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What Is HTML? Simple Definition with 3 Examples

HTML letter tiles on a grey surface

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is an Extensive Textual Annotation Language used to annotate the content that a web browser will display. It is these annotations that help web browsers understand how to present a webpage.

Note

  • HTML means HyperText Markup Language.
  • Hyper means Extensive (that is, an extension of another thing).
  • HyperText means ExtensiveText (that is, a text that acts as an extension of another text).
  • HyperSpace means ExtensiveSpace (that is, a space that acts as an extension of another space).
  • HyperLink means ExtensiveLink (that is, a link that acts as an extension of another link).
  • Markup means Annotate (that is, a note added to a piece of writing).
  • Text Markup means Text Note (that is, the note added to a text to help typesetters (or computers) better understand how to present the marked-up text).

Examples: Plain, Markup, and HTML Texts

Below are examples of plain text, markup text, and HTML text.

Example 1: Plain text

my father’s name is emmanuel.

The text above a line of plain text with no markup.

Example 2: Markup text

[m]y [[father’s]] [name] is [[emmanuel]].

The text above is a markup text, where the square brackets represent a markup language.

Note that a markup language can be a company-defined language created for effective communication with its typesetters on the specific way to display the company’s text.

In other words, a markup does not have to be in the public domain before it can be called a markup language.

For instance, I specifically created the markups in the example above for this article. But guess what? It is still a markup language!

Furthermore, based on my chosen editorial guideline, the square-bracket markups, in the snippet above denote:

[ ] Orange Brackets = UPPERCASE

[ ] Blue Brackets = Bold

[ ] Purple Brackets = Italics

Therefore, a typesetter can now easily render the text as:

My FATHER’S name is EMMANUEL.

Example 3: HTML text

<h1>Home Design</h1>

<p>
The Home Design for <em>John’s</em> family; which will cost a Total of
<strong>3 Billion Pounds</strong> only.
</p>

The text above is a HyperText Markup Language, where the tags (that is, <tagName>) are Markups.

Note

Markups are the part of an HTML text that tells browsers how the text should be displayed.

Based on the HTML’s design (editing) guideline, the tags in the snippet above denote:

<h1>…</h1>		= Heading 1
<p>…</p>		= Paragraph
<em>…</em>		= Emphasis
<strong>…</strong>	= Strong Importance

In summary

HTML is an extension of plain texts. It is a note to browsers about a document’s data.

In other words, it is the tags in an HTML document that makes browsers understand how to display the document and its content.

Useful HTML Resources

Below are links to other valuable content on HTML.

  • MDN’s <b> vs. <strong> article explain the difference between the Bring Attention To tag <b> and the Strong Importance tag <strong>.
  • MDN’s <i> vs. <em> article explain the difference between the Interesting Text tag <i> and the Emphasis tag <em>.
  • Learn more about typesetting with this short video.

Credit

Featured Image: HTML keyboard key by Miguel Á. Padriñán

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