Hyper Text Markup Language

HTML is a Markup Language, used to build Web Sites. A markup language is a method of marking up text with semantics or presentation attributes (usually the latter, since very few people seem to be able to grok semantic markup). HTML is the markup language used for World Wide Web content, i.e. Internet Explorer and Net Scape can interpret the tags in HTML.

HTML is also the most maddeningly frustrating markup to use, because of its lack of any standard implementation. This has its roots in Net Scape's shameless "extension" practices to try to oust all other browsers in the market. Micro Soft, once they had a viable browser engine, picked up on this concept later. Today we have good, well-thought-out, written standards, but nobody seems as quick to implement them as they do to pay lip service to them. The closest we have to real, quality standards implementations are The Mozilla Project and The Khtml Engine.

If you write HTML for a living, you might be Just An Html Coder.


You can find the W3C 'recommendations' for HTML/XHTML: www.w3.org but how these become implemented is another matter entirely. I agree about the uneven implementation so far, but browser-wise, things are looking up. The real battle is to get those writing HTML to adopt the standards, something organizations like the Web Standards Project www.webstandards.org are encouraging. Beneath these partly-implemented recommendations there are many guides to writing HTML that 'degrades gracefully' under less and less compliant browsers, but still does the fancy stuff on compliant ones. For me, one of the biggest current bugbears is the uneven implementation of Cascading Style Sheets. I could go on and on about this - it's a bit of a speciality of mine. But let's see who else is interested.

Although HTML is not programming as such, I consider markup languages (including such devices as the 'tags' used in QuarkXPress) to be as much part of the programmer's world as other kinds of language. After all, Ted Nelsons Hyper Text and the SGML superset of which HTML is a subset are as crucial to many of the things we now take for granted as (say) C++. -- Dave Everitt


As it turns out, Tim Berners Lee regarded HTML as the least important element of the WWW triad, after URIs and HTTP. He also never intended for people to compose HTML by hand. His vision was for the browser and editor to be incorporated, but as it turned out, folks who worked on the browsers apparently didn't find editors "sexy" enough.

Too bad he didn't go on with that... Maybe he would've created some system of automatically interconnected pages that any user could edit... No, that seems too unrealistic :)


Guides to learning HTML: Learning Html And Css


Extremely easy to use. Read by all Web browsers, and most office suites.

May be replaced soon by XML, which is content-based markup, pure and simple. With XML, you must use Cascading Style Sheets to define presentation. Style sheets can be used with HTML, but are not strictly necessary.

IMHO, HTML should be a de facto standard file format for file-sharing, that is, when plain old ASCII isn't "good enough".

Largely considered broken (at least by me). HTML 4/XHTML 1 is an unholy mix of almost everything imaginable, including ancient presentational baggage and inconsistent bloat. Pedantic people should beware of this frustrating language, which, in combination with incomplete implementations of the various levels of Cascading Style Sheets still requires slews of ugly hacks and illogical markup.


The next major version of HTML drops all the worthless baggage and starts fresh, though. In theory, XHTML 2.0 would bring HTML back to what it should be: a logical document markup language. Essentially, it would be like HTML 2 all over again, only as XML with a fixed logical structure (no more

s and
s: enter
and ) and more thought put into it.

Yes, I'm ranting again because I'm frustrated with the current state of the WWW. :-)


I've been told by many of the technicians I talk with that activating the html support that is now incorporated into many of the Wiki Dialects I am studying activates intolerable security risks (one of Robert Di Falco's points in 'Why...'). Personally, I use it a lot to get at features that I find help me communicate more effectively, but only in my intranet Wiki. I then 'publish' the same text as standard *.htm files in read-only space I maintain on the net. This allows me to mix and match in a manner I have found efficient, without having to maintain separate source files. Watching my work habits evolve lately, I am forming the opinion that no single environment can possibly be 'best of breed' for all of the tasks I must undertake or users I serve. Hence I find myself creating 'composite' sites where content is spread accross quite a few different wikis and other web sites and I use links to take various user groups to whichever one I think best serves the current need. This does reduce some aspects of the 'community' experience, but mitigates many of the 'personal' biasis of individual users. -- Hans Wobbe



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