HTML is a markup language designed to format document elements semantically (based upon their function) as opposed to specifying their appearance and layout. Therefore the same HTML document can be displayed in a variety of ways depending upon how it is interpreted.
It’s convenient to think of HTML as a series of containers that can hold various types of content (including additional HTML containers). For the most part, HTML containers define the semantic purpose of their content. For example:
- An <h1> container holds the most important headline for a page.
- A <p> container holds paragraph text.
- An <img> container holds an image.
- A <div> container is a generic container for other HTML content.
- And so on…
The first HTML specification was released (along with simple browser and server software) by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, earning him the title, “Inventor of the World Wide Web”. HTML is now maintained as a standard by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) of which Berners-Lee is the director.
HTML has been continuously updated since it’s release. The current version is HTML5 although implementation by browsers of HTML5 is mixed.