Is HTML a programming language? – 5 tips if you use markup languages

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Is writing HTML code considered programming?

The languages used in informatics can be divided into groups: perhaps the most common of these are programming languages and markup languages. There is a third frequently mentioned category, the group of scripting languages, but this is actually a special subgroup within programming languages.

 So is HTML a programming language?

No, HTML is a markup language. It is even in its full name, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). If you read this article further, you will find out what markup languages are. 

It is important to emphasize that the value or significance of a language is not determined by whether it is a programming language or not. They all have different functions, and you can create different things with them. Websites on the Internet are still based on an HTML framework, so it’s a pretty important language.


Is HTML a programming language?


What is this article about?

In this article, we will briefly introduce the essential differences between programming languages and markup languages, what these terms cover, how the HTML structure of a website looks, and what basic information you need to know about this language.

Although HTML is not a programming language, learning it is much like learning to program in a strict sense. It’s a good choice for beginners in many ways, even if you’re not planning on creating websites in the future. However, if web development is the goal, then HTML is an essential requirement. So in the second half of the article, we will talk about learning programming and the role of HTML.

What is the difference between programming languages and markup languages?



Programming languages

Programming languages are a set of instructions, codes that tell a computer what to do. Simply put, we can give logical instructions to a computer in order to make it perform a specific task.

Computers do not understand these languages directly—programming languages that are similar to human languages (and so are easy to write and read) must be translated to machine code. The language of machines is a binary code consisting of zeros and ones, and this translation is done by special translators called compilers.

Some examples of programming languages: C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python. 

Markup languages

Markup languages are different from programming languages. Markup languages give structure to a set of data, making it understandable to the computer what elements make up the content and how to format it.

In the case of websites, HTML segments the texts and images on the page, it tells us what segment is the title, the subtitle, what goes into a paragraph, which data elements are images, which are tables and so on. These languages don’t describe logical operations and don’t give executable commands, queries, and decisions for the computer, instead, they code the structure and formatting of the content for the computer. A piece of code written in a markup language isn’t translated by the compiler or display software, but a web browser, for example.

Some examples of markup languages: HTML, XML, SVG

What exactly is HTML?

HTML is a standard markup language for the creation of websites. It defines the structure of websites and consists of a series of elements. These elements tell the browser how to interpret the content of a given website by tagging them, e.g. “here’s a title,” “here’s a paragraph,” and “here’s a link.”

HTML element

An HTML element consists of an opening and a closing tag, and the content between these two tags. A tag tells the browser what a content’s category is. The browser doesn’t display tags, but it decides how to display the content between them according to these tags.

You can attach additional information to HTML elements with attributes, for example, you can attach the access path, width, and height of an image to the tag that defines said image.


<h1> This is my main title </h1>

The <h1> tag marks the main title of a document, while the <h2>, <h3>, etc.  tags mark subheadings that aren’t as important.

<p> This is the first paragraph </p>

The <p> and </p> tags mark the beginning and end of a paragraph.

<img src= “img_girl.jpg” width= “500” height= “600”> </img>

The <img> and </img> tags define images, the src attribute carries information about the access path of the image, while width and height refer to the dimensions of the image in pixels.


Is HTML a programing language?


How does HTML become the basis of websites?

As we have mentioned before, the basic structure of websites is based on an HTML framework. This contains basic display options, but if we try to give structure to a website with HTML, the browser will display a very simple looking website like in the picture below. 



The HTML structure of this website looks like this:



Any additional style modification, color, formatting, activity, and animation can be attached to the elements of the HTML code. So the CSS code that is responsible for the style, and the JavaScript code that makes the website come alive can both be attached to the HTML code.

HTML + CSS + JavaScript = modern, interactive website

Modern websites don’t look like that anymore, since web designers create unique designs, complex layouts, colors, and animations. There are clickable elements and interactive interfaces everywhere, and the same websites appear flawlessly, no matter if you’re looking at it from your mobile phone or your computer. This is because of many advanced client-side technologies that are built on HTML code.

CSS creates the look or layout of a site — the colors, fonts and even how the site has to look on differently sized screens.

HTML and CSS aren’t programming languages, but classical programming comes into play with any website because we need JavaScript, the programming language of the web so that users can interact with your website. (For example, if you want to tell the users that they wrote their email address incorrectly.)

If you want to learn more about this, we recommend reading the article titled “The Basics of Web Programming – Web Development for Beginners.”

Programming languages and HTML

If you want to learn programming, starting with HTML still might be a good idea, even though we do not consider it a programming language in the strict sense. If you are interested in web development, HTML skills are a must. Learning HTML is very similar to learning a traditional programming language.

Why is it a good choice to learn HTML first?

  • You’ll get to know many new concepts that will be important in the world of programming
  • You’ll get used to precise and careful work that is needed for programming
  • You’ll get to know how to code editors work, and you can start writing your own code as if you were already programming
  • The results of your formatting will appear on the website you edit instantly, so you will see the function and operation of every step you take, every newly learned HTML tag and attribute. (In other languages, sometimes you have to learn the basics persistently before writing a code that has an outcome that you can see)
  • It opens the gate to the world of web development, so combined with CSS skills, you can create beautiful but static websites, and with some JavaScript knowledge, you can create professional-looking sites as well
  • After experiencing success with the easier to learn, but still very useful HTML language, you can jump into learning any other language, be it a markup language or a programming language, so you can practice programming easily


Is HTML a programming language?


If you are interested in learning programming but you haven’t decided on where you want to begin, you can use the following article: “Which programming language should I choose?”. You can find helpful tips to make your decision easier, and you can also see how popular the languages of web development (including HTML) actually are.

If you’d like to see more programming tutorials, check out our Youtube channel, where we have plenty of Python video tutorials in English.

In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Beginner’s Guide” series, we’ll be answering questions you may have regarding what programming language to choose, how much money you’ll be making, what you can do as a web programmer, and where to start.

Beginner’s Guide

Learn to code and change your career!





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