HTML Highlights Series: Part 2 HTML Versions
by June Kaminski
In the Beginning
The first rather primitive versions of HTML, used in the early days of cyberspace were replaced with version 3.2 in 1996. HTML 3.2 or Wilbur was released by the W3 Consortium and is, in essence, a SGML application (Standard Generalized Markup Language) which conforms to International Standard ISO 8879. HTML was first invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a young software engineer at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics or CERN.
Both SGML and HTML documents are really simple ASCII text files with presentational tags embedded within them. Many consider HTML more of a "computerese" rather than a true computer language. The first two generations of codes, versions 1.0 and 2.0 contained relatively few tags. With version 3.2, HTML tags have developed from an initial thirty or so to close to one hundred possible coding tags, introducing some fresh new creative abilities to the web development process.
HTML is one of the easiest languages you can learn. It is rooted in English, with a vocabulary made up of basic mnemonic abbrevations, based within a simple document structure. HTML is not a programming language, but rather is a content-based or structural one. The codes describe the contents of a document, and include reference to various parts of the document, such as the headings, paragraphs, lists, and so on.
Version 3.2 added Flexibility and Aesthetics
With the advent of HTML 3.2, a web designer could customize and create web pages that provided distinct web documents, allowed the manipulation and embellishment of text, the insertion of images, sound, video and other multimedia presentations, hyperlinking to other websites, lists, tables, image maps, cascading style sheets and forms all with quite simple and straight forward codes. The easiest way to hand code HTML 3.2 was by using tools such as Note Pad on Windows or Simple Text on a Mac. When saved as an html file, these hand-coded text files became transformed into web pages within the software tools of a web browser. -
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This is the second article in a series of five on the critical topic of HTML for designers. The series will look at the importance of mastering HTML, & review HTML v 3.2 & 4.0 plus XHTML and DHTML. Pt. 3 coming in the next issue. .
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