What Is HTML, And What Is It For?
In such a digitized world, every day, we go to web pages to do all kinds of things, from simple research to watching a video or buying something online. And each of these actions has something in common: the use of HTML.
If you want to know more about websites and how to develop yours, you must understand the essential tools to create them.
One of them is HTML, a mark-up language used to produce and structure the content of a web page. This article will explore what HTML is, what it is for, and how it has evolved over the years.
How Is HTML Defined?
HTML is a language that is a fundamental aspect of current web pages since it is the most used for building websites. There are other alternatives, of course, but their use is fully standardized.
Its base is based on multiple tags that structure the content displayed on a website, specifying how it should be positioned, what the hierarchy is, and other aspects.
When you enter a web page, you will not see the HTML code unless you press the “F12” key, where you will be shown the code that supplements the content customarily displayed. It sounds very technical, but it’s not as complex as you might think if you’re new to it.
This language has become a ubiquitous tool for creating web pages, so you must know and become familiar with it if you are in the web universe.
Of course, depending on what is sought, a higher or lower knowledge of the language will be necessary. With basic knowledge, you can create blog posts from code, while with advanced knowledge, you can make incredibly complete web applications.
What Are HTML Tags?
This language comprises HTML tags, a set of codes that allow you to specify the characteristics of the content. Aspects such as the structure are possible to determine, thanks to them.
The main aspect that allows defining an HTML tag is that it comprises angle brackets that demarcate the inner order. Together, they will enable you to determine what factors must be fulfilled by what is between an opening tag and a closing tag.
To simplify the explanation, when an HTML document is created, it is opened with the opening tag “<html>” and, when the code ends, a closing tag is used that varies only in the use of a slash, for example “< /html> .”
What Is HTML For?
HTML has many applications. Some time ago, it was more limited, but nowadays, it allows you to build text content and add images, videos, music, external integrations, and other multimedia elements. Come on, it’s an SUV!
Thanks to this, web pages are much more attractive to users, and developers have more creative possibilities and functionalities to create a fantastic website.
You can also build contact forms, links to external or internal pages, buttons… in short, many elements that enrich the visitor’s experience. And it is that HTML has many uses; it just depends on how it is used to achieve great results with your web page.
Is It Only For Web Pages?
In its origins, it could be said that it was, but currently, and since its latest updates, this has changed. You can no longer only make static web pages, characterized by not having great dynamism or elements that change with user interaction.
On the other hand, only with HTML is it possible to generate dynamic web pages, which offer a significant number of possibilities with the user’s intervention. An example of an active page is the market place, as would be the example of massive Meta platforms (formerly Facebook).
But the thing does not end there since HTML also allows the creation of applications for mobile devices. In this sense, it provides options such as adaptation to different formats according to the need for storage of information on the devices, among other very advantageous characteristics, which improve the customer experience, even allowing its use without an Internet connection. It’s a true marvel.
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Evolution Of HTML Since Its Creation
HTML originated in the 1990s and has been improving as the adoption of this language has increased worldwide. Hand in hand, the need to expand its functionalities gradually improved it until what we know today.
Thus, it was not a short path, but it was very fruitful since it is the base on which practically all today’s websites are based. And this is thanks to its progress and evolution, which have been meteoric.
In its initial phase, HTML was much more limited than today, being one of the significant changes that the arrival of the HTML5 version underwent.
This, by the way, is the one that is still valid, eliminating the need to use the Flash plugin to support multimedia. Now you can do it natively. It was a complete paradigm shift. However, we will review other versions so that you can see first-hand the evolution and history of HTML.
The First HTML 1.0 Version
In 1991, the first version of the HTML language was created with a specific and local purpose, which responded to the need to share information among the CERN scientific community.
For this, this language is created, and, given its success in functionality, it is being massively improved and adapted as the Internet grows. It is a decisive factor in the development of the digital world as we know it today, although, at that time, there was perhaps no awareness of it.
Interestingly, this language was produced with only 20 tags, and although more than 30 years have passed, 13 of these original ones are still maintained in the latest version of HTML.
Last Major Update, HTML 5.0
Over time, the language was improved, adding tags and functionality and removing not-so-useful features. But it would be in 2014 when this language reached its last major update. Noting that, in 2021, version 5.3 came out, but it still belongs to HTML5.
When the HTML5 version comes out, new tags are included, and the possibility of developing more complex applications more efficiently, using fewer additional plugins.
The best-known feature added to this version was native multimedia support, so with HTML5, you could insert videos, audio, and images without using Flash, as we mentioned before.
Undoubtedly, improvements like this were the ones that ended up positioning this language as the world’s favourite. And what’s left?
The Use Of HTML And Other Technologies
Although it is a powerful tool, HTML is a mark-up language; therefore, it cannot and does not pretend to cover all the aspects needed to make a web page.
Due to this, its functions are combined with those of other languages to build a web page or a specific application that meets the needs of each project.
This is also a very versatile language with which complex applications can be generated, mainly if combined with other languages.
CSS And HTML: A Winning Combination
A combination that is common in web page development is HTML and CSS. And it is that the second provides the possibility of giving design and graphic style to websites.
The entire graphic section is modified from the CSS code, from the colours to the fonts and other aspects we may want to touch.
Apart from the languages used with HTML on the front end of a web page, other languages manage servers, databases, and much more complex applications, such as PHP, Python, and Ruby.
These are used to generate e-commerce and web applications with a wide range of functions and complexity and data processing, among other advanced functions. They are a separate topic and tremendously valuable for most current technologies.
It is expected that, on occasions, these languages are confused as if they were just one since the three are widely used on a web page. However, each one has its different functions and characteristics.
In the case of HTML, it is the language responsible for giving structure to the content and the basis of the web page. At the same time, CSS sets the appearance and style aspects of the elements that HTML has added.
In general terms, each language has its functions. Even if they are combined in a powerful tool, it is essential to know the capabilities and limitations of each one to get the most out of them for your project.
What Is The Difference Between HTML And HTML5?
From its creation to the present, more than 30 years have passed, so these two versions have huge differences. The evolution has been decisive and logical; it is very noticeable in the latest versions.
One aspect that marked a before and after in web design with HTML was the ability to support multimedia. So, only with HTML5 can you easily add audio and video content without installing third-party software.
From then on, support for Flash was gradually dropped until it almost disappeared entirely due to the security vulnerabilities it created. Today, so to speak, we have already said goodbye to Flash.
Semantics And Structure
The semantics were optimized so that everything would be more harmonious with the search engines, which began to interpret the structures of the web pages more efficiently. This made them more accessible to users and more straightforward to index, which logically has a significant impact at the SEO level.
Web Applications And Complex Pages
HTML5 allows the construction of web pages to be made accessible to people who do not know how to use the language since, thanks to this version, excellent HTML editors could be created. Yes, it is one of those that anyone can use.
They offered real-time communication and interactive and modular design with features like drag and drop and the ability to store data on devices to view a page without an Internet connection. At the time, this was revolutionary.
Of course, these functions are much better today, especially with the integration of artificial intelligence. Again, it’s for a separate topic.
Scalability On Other Devices
Finally, among the aspects that most differentiate the first version from the last one, which came out in 2014 and marked a before and after, is the scalability of websites for mobile devices.
This option allows a web page to display correctly on different mobile devices, even if screen formats differ.
With this new option, HTML5 substantially improves the user experience on smartphones and tablets without involving complex work for developers.
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