HTML is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language — but that collection of geeky words sure doesn't tell you much. In this lesson, I explain exactly what HTML is, what it does, and, more importantly, why it is important to you. I also show you how you peek under the hood of any web page so you can see what's really going on and learn from the masters of the web designer's craft.
The Internet, or World Wide Web, is essentially a network of computers. Browsers, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari, are computer programs that display web pages, which, in turn, are written in HTML. So, at its heart, HTML is the language of the Web.
As noted, HTML is an abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language. Let's break down that HTML acronym to dive a bit deeper. HyperText is text presented on one electronic device — whether it's a computer, smart phone, or something else — that is connected, via a link, to other text, which could be located elsewhere in the same document, on a different page in the same website, or on an entirely different site. HyperText is perhaps the defining essence of the Internet: the ability to link from one web page to another, thus creating a web of information.
A simple hypertext system that connects raw textual content pretty much describes the earliest Internet systems. So how did we get to the rich multimedia experience that makes up much of the web today? That's where the second half of the HTML abbreviation, Markup ...