HTML » Introduction

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Welcome to the DevGuru HTML Quick Reference guide. This is a handy 163 page reference source that defines and explains all of the HTML version 4.01 tags and their associated attributes. In addition, useful, real world, working examples of code are provided for each tag. Plus, there are write-ups, with code examples, for the 16 core attributes which are available for almost all tags. Browser compatibility for each tag is also included.

HTML is the acronym for the Hypertext Markup Language, which is one of the most widely used computer languages in the world. The popularity and importance of HTML is due to the fact that it is the coding technology used to publish content on the World Wide Web (also referred to as the Internet).

Fortunately, HTML is both a user friendly language and very easy to learn. Here are some helpful hints to get you started.

The Guru has also created a Color Chart that displays all of the named HTML colors. In addition the hexidecimal code is provided for 256 colors.

On December 24, 1999, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released a set of standards for the latest version of HTML, version 4.01. Note that 4.01 is considered to be a subversion of 4.0 and was published to correct some errors and to make minor revisions. This Quick Reference adheres to these W3C 4.01 standards. No proprietary style tags are documented, but for your reference, we provide a brief list and description for other HTML tags that are not part of the HTML 4.01 standard.

Over 30 years ago, in the late 1960s, the Department of Defense funded the creation of a computer network called ARPAnet. The goal was to encourage the free exchange of engineering and scientific information between defense contractors and academic institutions. The concept proved viable and the network slowly expanded during the 1970s and 1980s.

It took the advent of two additional technologies to bring the budding Internet to full flower.

First came the development of the HTML computer language. HTML was proposed in a paper penned in 1989 by Dr. Tim Berners-Lee, a physicist at CERN in Switzerland. It was derived as a subset of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), a computer language that had been created in 1986, but was little known. HTML was specifically designed to send electronic documents across a network. This language uses embedded tags that provide directions on how to display the contents of the document. HTML version 1.1 specifications were published in January 1992.

Second was the release in February 1993 of the first web browser, called Mosaic, which enabled the display of an HTML document on a computer monitor. Mosiac was written by students and faculty at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.

By the mid 1990s, it became evident that the HTML language needed to be formally standardized. To this end, the Internet Engineering Task Force published such a standard on November 24, 1995 that described HTML version 2.0. The authors were Tim Berners-Lee and Dan Connolly.

In all fairness, version 2.0 was more of a "guideline" rather than a "standard." It took the birth of the World Wide Web Consortium and the subsequent publication of the "HTML 3.2 Reference Specifications" in January 1997 to finally provide coding standards that were widely recognized and implemented by the computer industry. Indeed, version 3.2 still remains the de facto international standard for HTML.

In the second half of the 1990s, many new technologies, such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Active Server Pages (ASP), were introduced and had a significant effect on the Internet. During this same time period, W3C continued to update HTML. The specifications for version 4.0 were released in December 1997, were later revised in April 1998, and were finally followed by the publication of version 4.01 just in time for the millennium.

In the foreseeable future, HTML will continue to serve as the basic structure for the Internet. However, a whole suite of new technologies, with acronyms such as XML, XHTML, DOM2, WAP, WML, and ASP+ will surely have a profound effect on the Internet. Already, W3C has released the XHTML version 1.0 standard which is designed to bridge HTML 4.0 and XML, and version 1.1 is on the horizon.

The wireless Internet is another exploding topic. DevGuru also has a Quick Reference for WML, the Wireless Markup Language, which is the HTML-equivalent language for this new wireless technology.

So stay tuned, the future of HTML is guaranteed to be very exciting.