Good semantic HTML also improves the accessibility of web documents (see also Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). For example, when a screen reader or audio browser can correctly ascertain the structure of a document, it will not waste the visually impaired user's time by reading out repeated or irrelevant information when it has been marked up correctly.
Presentational markup tags are deprecated in current HTML and XHTML recommendations. The majority of presentational features from previous versions of HTML are no longer allowed as they lead to poorer accessibility, higher cost of site maintenance, and larger document sizes.
In order for search-engine spiders to be able to rate the significance of pieces of text they find in HTML documents, and also for those creating mashups and other hybrids as well as for more automated agents as they are developed, the semantic structures that exist in HTML need to be widely and uniformly applied to bring out the meaning of published text.
An HTML Application (HTA; file extension ".hta") is a Microsoft Windows application that uses HTML and Dynamic HTML in a browser to provide the application's graphical interface. A regular HTML file is confined to the security model of the web browser's security, communicating only to web servers and manipulating only web page objects and site cookies. An HTA runs as a fully trusted application and therefore has more privileges, like creation/editing/removal of files and Windows Registry entries. Because they operate outside the browser's security model, HTAs cannot be executed via HTTP, but must be downloaded (just like an EXE file) and executed from local file system.
Semantic HTML is a way of writing HTML that emphasizes the meaning of the encoded information over its presentation (look). HTML has included semantic markup from its inception, but has also included presentational markup, such as, and tags. There are also the semantically neutral span and div tags. Since the late 1990s, when Cascading Style Sheets were beginning to work in most browsers, web authors have been encouraged to avoid the use of presentational HTML markup with a view to the separation of presentation and content.
Most graphical email clients allow the use of a subset of HTML (often ill-defined) to provide formatting and semantic markup not available with plain text. This may include typographic information like coloured headings, emphasized and quoted text, inline images and diagrams. Many such clients include both a GUI editor for composing HTML e-mail messages and a rendering engine for displaying them. Use of HTML in e-mail is criticized by some because of compatibility issues, because it can help disguise phishing attacks, because of accessibility issues for blind or visually impaired people, because it can confuse spam filters and because the message size is larger than plain text.
WYSIWYG HTML editors provide an editing interface which resembles how the page will be displayed in a web browser. Because using a WYSIWYG editor may not require any HTML knowledge, they are often easier for an inexperienced computer user to get started with.
The HTML Living Standard, which is developed by WHATWG, is the official version, while W3C HTML5 is no longer separate from WHATWG.
On 28 May 2019, the W3C announced that WHATWG would be the sole publisher of the HTML and DOM standards. Previously, W3C and WHATWG published different standards both claiming to be authoritative, but the WHATWG standard was followed by major browser vendors. The W3C standard were forks of the WHATWG standards that were only versioned. Recognizing that two variants of the HTML standard is harmful, W3C agreed to work with WHATWG to develop one standard that is maintained by WHATWG.
HTML is a structured markup language. There are certain rules on how HTML must be written if it is to conform to W3C standards for the World Wide Web. Following these rules means that web sites are accessible on all types and makes of computer, to able-bodied and people with disabilities, and also on wireless devices like mobile phones and PDAs, with their limited bandwidths and screen sizes. However, most HTML documents on the web do not meet the requirements of W3C standards. In a study conducted in 2011 on the 350 most popular web sites (selected by the Alexa index), 94 percent of websites fail the web standards markup and style sheet validation tests, or apply character encoding improperly. Even those syntactically correct documents may be inefficient due to an unnecessary use of repetition, or based upon rules that have been deprecated for some years. Current W3C recommendations on the use of CSS with HTML were first formalised by W3C in 1996 and have been revised and refined since then. See CSS, XHTML, W3C's current CSS recommendation and W3C's current HTML recommendation.
These guidelines emphasise the separation of content (HTML or XHTML) from style (CSS). This has the benefit of delivering the style information once for a whole site, not repeated in each page, let alone in each HTML element. WYSIWYG editor designers have been struggling ever since with how best to present these concepts to their users without confusing them by exposing the underlying reality. Modern WYSIWYG editors all succeed in this to some extent, but none of them has succeeded entirely.
Online HTML Tidy is a free web browser application, able to correct invalid HTML code and execute the desired cleaning options.
By carefully following the W3C's compatibility guidelines, a user agent should be able to interpret the document equally as HTML or XHTML. For documents that are XHTML 1.0 and have been made compatible in this way, the W3C permits them to be served either as HTML (with a MIME type), or as XHTML (with an or MIME type). When delivered as XHTML, browsers should use an XML parser, which adheres strictly to the XML specifications for parsing the document's contents.
Aside from the different opening declarations for a document, the differences between an HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 document—in each of the corresponding DTDs—are largely syntactic. The underlying syntax of HTML allows many shortcuts that XHTML does not, such as elements with optional opening or closing tags, and even empty elements which must not have an end tag. By contrast, XHTML requires all elements to have an opening tag and a closing tag. XHTML, however, also introduces a new shortcut: an XHTML tag may be opened and closed within the same tag, by including a slash before the end of the tag like this:. The introduction of this shorthand, which is not used in the SGML declaration for HTML 4.01, may confuse earlier software unfamiliar with this new convention. A fix for this is to include a space before closing the tag, as such:.
Like HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 has three sub-specifications: strict, transitional and frameset.
However a web page was created or edited, WYSIWYG or by hand, in order to be successful among the greatest possible number of readers and viewers, as well as to maintain the 'worldwide' value of the Web itself, first and foremost it should consist of valid markup and code. It should not be considered ready for the World Wide Web, until its HTML and CSS syntax have been successfully validated using either the free W3C validator services ( W3C HTML Validator and W3C CSS Validator) or some other trustworthy alternatives.
Whatever software tools are used to design, create and maintain web pages, the quality of the underlying HTML is dependent on the skill of the person who works on the page. Some knowledge of HTML, CSS and other scripting languages as well as a familiarity with the current W3C recommendations in these areas will help any designer produce better web pages, with a WYSIWYG HTML editor and without.
HTML lacks some of the features found in earlier hypertext systems, such as source tracking, fat links and others. Even some hypertext features that were in early versions of HTML have been ignored by most popular web browsers until recently, such as the link element and in-browser Web page editing.
Web pages are typically HTML or XHTML documents. Both types of documents consist, at a fundamental level, of characters, which are graphemes and grapheme-like units, independent of how they manifest in computer storage systems and networks.
Those are the main changes necessary to translate a document from XHTML 1.0 to HTML 4.01. To translate from HTML to XHTML would also require the addition of any omitted opening or closing tags. Whether coding in HTML or XHTML it may just be best to always include the optional tags within an HTML document rather than remembering which tags can be omitted.