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HTML is a language describing web pages. It is nothing more than fancy structured content. HTML is a markup language. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Once we say it’s markup language, it means that it’s not a programming language. Then what is the Markup Language? A markup language is a modern system for annotating a document in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from the text. The idea and terminology evolved from the “marking up” of manuscripts, i.e., the revision instructions by editors, traditionally written with a blue pencil on authors’ manuscripts. HTML uses markup tags to describe it’s contents. HTML markup tags are usually called HTML Tags. HTML tags are nothing but keywords surrounded by angle brackets like <html>. Generally, they come in pair like <html> and </html> [Note: This is not true in all cases, example br tag does not have ending tag]. HTML document describes web page & are generally the document itself is known as a web page.
After understanding what is HTML in brief, the next question that would arise is who would understand this specially annotated document? How will the user understand this annotated document? etc… The answer to all these questions is a Web Browser. Web Browser is an application on the machine/system [like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, etc..], which would understand this markup language and translate the document into well organized, fancily structured format and presents it to the user. The web browser does not display the tags, instead, it interprets the contents of the page/document. HTML elements are displayed in a particular fashion which is defined by styles. Normally these styles are defined in an external file with extension “css”.
As said earlier, styles define, how the HTML elements are displayed. Styles were added to HTML 4.0 to solve a problem. These styles are stored in an external file with extension “css”. CSS stands for “Cascade Style Sheets“. HTML was never intended to contain tags for formatting a document. HTML was intended to define the content of a document, like heading, paragraph etc.. When tags like font and color attributes were added to the HTML 3.2 specification, it started a nightmare for web developers [In those days Developers who develop web pages/web document were commonly known as web developers, nowadays term Web Developer has become too complex to define :), will try in later articles]. Development of large web sites, where fonts and color information were added to every single page, became a long and expensive process. To solve this problem, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created CSS. In HTML 4.0, all formatting could be removed from the HTML document, and stored in a separate CSS file. Today all browsers support CSS. The advantage of External style sheets is that it enables developers/users/you to change the appearance and layout of all the pages in a website, just by editing one single file!.
For example, In standard HTML you would use <b> tag to make words bold.
<b>make me bold</b>
This works fine, and there is nothing wrong with it, except that now if you wanted to say change all your text that you initially made bold to underlined, you would have to go to every section in the page and change the tag. Another disadvantage can be found when you want to make the above text bold, make font style to Verdana, and change it’s color to blue, you would need a lot of code wrapped around the text like below
<font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana"> <strong>This is text</strong> </font>