Brief History of HTML | Versions

HTML is one of the first things that a student learns during a web development course. Hence, it becomes essential to learn about the history of HTML and its version in an accurate timeline.

So, if you are also a web development learning enthusiast and wish to have a deep understanding of the same. Then read this crucial article to understand some foundational information about the same.

What Does HTML Stand For?

HTML is the short form of HyperText Markup language, and most people assume it as a programming language. But it is a markup language rather than any coding or programming language. It is used for most web pages and applications to define the text and body of the layout.

HTML is the most popular markup language that was developed and written by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. And he created the world wide web too in 1989; however, his HTML version officially launched in 1993. from that time to now, HTML has seen continuous updates to add new features and functionality.

History of HTML

Origin of HTML

The concept of HTML came to the mind of Sir Tim Berners-Lee when he saw researchers at CERN need to share documents many times. And then, he proposed that he develop a markup language that would help connect computers worldwide. According to this idea, the ordinary user can access the file of one computer from another computing device by accessing the markup language he proposed. Hypertext system refers to the set or the network of documents written in text and connected using hyperlinks. And using this, the researchers could jump to other files just by clicking on hyperlinks.

And with the same vision, he wrote the software of browsers and servers for hypertext markup language by 1990. However, CERN did not give any funds for this vital project of Sir Tim Berners-Lee. But still, Lee posted the initial description for the HTML tags in 1991, and it was finally released in 1993.

Brief History of HTML

Once the initial version of HTML was out, then there were many updates. But the most popular version of it was HTML4.01 which became the standard markup language in 1999. Another crucial version, XHTML. It was the XML format of HTML; the XML language has been used in creating many markup languages. The RSS and MathML are a few examples of markup languages that are written using XML language. The XHTML language became a standard markup language in 2000, and it got updated again in 2002. earlier, most of web pages and applications used to be developed using HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0. However, in recent years HTML5 has become the standard markup language for defining the various attributes for web pages.

Evolution of HTML Versions

There have been many versions of HTML, so let’s also understand that version.

HTML 1.0

It was the same version of HTML and was used till 1994. However, it has minimal features and functionality because users can only use twenty elements. There was not much use of it, and also, at that time, a few people were involved in web development.

HTML 2.0

It was the second version of HTML and became the standard language until HTML 3.2 came. Using this language, the user can change the background color, text color, and other formatting. It was a significant improvement in HTML 1.0 that came in 1995. It was also when W3C was established to make the standards for websites.


At this time, most of the users got friendly with HTML and started using it. Hence, it was the time when the dependency on HTML was increasing. And some of them started willing to increase the look of their web pages. Hence, the HTML authors added new features and attributes in this version of HTML.

HTML 3.2

During this time, many HTML tags were coming to make the website more attractive and functional. And W3C was also trying to make the HTML more potent than previous versions. And with these additional attributes and features, HTML 3.2 was endorsed by W3C. By 1997, HTML 3.2 became the standard markup language for web-based applications.

HTML 4.01

HTML 4.01 is one of the significant HTML versions in the history of HTML. Because it was the most extensively used markup language at that time. It was launched in 1999 and has CSS or cascading style sheets to add visual effects to web pages. Along with this, many other advanced features were not in previous versions of it. Hence, because of these additional features, it was a more trouble-free version of HTML.


XHTML 1.0 was launched at the start of the 21st century in the XML language. It was similar to HTML 4.01, but it was in XML format. However, it was a completely different markup language than the previous versions. In this, the codes were used to write correctly. Almost all the things were the same other than the view that made it more accessible.


HTML 5 is the latest and current version of HTML with lots of attributes and functionalities. It works even if you are not connected with the internet and can be used for web-based applications. The great thing about HTML 5 is that it is supported by most web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and other browsers.

Also, now CSS has developed, and modern browsers also support HTML5. Hence, it has become easy to define a website and its elements excellently in the minimal issue.

Future of HTML

HTML has covered a long journey from a simple concept of file sharing to defining web elements. It has become a crucial thing to learn and use while building web pages and applications. Currently, HTML5 is the latest version that is supported by most browsers. And in the future, we can see an updated version of HTML5 again by W3C with additional features. Hence, the use of HTML will continue, and developers will use it a lot to define their website and its pages inaccurately.


So, in this article, we learned about the history of HTML from the beginning to date. And now you have learned how many changes HTML has seen and developed. Thus, now you have an idea of how vital HTML is for modern web pages and applications. Hence, if you want to learn more about similar concepts, then stay connected with us. Because we keep sharing valuable information that will help you to build excellent technical skills.

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