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Web development – Basics of web page – Markup languages

Web development

Web development can take different forms: from a simple static page to dynamic pages with a connection to a database. We will draw a brief overview of different technologies available in the client or server side programming.

Basics of web page – Markup languages


Any web page includes a basic HTML or XHTML. It is a markup language that essentially defines the structure of the web page (titles, tables, paragraphs, etc..).

It is a language for creating hyperlinks, ie links from one document to another or from one place in a document to another location in the same document (fragment identifier).

Initially this language defined only the structure of the page, but quickly have added tags that were involved in shaping the document (bolding, italics, choice of font, …).

Since version 4, HTML is accompanied by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which are styles that are responsible for formatting the page.

XHTML is an evolution of HTML based on XML.

Limitations of HTML

A web page created in HTML is totally static and provides little opportunity for interaction with the visitor. Each page must be created in advance and must be manually updated.

On the dynamic aspect, there are only two HTML tags (<marquee> and <blink>), but are owned by Microsoft and are not recognized by the W3C.

Some features of CSS allowed to create some momentum in the page (eg color change when hovering). CSS 3.0 is changing the game.

About interactivity, HTML can only create the background of a form of interaction with the visitor. It allows you to define the parameters of an action, and return the form data to a ‘system’ that will manage them, but does not define the action itself.


HTML is multiplatform. All web browsers recognize the basic HTML, only certain tags are specific to certain browsers (such as <marquee> tag that is interpreted as scrolling text in Internet Explorer and Google Chrome). CSS, even if they are standardized by the W3C, are not always recognized in the same way by different web browsers.


HTML has the advantage of being easy to implement, and requires no very advanced technical skills. Its pages are very light and fast processing by the server.

So you need something else to add for animation and interactivity on the web page.

XML (eXtended Markup Language)

The XML markup language can also serve as the basis for a web page. The XML file will contain the content of the web page. This file will be linked to an XSL file (XML style sheets) that will format the data in the XML file.

Most of the time, the web page will not be based on a native XML file, but it will be dynamically generated by the web programming languages.

Translated from Wikipedia

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