In the simplest of terms, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the programming language that creates Web pages. It was invented in 1989 as a way to link articles to one another either locally (on one computer) or across a network. Its simplicity and flexibility made it the perfect candidate for wide-scale use on the rapidly growing Internet and what was to become the World Wide Web.

Each Web page starts with an HTML document, which is a file that is requested then accessed and decoded by a Web browser to produce text and other elements organized in the manner specified by the programmer. The HTML code consists of tags, which each serve their own purpose.

HTML has now evolved into a complex and robust system to create very specific layouts and formatting of text, images and other elements creating vast possibilities for page design.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) coding was invented in 1996 by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) to supplement HTML and further expand the ability of Web browsers to render more complex page designs and functions, and to further unify and standardize Web page coding.

Each HTML document can have either have single-use CSS coding specific to that document, or the document can refer the browser to a central CSS file to use as a styling and layout template. This is not only a more efficient way of rendering Web pages, but a far more efficient way for Web programmers to work by allowing them to make changes in one central file rather than in each HTML document. CSS also has more powerful functions such as advanced positioning and dictating behavior of elements.

Basiic HTML5 StructureAs more Web browsers came into existence and because of the flexibility of HTML, disputes arose as to what tags should be used to achieve the desired results. Some browser developers began to invent their own tags that would work with their browser, but not necessarily others. A group of developers – including the inventor of HTML – decided to work together to create a standardized version of the languages. While some Web browsers still utilize their own specific tags, the standardized versions of both HTML and CSS are more than sufficient to create a variety of effects and functions.

HTML5 and CSS3 are the current standardized versions of each, allowing developers of both Web pages and browsers to reference a common set of functions and capabilities.

This is part one of Demystifying HTML5 and CSS3.

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