KillerSites Blog

HTML nerd trivia: what exactly is HTML?

September 11, 2010


Once in a while, it can be fun to look at the deeper meaning of the technologies behind web design. So let’s start with the most basic: what exactly is HTML?

HTML is short for:

Hyper Text Markup Language.

In a nutshell: HTML is a written language used to mark-up a page. Think of marking-up like placing markers on a field. These markers give instruction to people who understand what the markers mean. In the case of web design, replace ‘makers’ with tags, a web page for a field and people with web browsers – like Internet Explorer or Firefox. To summarize:

markers = html tags/text
field = web page
people who read markers = web browsers

.. Confused? Then check out this screencast on basic web design.

What’s ‘Hyper’ in the Text?

I recently discovered that many a web designer and programmer may not really know that in HTML, hyper text is a reference to the links – links are the ‘hyper text’ in the markup language. The text in a web page that is turned into a link, is made ‘hyper’ because when you click on it, the web browser takes you to another page, or downloads a file etc … It’s kinda hyper active, like a 5 year old who’s had too much sugar.

There are other markup languages that predate HTML btw, languages like SGML. In fact, SGML is the father/mother of HTML.

Now you can impress your next date with this information. That’s all for now.

Stefan Mischook.