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History of HTML, a markup language, that has marked history

27 mayo, 2021

HTML or hypertext markup language, has become the most important brand language today, thanks to the growth of the Internet, the need to offer services remotely and ultimately, the need to be able to easily offer information in an elegant way and without dying in the attempt. HTML is a derivative of SGML and was born in 1991, thanks to Tim Berners-Lee (who worked at CERN), who, faced with the need to share information among scientists, created the first definition of the language.

Stage led by the IEFT

In the first publication of the language, a total of 22 labels were included, of which only about 12 more or less persist today (such as , …), although they are still recognized by current browsers. After this period, in 1993 the draft was created by the ITEF to definitively define HTML as a standard, which also included an SGML document type definition, which defined its grammar.

This draft did not come to fruition, but it was the beginning for Mosaic (that historic browser) to have a great success. At the same time, another draft that defined HTML + emerged, which also incorporated the tables in the definition of the characteristics.

After the expiration of the draft of HTML and HTML + the IEFT created in 1994 the HTML Working Group, which defined the HTML2.0 specification. This time, also in parallel to HTML2.0 came the proposal of HTML3.0, which was practically irrelevant while HTML2.0 was present.

Foundation of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

As by then, already in 1997, there were many companies that wanted to make decisions about HTML, the W3C and the IEFT was no longer influenced.

HTML3.2 was published in January 1997 as a W3C recommendation, which was the first definition written exclusively by the consortium, heavily influenced by Netscape. Initially it included mathematical formulas, but in the end they were omitted, resulting in MathML (which after 15 years and being in version 3.0, has practically no use, having been superseded by TeX).


And here we come to something more current, the language that until recently was everything in web design and now continues to be an essential part. HTML4.0 was released as a recommendation at the end of 1997 and had three variants: transitional (obsolete elements are allowed), strict (obsolete elements are prohibited) and frame sets (it was used for websites that are made up of frames). HTML4.01 was released in late 1999, which did not incorporate anything but was released to correct misprints.

HTML as standard

After years and years creating different specifications in mid-2000, the ISO standard was created that defined HTML4.01 (strict) as an international standard. After the standardization, the alternatives based on XML emerged, which was XHTML (having version 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and the supposed XHTML5).

HTML5 and the birth of WHATWG

In 2004 the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), with the purpose of creating a new standard that manages to take the web to a level that was only achieved thanks to Flash (which totally destroyed the philosophy of the web, being a paid tool, at least to create the content). This specification includes great improvements in the multimedia section, allowing the use of audio, video, vector graphics and the creation of 2D and 3D content through Canvas.

HTML5 status

There are also numerous improvements in other sections, such as the large number of APIs that help us improve the exchange of information with a server (such as AJAX and WebSockets), data management APIs, data processing APIs ( as is the case of parallelizing JavaScript processes with Web Worker) and APIs that improve user interaction, among many others.

HTML5 standardization

At the end of last year, we released the news that HTML5 is going to advance its standardization, from 2022 to 2014, date in which we will have a recommendation from the W3C, which will not group all the technologies that are half-way to collect them later in HTML5. 1.

Therefore, the current direction of the W3C is to adapt to continuous change and carry out regular standardizations only with the most mature technologies.

In Genbeta Dev | HTML5