Importance of HTML

By Dan Blacharski

Nothing has changed the way we work, play and interact more than the World Wide Web, and HTML is its backbone. Initially designed as a mark-up language to allow all Web pages to look the same across all platforms, it has evolved to make the Web what it is today. The most recent iteration, HTML5, has brought even more dramatic changes with new media tags like

From Coding to WYSIWYG

Early webmasters relied on complex hand-coding to create websites, but today's Web design software takes a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) approach, and with each new evolution of HTML, Web design gets a little easier. Today, it's possible to build a complete, fully functioning website, without writing a single line of HTML, due to a drag-and-drop interface that automatically generates the HTML in the background. However, it still makes sense to understand the basic foundation, to "open the hood" and fine-tune the website for maximum functionality and responsiveness.

HTML5 in Search Engine Optimization

Going far beyond its usefulness for rendering a Web page with finer points of graphic design, HTML5 has now evolved to the point of communicating well with search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO), or creating a Web page in such a way as to maximize the chance of landing on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), can now be enhanced by the latest version of HTML. Several new tags in this version are of particular interest to people engaged in search engine marketing. The rel="author" tag allows one to claim ownership of content, a major factor in ranking high in the SERPs. HTML5 can also be used to take unstructured content such as images and video and add the "alt text" tag to communicate to the search engine how to categorize and index imagery.

Plug-ins and New Tags

With older versions of HTML, Web browsers used multiple plug-ins to add functionality, but the downside has always been vulnerability to crash and slow page rendering, and incompatibility. HTML5 adds new facilities that eliminate the need for many plug-ins. The

Multivendor Support

It wasn't that long ago that Apple's late Steve Jobs insisted that the iPhone would never use Flash, would support HTML5, and do away with the persistent problems of having to download plug-ins; other vendors quickly followed suit, and HTML5 is now supported by all major browser vendors, including Apple, Google, Firefox, Opera and Microsoft. Naturally, this multivendor support appeals to webmasters, who no longer have to create multiple versions of their apps and websites.