25 Years of Markup: The Evolution of HTML

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25 Years of Markup: The Evolution of HTML

HTML acts as the skeleton for pretty much everything on the internet. Read on to learn more about the history of this markup language.

· Web Dev Zone ·
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Web developers today speak of frameworks, cores, web apps, and integrations but they hardly spare a word for the language all these are built upon: HTML. The HyperText Markup Language has been with us since the very beginning of the World Wide Web and has evolved together with the internet to offer an easy and incredibly usable way to create web pages. Without them, no website could exist - even those built entirely in Flash (there were quite a few back in the day) needed it to embed their interactive animations. HTML is everywhere, from the search results of Google to mobile web apps at https://www.allslotscasino.com/. Now, 25 years after its first implementation, let's take a brief look at its history.


HyperText Markup Language was first proposed by the famed inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee. He built this simple markup language based on SGMLguid, the standard documentation format used internally at CERN. The first publicly available description of the language only contained 18 elements, all of them inspired by SGMLguid with the exception of the hyperlink tag.

The earliest HTML document available today has the following code:

<title>Hypertext Links</title>
<h1>Links and Anchors</h1>
<p>A link is the connection between one piece of
  <a href=WhatIs.html>hypertext</a> and another.</p>


The first proposal for an HTML specification was an internet draft called "Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)" by Berners-Lee and Dan Connolly, was published in mid-1993 - so this is the time when the language was officially born. This draft, along with the HTML+ draft, expired in 1994 - the language was without an official specification until the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) completed the "HTML 2.0" specification in 1995. From then on, things happened pretty fast for a while - HTML 3.2 was published in January 1997, followed by HTML 4.0 in December of the same year. One year later, the W3C issued the HTML 4.01 specifications, and these remained the only version of the language for more than a decade.


HTML5 was the first major overhaul of the HTML specification since the release of HTML 4.01 in 1999 - at long last, as many would say. And it was one that brought serious changes in the way markup was rendered by web browsers, changes that were long overdue. Among others, it has added a way to natively handle multimedia and graphical content, and it has added new page structure elements in order to enhance the semantic content of documents.

HTML 5.0 became a Recommendation in 2014, HTML 5.1 "suffered" the same fate in 2016, and HTML 5.2 was released as a W3C Recommendation on December 14, 2017. And this is where we stand today.

front-end development, html, markup languages, web dev, xthml

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