HyperText Markup Language

HyperText Markup Language also known as HTML is the "language" that is used to create documents for the World Wide Web. HTML is not really a language from my point of view, but more like a set of rules how a web document should be layed out. These rules can be used by a web browser to render a page retrieved by the user.

When a HTML page is retrieved the browser reads the file and determines from that file how that page should be dislayed. The browser for instance reads the instruction to place a certain text at a certain part of the page, use a certain font and fontsize for that text and to display that text in a certain color. The next instruction can be that a certain image has to be displayed at a certain location of the page using a specified width and height. So the browser has to retrieve that image from the specified location. Another instruction can be to create a link to a certain URL and that the image, a specified text, both or something else should be part of that link.

It's beyond the scope of this document to tell how exactly a browser renders a home page. It may be clear that not all render engines work the same, because one page may not appear the same way in different browsers, even if they are written for the same platform and installed on the same computer. And this is a drawback to many people, because many authors want to have full control over the way a page appears to the visitor.

HTML can be compared with the things that are displayed by the "under water" screen as was used in WordPerfect 5.1 or 6.0 or the advanced special codes screen in Microsoft Word. With these screens it was possible to see, which markup codes were used within a certain document. For instance: font on, bold on, italic on, text, italic off, bold off, font off. HTML works exactly the same way. The example in the sentence before can be applied litterally to HTML. Another simple similar example for HTML is: link on, link attributes (URL, to which link has to point to and other things), link text, link off.

Links to HTML Tutorials

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