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Last updated on 11/28/19

What is HTML?

In the last chapter, we learned about the concept of HTTP: hypertext transfer protocol. It's the set of rules that govern how information is exchanged over the web, and the technical way it works is beyond the scope of this course.

The language that makes up a webpage itself is well within even a beginner's learning ability, though! Every page on the web is its own document written in a language called HTML. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and is arguably the first language you should learn if you’re interested in going further in learning web languages and/or web programming.

Want to know what a simple example webpage that has just a big heading and a paragraph would look like behind the scenes? Let’s look at a basic HTML document.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<h1>Hello, World!</h1>
<p>Welcome to Understanding the Web on OpenClassrooms.com!</p>

 You'll see a series of tags, such as  <p>  or  <h1>  , each with text inside.

The tag is a set of greater-than or less-than signs, with an element name inside that will determine how the text within the "opening" and "closing" tags will be displayed.

Tags like  <h1>  ,  <h2>  , and  <h3>  will be header elements (that's what the "h" stands for), and the  <p>  tag is a paragraph element. The full group consisting of one "opening" tag, the content, and one "closing" tag is called an element. For example, this is a single HTML element:

<h1>Hello, World!</h1>

There are many ways to structure text in HTML, and although it can look confusing at first, HTML is just a language for structuring content like any other, the way you might format text in Microsoft Word! Your browser does the work of displaying it to you in a more readable way. There is HTML behind every single web page you visit.

In the next chapter, we’ll go over the different parties that can interact on the web, both requesting and responding to information. These are called clients and servers.

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