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HTML Definition

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is a collection of platform-independent styles (indicated by markup tags) that define the various components of a World Wide Web document. HTML was invented by Tim Berners-Lee while at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva in the early 1990's.

An HTML page is a block of text can be surrounded with tags that indicate how it should appear (for example, in bold face or italics). Also, in HTML a word, a block of text, or an image can be linked to another file on the Web. HTML files are viewed with a World Wide Web browser and are system independent.

HTML is a markup language. A markup language is a method of indicating within a document the roles that the document's pieces are to play. In contrast desktop publishing softwares emphasize the presentation of a document rather than its structure.

Unfortunately, the distinction between structural and presentational systems isn't always as clear cut as what is described above. We will see in this section that HTML, while having its roots in structured documents, has some tags that described presentation rather tan structure. For example, in HTML you can specify that a text has to be presented in bold, red, underlined or italic. We will see that in the (near) future, HTML will focus on the structural side of the page, whilst presentational features will be stored into a style sheet  (like most of the modern word processing softwares), also called cascading style sheet (CSS).

Even if some web browser developer tend to add specific tags or features to their browser, the general trend is presently to to follow the recommendations issued by the W3C. This trend has surely been reinforced by the fast deployment of Firefox. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C's mission is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.


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