Technical Terms: HTML

HTML, Hypertext Markup Language, is the primary code behind most web pages. Hypertext is the idea that set can contain links to other documents. A markup language is one that includes instructions for styling, links and media along with text. HTML was created by scientist Tim Berners-Lee and has grown quite a bit more complicated over the years.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Technical Terms: HTML.

So today let's look at a term that I'm sure you've heard, and even used, but let's examine what it stands for and where it comes from. The term is HTML. It means hypertext markup language. Now there are actually two terms inside this term that we need to look at to understand what HTML is.

The first one is Hypertext. Hypertext is simply the idea of having links inside of text. Now this seems obvious today. It's just normal. But there was a time when this was very novel. Having the idea that there were these links, these references, inside text. That was something, of course, that required computers. It wasn't something that you'd easily do in print. You can have footnotes. You can have little footnotes that referenced other parts of document but actually having something where there was an underlined word and you click on it and then jump to a completely different document. That was hypertext. That was something developed and used in computers before even the internet.

Now the other term in there is markup or Markup Language. This simply means adding instructions to text. For instance, is you were to have the text, The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, but fox is bolded, over is italicized, and the word dog is a different color you need to represent that somehow so whatever system you're using to display the text knows to do these things. You can do that using Markup. Notice how the word fox is surrounded by a tag. The tag is strong to make that bold. The i tag for italics is around the word over, and then there is a span tag around the word dog. One of the many ways to color in some text simply defining the style in there. So these are examples of these tags, these Markup language tags, that you can use in HTML.

There are many other Markup Languages as well. Some are used by programmers. Some are also used on the web. Some by different professions. HTML is probably the most well known Markup Language.

Now HTML Pages have all sorts of different types of tags. So they'll have style tags like I just showed you. They'll have Links. Those are types of tags too that define that this is a link and this is where it goes. There will also be tags to bring images into pages. There will be tags for scripting adding functionality and interactivity to webpages. All sorts of different tags.

A little bit of the history here is worth mentioning. HTML was created by Tim Berners-Lee. Also credited as the creator of the web. The web, of course, being a collection of HTML pages that makeup the entire worldwide web. He worked on the idea, the concept, starting as early as 1980 and really formalizing things around 1991, with the birth of the worldwide web. The idea caught on so quickly that by 1995 it was in wide use around the world. Myself, I remember using the web on the mosaic browser as early as possibly around 1993 and definitely by 94, 95 I was already surfing the web. So this was all brought about and didn't really exist before 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee came out with his specifications for HTML.

Now this is what the modern HTML looks like. This is just a tiny portion of a section of a page at wikipedia. You can see tons of tags and text. It's really not something you write anymore by hand although you can write simple pages by hand. Usually you're using programs and apps to help you with the markup and to link different pages together, bringing media into pages, and things like that.

Web pages themselves include HTML but they also include tons of other things. Of course they are made up of images and media as well. CSS is another part of any webpage. It defines styles and kind of extends HTML. There's scripting on webpages and there's also stuff on the backend. Webpages are connected to their servers getting new information and data and updates and having to communicate back and forth. So a lot goes into the web on top of HTML today.