HTML is the basic mechanism by which documents on the Web are presented and linked to each other. Over time, HTML has become a very rich markup language that allows the representation of the most complex layouts. In addition, HTML has many inherent international features that make it a useful tool for dealing with multilingual content. With the emergence of HTML 4, support for bidirectional text was added. Additionally, HTML now has an important dynamic component to it, through the use of scripting languages such as JScript and VBScript.
HTML also offers numerous features that assist in dealing with different character sets and encodings-including the HTML charset declaration, character entity references, numeric entity references, URL encoding, and the LANG attribute, among others. CSS provides further international capabilities to HTML. With CSS, Web site authors can determine and modify the visual appearance of a large set of documents on a Web server-or even across a range of Web servers-and across a multitude of languages to achieve a common identity. Finally, the DIR (direction) attribute is used to indicate the base directionality of an element: left to right or right to left.
Just as the World Wide Web has entirely revolutionized the world, HTML has also made enormous contributions in terms of how documents are presented and viewed around the globe. In the years to come, HTML presumably will continue to evolve, with ever-increasing abilities to deal with different encodings, character sets, fonts, and other issues affecting international computing and the creation of world-ready software.