HTML © Benoît Labourdette.

HTML is the initials of HyperText Markup Language, the computer language that allows the display of web pages (like this one). Its deployment started in 1991 when Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN. This language goes hand in hand with the invention of the “www” protocol, which allows the request and display of individual pages via a “web browser”, specific software for displaying these pages, invented at the same time.

HTML is a simple plain text language that describes, in a way understandable by humans, what the web browser will display. It also allows “hypertext links”, as revolutionary at the time as they are obvious today, which allow to jump from one page to another in a non-linear way (hence the name “hypertext”).

This language, initially very simple, is present in a massive way in many contexts today, well beyond web browsers. Applications for phones and tablets, advertising or technical displays, some computer software, use it for their display.

HTML is therefore one of the central computer languages of the contemporary world, even if it only deals with presentation and display. It has evolved over the years, and is associated with the majority of computer languages (PHP, Javascript, SQL, Python and all the others) to manage their editorialization and display, in coordination with the CSS language.

It structures the data to be displayed using tags that are nested within each other. For example: page title, page body, text paragraphs, headings, lists, anchors, images, sounds, video, etc. Thus HTML is said to be “semantic”: the content it displays makes “sense” so that it can be well indexed by search engines, displayed in future interfaces, or declined in several ways (simplified display, PDF, voice readers, aggregation in other websites, etc.).

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Photographs, paintings, drawings, assemblies and texts by Benoît Labourdette (unless otherwise stated).

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