HTML and CSS Reference
A Little Background
HTML was originally designed as a markup language to describe the structure and semantics
of a web document. The elements and attributes of HTML were supposed to indicate things
such as the title of a document, what part of the text was a heading, what part of the text was
a paragraph, what data belonged in a table, and so on. In its earliest form, the web was in-
tended to transmit scientific documents so that the research community had quick and easy
access to published work.
Note: There was never any such thing as HTML 1. The first official HTML specific-
ation was HTML 2.0.
At the time, many people saw the potential of the growing web. These users started creating
web pages for all different kinds of purposes, from personal home pages to huge corpor-
ate sites advertising a company's products and services. It wasn't long before web page au-
thors wanted to control how their sites looked, and they expected the same level of control
over their pages' appearance as print designers had over their creations. The web designers
wanted to be able to control the fonts and colors used in documents and where their text
would appear on a page. These needs and wants gave rise to what is known as presenta-
tional or stylistic markup, because it affects the way that pages look. Stylistic markup does
not describe the structure and semantics of the document, which was the initial intention of
HTML. Many of the features in these specifications were driven by existing implementa-
tions of market-leading browsers as a response to user demand.