Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a core language for creating and structuring web pages. For more than 20 years developers have been writing HTML, and for the first few years the language underwent radical changes, but in the late 1990s things slowed down a bit. Until now.
A Brief History of HTML In 1991 Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a document called “HTML Tags,” which described 20 elements that would be used for writing web documents. By mid-1993 the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) had published a proposal for the first HTML specification. The proposal draft expired, and it was not until November 1995 that the first specification was published: not HTML 1.0, but HTML 2.0.
HTML 3.2 was released in 1997, and this was followed up by HTML 4, published in 1998. HTML 4 had three variations: Strict, Transitional, and Frameset. During this period, browser vendors, such as Microsoft and Netscape, started implementing HTML in slightly different ways, and we had our first round of browser wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars).
XHTML: After the release of HTML 4, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) decided to stop the evolution and development of HTML and work on Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) 1.0, an XML-based language that was considered the future of the Internet. There were no new elements inXHTML—in fact, the specification was the same as HTML 4—but developers had to conform to new syntax rules:
Tag s had to be closed, or self-closed, and at tributes had to be quoted. This required stricter, tighter coding standards and ensured that developers would be using a single style of writing. Around this time in 2001, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) started becoming more prominent and popular, and with the rise of blogging, the increased awareness of web standards was significant.
Beginning in 2002, the W3C released drafts of XHTML
1.1. While XHTML 1 was essentially HTML with a splash of XML, XHTML 1.1 was essentially XML.
Although it was supposed to be more forward-thinking, it was not backward compatible, so if it was used in website development, the website would not work in current and older browsers.