional use of CSS. Many of the text elements are found in the 1988 ISO technical report TR 9537 Techniques for using SGML, which in turn covers the features of early text formatting languages such as that used by the RUNOFF command developed in the early 1960s for the CTSS (Compatible Time-Sharing System) operating system: these formatting commands were derived from the commands used by typesetters to manually format documents. However, the SGML concept of generalized markup is based on elements (nested annotated ranges with attributes) rather than merely print effects, with also the separation of structure and processing; HTML has been progressively moved in this direction with CSS.


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