Pull up your favorite website. You probably see a mixture of text, pictures, hyperlinks—all the usual webpage suspects. But how does every computer know what this page should look like?
That’s the power of HTML, or HyperText Markup Language.
HTML is the most popular coding markup language in the world. You’ve likely seen it, or even used it if you’ve tried coding before—recognize symbols like “<body>” or “<h2>”? You’re looking at the HTML building blocks that form every single website.
To that end, let’s explore the purpose of HTML and its massive impact on the internet.
HTML—What is It and What Does it Do?
Consider HTML the mother of all webpage coding. The world wide web simply wouldn’t exist without it!
As a markup language, HTML holds a website’s appearances and information rather than its function.1 However, its structural role covers a range of actions, including:
- Webpage Display – A web browser (Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.) takes HTML code from a local server or web storage and translates it to your computer screen. As a result, every icon on a web page is specifically placed by HTML code—even the text you’re reading right now!
Format of HTML
By now, we’ve mentioned coding terms like “tags” or “<h2>”. But how does HTML code look or work?
The beauty of HTML is its formulaic and simplistic nature. Once you learn HTML’s essential components, you open the door to more advanced computer programming languages.
Think of a webpage as a house with many rooms. On a webpage, the “rooms” (or content sections) are created by HTML elements.
Elements, or individual HTML chunks, define content on a webpage—headers vs. body paragraphs, for example. They also contain unseen information about the webpage, like authorship or creation date.
Elements break down into tags, attributes, and content, each adding additional information. A few common HTML element types include:2
- Structural – To see any content on a webpage, you need structural elements. Body paragraphs, headers, footers, and navigation menus are all set by structural elements.
- Nesting – Placing an element within another element is called nesting. Usually, this is done to give a detailed instruction within a larger section (such as bolding a word).
- Empty – Certain elements have zero content. With no opening and closing tag pairs, they exist as self-contained instructions. Inserting a page break (<bv>) or specifying a page URL (<base>) are both empty elements.
If elements are the “rooms” of an HTML page, tags would be the name and blueprint of each room.
In HTML, tags mark the category or placement of an element. They also add extra instructions within elements, specifying the appearance of content. Tags always appear between “<>” symbols, either as opening-closing pairs or standalone icons.
As a rule, every HTML webpage must include these HTML tag pairs:3
- <!DOCTYPE ____> – specifies the version of HTML used
- <html> – marks the beginning and end of an HTML document
- <head> – contains the first webpage section (contains title, SEO keywords, author, etc.)
- <title> – shows the document’s URL title (nested within the <head> element)
- <body> – contains the second webpage section (all content)
Other common tags include:
- <p> – defines a paragraph
- <h1> – defines a main heading
- <strong> – bolds text
- <ol> – creates a numbered list
Let’s round out the house analogy—attributes are the decor of a webpage’s “rooms” or sections. They give additional characteristics to HTML content, like image dimensions or paragraph alignment.
Each HTML attribute consists of two parts—an attribute name (“color”) and a value statement (“red”).4 These parts always sit inside an HTML element’s opening tag, separated by an “=” symbol. To change color, size, or font on your webpage, attributes are your go-to step.
Jobs & Opportunities with HTML
HTML doesn’t only structure and support every website. It also acts as the foundational language for coding skills.
By learning HTML, you open a door to the computer programming world—and with that comes hireable skills. From website design to data storage, this markup language has endless real-world applications.
Just a few jobs that regularly use HTML:5
- Software engineer
- Software developer
- Programming code developer
- Website designer
- IT Technician
- SEO Specialist
- Business Analyst
Partner your HTML skills with other programming languages, and you can create job opportunities across industries.
Learn HTML - the Foundation of Web Coding - With Disney Codeillusion
With over 125 lessons that teach real-world skills (building websites, game development, and media art), you can start your HTML coding journey with Disney CodeIllusion. It won’t take long to see the magic of this foundational language.
- Java T Point. HTML Attribute. https://www.javatpoint.com/html-attributes
- Morris, Scott. Tech 101: What is HTML + Why Should You Learn It? https://skillcrush.com/blog/html/
- Kolmar, Chris. 50 Jobs That Use HTML The Most. https://www.zippia.com/advice/what-jobs-use-html/
- University of Washington. Common HTML Tags. https://www.washington.edu/accesscomputing/webd2/student/unit2/common_tags.html