HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language used to construct online documents and is the foundation of most websites today. A markup languages like HTML allows us to 1) create links to other documents, 2) structure the content in our document, and 3) ascribe context and meaning to the content of our document.

An HTML document has two aspects to it. It contains structured information (Markup), and text-links (HyperText) to other documents. We structure our pages using HTML elements. They are constructs of the language providing structure and meaning in our document for the browser and the element links to other documents across the internet.

The internet was originally created to store and present static (unchanging) documents. The aspects of HTML discussed above were seen perfectly in these documents which lacked all design and styling. They presented structured information that contained links to other documents.

HTML5 is the latest version, or specification, of HTML. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the organization responsible for developing standards for the World Wide Web, including those for HTML. As web pages and web applications grow more complex, W3C updates HTML’s standards.

HTML5 Introduces a host of semantic elements. Though we discussed HTML helped to provided meaning to our document, it wasn’t until HTML5s’ introduction of semantic elements that its’ potential was realized.

A simple example of HTML Document

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <title>Page Title</title>

  <h1>My First Heading</h1>
  <p>My first paragraph.</p>


!DOCTYPE html: Defines this document to be HTML5

html: The root element of an HTML page

head: The element contains meta information about the document

title: The element specifies a title for the document

body: The element contains the visible page content

h1: The element defines a large heading

p: The element defines a paragraph

HTML Versions

Since the early days of the web, there have been many versions of HTML

Version Year
HTML 1991
HTML 2.0 1995
HTML 3.2 1997
HTML 4.01 1999
XHTML 2000
HTML5 2014

Other Resources