Tech for Dummies: Why HTML is Not a Programming Language


HTML abbreviated as (hypertext markup language) is a simple language consisting of elements that can be applied to pieces of texts to give them a different meaning in a file, structure the file into logical sections and embed contents like videos and images into a page. The language defines the structure of web pages plus it determines how data is displayed online. What you’re looking at right now is HTML code, read as well as interpreted by the browser, but this does not make HTML a programming language.

A Markup Language

HTML is just a markup language. It marks up or encapsulates data within HTML tags that define the data as well as describe its purpose on a web-page. Your web browser then interprets the HTML, which informs it things such as which parts are headings, links, paragraphs, and much more. The HTML describes the data in your browser, and then the browser displays the data accordingly. That is how the browser knows that;

This is a paragraph,

This is a Heading, and

This is a link

However, this isn’t programming. The above isn’t an example of an executable script. What it means is that the HTML was only used to markup the text for your browser to read and then interpret as a web-page content. It informed the browser which parts were paragraphs, which were headings, as well as which were links, and then your browser displayed them as such. Ideally, HTML is used for structural needs on a web-page, not functional ones.

Not a Programing Language.

The programming language has functional purposes. HTML as a markup language does not do anything in the sense that programming languages do. HTML does not contain programming logic. It does not have common conditional statements like Else/If. It cannot evaluate expressions or perform any math. It does not carry out tasks or handle events. You cannot declare variables or write functions. It does not manipulate or modify data in any way. HTML cannot take input and then produce output. Think of it this way; you cannot compute the sum of 1+1 in HTML; that is not what it is for because HTML isn’t a programming language.

Still Amazing

Unfortunately, coding only in HTML does not make you a programmer. Besides, HTML shines when you use it together with the actual programming language like when using the web framework. That is when you can begin serving-up dynamically created web-pages as well as data applications. But do not worry, even with pure HTML language, you are still a coder. You are writing lines of code in markup and not a programming language. You are essentially codifying info for the web. Therefore, while you may not want to have HTML on the programming languages, part of your resume, you’d have it under “languages” or “skills.”

Knowledge of web-page structure is a valuable asset that anyone can have, in IT and other fields. However, HTML is a key tenet of front-end web development and is a core aspect of what the user winds up seeing on computer screens. With the introduction of HTML5, HTML’s capabilities, as well as opportunities to define or structure web-page data have soared to great heights, with emphasis on mobile web, multimedia, Geo-location, etc.

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