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Does HTML matter any more?

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/08/15

The growing importance of XML and XHTML leave plain old HTML looking somewhat out-of-date, according to this article at IDG.net.

But what will that mean for the future growth of the web? One of the reasons it grew so fast was that HTML was so easy to learn - any school kid could pick up the essentials in a few minutes and build a web page.

It didn't stop with school kids either. The ease of building web sites proved attractive to people of all ages and cultures and contributed to the extraordinarily rapid increase in the number of web pages world wide.

But if coding for the web is going to become dependent on learning more about a coding language, and more about computers, there might be potential for putting off millions of newbies just as they feel the urge to start making their first web site.

It would be tragic if the web suddenly became too complicated for most people to contribute something to. After all, that's why it's so diverse, and the diversity of the web is one of its greatest strengths.

Of course, HTML remains perfectly valid on most platforms. But perhaps we should think carefully about backwards-compatibility when we develop future platforms, rather than follow the path trodden by WAP, which leaves HTML pages out in the cold.