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HTML is not a programming language

But that doesn’t seem correct. The “L” in HTML stands for “language”, right? Yes! HTML is a computer language. However, it is NOT a programming language.

What’s the difference? Glad you asked.

What is HTML actually?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It’s primary function is to provide structure to text through markup. Thus, text can be specified as paragraph (<p> tag), a heading (<h1> to <h6>), list and list element (<ul>, <ol> and <li>) and so on.

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You can, thus, take any text document, add structure to it using valid HTML tags and, voila, you have an HTML document.

However, there are no elements of programming in HTML. Variables, loops, conditional statements etc. which are the foundations of a programming language are all missing. HTML is used for creating web pages which are then rendered by web browser programs. Though there are strict rules of writing HTML, one can generally get away with shoddy code. Most budding web developers have gone through this phase – “if it’s working on my browser, my HTML is correct”.

On a related note, interactive web pages, the ones that respond immediately to user actions, are created using an actual programming language. The most popular of these is JavaScript which runs on the web browser program. Server-side languages like, PHP, Python, Perl etc. run on web servers.

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