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HTML Introduction


HTML is the standard markup language for creating Web pages.


What is HTML?

  • HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
  • HTML is the standard markup language for creating Web pages
  • HTML describes the structure of a Web page
  • HTML consists of a series of elements
  • HTML elements tell the browser how to display the content
  • HTML elements label pieces of content such as "this is a heading", "this is a paragraph", "this is a link", etc.

A Simple HTML Document

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Page Title</title>
</head>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>
Try it Yourself »

Example Explained

  • The <!DOCTYPE html> declaration defines that this document is an HTML5 document
  • The <html> element is the root element of an HTML page
  • The <head> element contains meta information about the HTML page
  • The <title> element specifies a title for the HTML page (which is shown in the browser's title bar or in the page's tab)
  • The <body> element defines the document's body, and is a container for all the visible contents, such as headings, paragraphs, images, hyperlinks, tables, lists, etc.
  • The <h1> element defines a large heading
  • The <p> element defines a paragraph

What is an HTML Element?

An HTML element is defined by a start tag, some content, and an end tag:

<tagname> Content goes here... </tagname>

The HTML element is everything from the start tag to the end tag:

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
Start tag Element content End tag
<h1> My First Heading </h1>
<p> My first paragraph. </p>
<br> none none

Note: Some HTML elements have no content (like the <br> element). These elements are called empty elements. Empty elements do not have an end tag!



Web Browsers

The purpose of a web browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari) is to read HTML documents and display them correctly.

A browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses them to determine how to display the document:

View in Browser


HTML Page Structure

Below is a visualization of an HTML page structure:

<html>
<head>
<title>Page title</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.</p>
<p>This is another paragraph.</p>
</body>
</html>

Note: The content inside the <body> section (the white area above) will be displayed in a browser. The content inside the <title> element will be shown in the browser's title bar or in the page's tab.


HTML History

Since the early days of the World Wide Web, there have been many versions of HTML:

Year Version
1989 Tim Berners-Lee invented www
1991 Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML
1993 Dave Raggett drafted HTML+
1995 HTML Working Group defined HTML 2.0
1997 W3C Recommendation: HTML 3.2
1999 W3C Recommendation: HTML 4.01
2000 W3C Recommendation: XHTML 1.0
2008 WHATWG HTML5 First Public Draft
2012 WHATWG HTML5 Living Standard
2014 W3C Recommendation: HTML5
2016 W3C Candidate Recommendation: HTML 5.1
2017 W3C Recommendation: HTML5.1 2nd Edition
2017 W3C Recommendation: HTML5.2

This tutorial follows the latest HTML5 standard.