What the heck is HTML?
by Robert L. Seltman
The standardized language the Web uses for creating and recognizing documents is the HyperText Markup Language, commonly called HTML. HTML was derived from another special language called Standard Generalized Markup Language, or SGML.
All computer web Browsers read and write in this tongue. If you want your computer creations understood by other computers over the web, you are going to have to make sure your document is HTML correct.
"What? learn a completely new language. . . NO WAY!" you say. Don't panic. There are many ways to save documents in HTML or to even create them in HTML without actually 'learning' HTML. This page for example was created within the software Adobe's GoLive, which like Macromedia's Dreamweaver or Microsoft's FrontPage you do not necessarily need to learn HTML to make a web page. . . but of course, to know HTML gives you a leg up in the wonderful world of competitive web creation.
The shape and general look of a page is called its Format. For example the font sizes (fonts are type faces), colors, paragraph breaks, and any aspect that creates the personality of this page are all due to the development of HTML. HTML helps me maintain this format from my desk top to yours, over the internet.
A whole set of instructions have been written and incorporated into this language to help enable your web browser to interpret pages sent by someone else. By standardizing this language people can all see a similar page no matter where they are or what operating system they have on their computer (well almost). The better written the HTML the better looking and more reliable the page will be.
HTML is a young and fast expanding language. Each year new standards are introduced to allow more and more format variations, new colors, new gadgets, faster loading media, and all the other goodies that make the internet so appealing visually. The people who are an important part of this process have a website you should visit, www.w3.org.
The part of all this, so essential to web e-business, is that which helps you fill out forms, and do other neat interactive functions, called the Common Gateway Interface, CGI. And there are other newer more advanced versions of HTML like Extensible Markup Language, XML. But HTML is where you will need to start if you want to learn to make your own homepage on the Internet.
Links to the Wonderful World of HTML Basics
First Site Free Beginner tutorial
Barebone's HTML guide ( In 21 Languages )
Chris's HTML Tutorial Center
Composing Good HTML
DTP and HTML Tutorials
Guide to Publishing HTML
Questions and some opinions on all this
HTML Tutorials for the Complete Idiot