HTML - HyperText Markup Language. HTML is a markup language -- a formatting language that describes what material is rather than trying to dictate the exact formatting. The strong point of markup languages is that different media have differing visual characteristics -- sometimes the characteristics even differ with resolution within the same media. Layouts that look terrific in one medium may look terrible in a different medium. Rather than try to force the media match, markup languages identify the material and -- in effect -- say here's what it is, figure out how to display it.

HTML uses tags in the format <tag> and </tag> to delimit blocks of material. Similar tags can be used to reference material in the same document or in other documents. To avoid confusion, a few tags of the format &tag; are used to identify characters like < that might confuse the HTML reader were they found in the material.

HTML is widely used on the Internet and has developed a very large number of tags. The programs that interpret HTML are known as browsers and are known for their impressive size, slowness and lack of consitency in rendering all but the simplest HTML. Browsers support extensive user interfaces as well as scripts which allow elaborate graphic and user interface capabilities. Commonly used browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape and Opera.

Browsers are supposed to ignore tags that they do not understand.

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