HTML Introduction

In this lesson you'll learn what HTML is, how it works and the applications of HTML in some wider perspective.

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and is the most widely used of languages on the web. Each and every web page you browse through is structured using HTML.

What is a Markup Language?

A Markup Language is basically a way to instruct a program, here a Web Browser, on how to visually display a certain document, text or media resource. The markup is generally human-readable containing words rather than programming syntaxes thus making it more meaningful and easier to learn. The two most popular markup languages are HTML & XML.

HTML is a (tag based) markup language used to build web pages as Web Browsers are pre-built with instructions on how to render html content. The browser does not display the tags rather uses it to interpret how to display that content wrapped within it. If you Right Click here and Select View Source, you'd be able to see the HTML markup this page is structured with.

A Little Background

It was in 1980, when Sir Tim Berners Lee, also know as the father of the World Wide Web, started working on a Project based on the concept of Hypertext at CERN. The project was to facilitate sharing of information between researchers. He then built a prototype system named ENQUIRE to serve the purpose.

It was on Mar 12th, 1989, when Berners-Lee proposed an information management system. On 20th of Dec, 1990 he published the first web site, which described the project itself in detail. On Aug 6th, 1991, he then published a detailed explanation of World Wide Web and along with that released the core library which allowed the users to create their own web browsers.

He wrote the very first specification of the HTML, the specification described meaning to tags and how browsers interpret them. Since then, there have many different versions of HTML.

Year HTML Versions
November 24, 1995 HTML 2
January 14, 1997 HTML 3.2
December 18, 1997 HTML 4.0
December 24, 1999 HTML 4.01

HTML since the days of Tim has come up a long way. The latest version of HTML released in 2014 is HTML5 and is the most widely used version of HTML today. The W3 Consortium now takes care of the World Wide Web and oversees the continued development of HTML and also supervises the development other core web technologies.

Berners-Lee is currently the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the organization that oversees the development of the Web.

The first Web Page published on Aug 06, 1991 is still active and maintained at CERN. Check out the first website ever built. The website outlines how to create webpages and share infomration about Hypertext.

The HTML Syntax

You'd eagerly be waiting by now to have a look at the HTML syntax and learn it. Take a look below. If you just copy the entire code below then paste it in a Notepad (or any ascii text editor) and save it with a .html extension it will become an HTML file. You will now be able to open this file in a Web Browser of your choice. You can also click below on Run in Browser button below to see the sample output of the code right away in your browser.

Here's the output the above code produces in a Web Browser.

Output HTML Code Output

This is an HTML Document

This is a simple paragraph with a link


In this lesson, we first understood what a markup and a markup language is, then we went on to look at the history and origins of the HTML. We also overviewed the HTML syntax and the document structure. In the next lesson, we will discuss about tools and other requirements and help you get started with HTML and build your first web page.