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An acronym for HyperText Markup Language. This is a presentational markup language – a system of coded instructions that define the appearance of a document. HTML was designed for the creation of web pages and other information viewable in a web browser. It’s used to structure information, denoting certain text as headings, paragraphs, lists, and so on.

HTML is now an international standard (ISO 15445). Later HTML specifications are maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

HTML provides a means by which the document’s content can be annotated with various kinds of metadata and rendering hints. These may range from minor text decorations, such as specifying that a certain word be underlined or that an image be inserted, to sophisticated image maps and form definitions. The metadata may include information about the document’s title and author, structural information such as headings, paragraphs, or lists, and information that allows the document to be linked to other documents to form a hypertext web.

HTML is a text-based format that is designed to be both readable and editable by humans using a text editor. However, writing and updating a large number of pages by hand can be time consuming, requires a good knowledge of HTML, and can make consistency difficult to maintain. Visual HTML editors such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, or Microsoft FrontPage allow the creation of web pages to be treated much like word processor documents.

There are three primary kinds of markup element types in HTML:

  • Structural markup describes the purpose of text (in each of these examples, replace the curly brackets with brackets – < and >). For example, {h2}Golf{/h2} directs the browser to render “Golf” as a second-level heading. Generally, headings like these will appear in large, bold text.
  • Presentational markup describes the appearance of the text, regardless of its function. For example, {b}boldface{/b} will render “boldface” in bold text.
  • Hypertext markup links parts of the document to other documents. For example, {a href=”https://www.sweetwater.com/”}Sweetwater{/a} will render the word Sweetwater as a hyperlink to the specified URL.

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