What is HTML?

What is HTML?

Unless you have lived a very secluded and sheltered life for the past 25 years, you have probably heard HTML thrown around in pretty much any conversation that is about the World Wide Web. Chances are you have probably nodded your head in agreement and had no idea what the other person was talking about. Do not fret! You are not alone, and it is okay. To look at the definition of HTML, we must travel back in time briefly to find out how the WWW got its start.

Imagine working on a research project in today’s world, and not having the capabilities to Google your references, locate articles in scientific journals, or simply being able to share your files with others. Back in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN and thought of a way for other researchers from all over the world to be able to have access to the work that was being performed on particle physics there. Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, was born.

Basic HTML Template - Text Editor View
Basic HTML Template – Text Editor View

Although it was not officially released until 1995, Tm Berners-Lee began writing the Hypertext Markup Language in 1990. HTML has since been updated throughout the years to accommodate for technological advances. In its current version, HTML 5 consists of a series of opening and closing tags with elements that wrap around your web content.

This description might not make much sense, but once you understand HTML language it is really that simple. There are endless possibilities and HTML 5 gives you the ability to structure your content in a much better way.

Writing your code and adding your content is just the first of many steps along the way. Luckily, this process makes it easy to edit and make changes if something is not working out like you had envisioned. You can add and remove things as you go but make sure you always include an opening and closing tag around your elements! This will save you hours of frustration trying to figure out why your code is not working!

Basic HTML Template - Web View
Basic HTML Template – Web View

Once you have a good, basic layout you can preview your site and get an idea of how everything will come together. Unless you have already linked up a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), there is not much to look at in your preview. We will talk more about CSS later, but for now you have a basic website layout that can be fully customized to your or your client’s specifications. Look for our upcoming post about Cascading Style Sheets to find out more about design and customization.