B.2 What Is HTML?

HTML is described in various ways:

  1. A subset of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), the standard for markup languages

  2. A collection of platform-independent styles defining various components of a WWW (World Wide Web) document.

  3. Put simply, HTML documents are plain-text (ASCII) files with markup (identifier) tags

B.2.1 HTML: It Used to Be as Easy as Falling Off a Log

The basics still apply, but modern technology, new standards, and the Great Browser Wars have made inroads. This overview covers what endures, though that too may change. Our secret weapon is using commercially available Web tools to keep up with the changes. Each section of the overview will contain an update where changes have crept (and in some cases galloped) in.

The introduction of Web site building software like FrontPage and Dreamweaver might make you think that knowing HTML is no longer necessary. However, even the best product doesn't always produce desired results, so you need to be able to tweak where necessary. That brings us to the question:

Why learn HTML code?

  1. To know what you're looking at and know how it's done, and, what's better, to be able to do the same yourself

  2. To help judge WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software products used to create Web pages

  3. To get by when you don't have the high-tech tools ”even a basic knowledge of HTML will enable you to create a presentable Web site

Why did "They" think this up in the first place?

The Internet had existed for a decade or two as a way to send and receive messages and other documents when someone decided that since monitors had replaced teletype as standard output it might be nice to be able to read material in an orderly fashion on the monitor. One of the results was the invention of a system of embedded codes that would make this possible. The rules set up for HTML reflect the original interested parties, the military and universities, using the system and the state of personal computing devices at the time. They reveal themselves in the default colors, sizes, fonts, and text types and order.

JavaScript by Example
JavaScript by Example (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0137054890
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 150
Authors: Ellie Quigley

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