Why should I use HTML?

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Summary

HTML is a language that lets you add text, images, forms, video, and other types of content to a webpage.

Details

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. According to the MDN Web Docs, HTML is “the code that is used to structure a web page and its content.” Content in this case could mean headings, paragraphs of text, lists, images, and videos, among other things.

Here’s a sample of some HTML code:

<h1>Grocery List</h1>

<p>Below is a list of things I need to buy today.</p>

<ul>
  <li>Milk</li>
  <li>Eggs</li>
  <li>Bread</li>
</ul>

We won’t go into what everything in that snippet of code means just yet, but you might be able to tell that the document has a certain structure to it. There might be some symbols that are foreign to you, but hopefully you can see that there is a title, a sentence, and a list in the snippet. The extra symbols you see are identifying those different sections of the document so the browser can render them properly. That’s the power of HTML.

Here is what the code snippet above would look like in the browser:

Notice tht the first line is rendered as big and bold text. Notice the last section of code is rendered using bullet points.

HTML is usually the first language a developer learns when getting into web development. It’s important to learn because every web page you view in the browser uses HTML. There might be other languages or tools involved in piecing together the web page on the server (like PHP, a different programming language), but the end result is always an HTML file that the browser can render.

With just HTML, you can build a multi-page website with structured content. A website made only with HTML code will look very plain in the browser, however. To style the site and make it look nicer, you’ll need to use a different language called CSS. You can learn more about CSS in our CSS course (but you should read the HTML articles first if you’re unfamiliar with it).

Sites that rely on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (which adds interactivity to a site) are known as static sites.

Main concepts

Here are some of the main concepts you’ll learn in this course:

  • Tags
  • Elements
  • Attributes
  • Boilerplate code
  • Links
  • Tables

There are some HTML concepts that you won’t learn until you get to our CSS course, like divs, spans, and classes, since they are mostly used with CSS code.

Exercises

You can download exercises to go along with these tutorials on our HTML exercises repository on GitHub. You don’t have to know how to use GitHub to download them. Just click the green Code button in the corner and click the Download ZIP option. Then unzip the folder and open it in your text editor.

Each module has a folder. Inside each module folder is a folder for each lesson. The lesson folders usually contain files already where you can put your code, although occassionally you will be asked to create files on your own.

NOTE: You can ignore the instructions included in the folders. The instructions are now listed directly in the lessons.

References

HTML basics on MDN

Lesson tags: Open Lesson
Back to: HTML Course > HTML Introduction