There are many different markup languages for webmasters to choose from these days. All have their own standards dictated by an organization known as W3C. In this article we are going to look at four of the most common markup languages and their standards. The markup languages that will be covered in this article are HTML, XHTML, XML, and CSS.
In the first section of this article, we will look at HTML. HTML is the oldest of the four languages and stands for Hypertext Markup Language. Its main purpose is to structure a web document by denoting sections of the document with certain tags. In HTML, there is usually a header section, which contains the title and description as well as some META tags for search engine spidering purposes. Next there is a body tag which contains the main content of your document. Paragraphs, descriptions, and pictures would usually go in this section. Last of all, there is a footer to an HTML document. This is usually there additional links or any additional information that does not belong in the body go.
Although HTML has been expanded and changed since its initial creation, it was originally created by physicist Tim Berners Lee in 1980 while he was working as an independent contractor for CERN. Since the world wide web at that time was mainly a way for scientists to share research data, HTML did not gain much notice until the end of the 80s and into the 90s. It was not until 1990 that the World Wide Web (W3) was proposed and accepted by CERN. The year 1991 marked the first year where an HTML standard was made public. This early version of HTML had relatively few tags(some which are still available today), such as the basic “href” link tag and the “img src” image tag that could be used to define parts of a webpage and where certain elements could be inserted into an HTML document. HTML continued to improve and expand throughout the 1990s. People began to take more and more notice of HTML standards as the World Wide Web gained popularity among the masses. HTML specifications have since 1996 been maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C). In 2000, HTML standards became international and spread across the globe. The latest version of HTML that is widely accepted is 4.01.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
There are two flavors of HTML standards, strict and transitional. The difference between them is that transitional is much more of a loose standard and ignores many things that strict would consider errors or warnings. Transitional is widely accepted and is favored among most webmasters and designers as it allows for more elements in the document than strict. The advantage that HTML has over other standards is that it is the easiest to follow and one that most webmasters should be familiar with. HTML knowledge is generally considered a requirement to build any kind of website, no matter how complex or simple. The disadvantage of HTML is that by itself it is quite limited is what it can do. It does not provide the variety of descriptive tags and elements that something like XHTML or XML can provide. While beginners may be content with HTML, more advanced designers will want to learn other markup languages and standards. (more…)