History of HTML

1969: First precedessor - IBM Generalized Markup Language (GML)

Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie started developing it and named it after their surnames - GML [1]

   :h1.Does this look a bit familiar?
   :p.it not only has paragraphs
   :li.But also stuff you maybe wouldn't expect - lists - this is the first item of an ordered list
   :li.And this is second item 
   :p.Though it can't track you yet through canvas fingerprinting

1978: Start of a project that became Standard Generalized Markup Language - SGML

In 1978, Goldfarb started[2]

1980: First working draft of SGML

In [2]

1986: SGML became an ISO standard

In [2]

    Now this is even more familiar, because HTML was until the HTML5 application of SGML.
    Because it is subset, tot everything from is implemented in HTML TODO:review,confirm  
Next Computer

1989: Tim Berners-Lee invents HTML along with the web

In March 1889, Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, submitted a proposal of what would later become the web. His boss, Mike Sendall, seemed to like it somehow, wrote a “Vage but exciting” note on the doc, and let him to continue.

In 1990, Tim used one of Steve Jobs' early products, a NeXT computer, as a first web server; the web-server software he wrote (along with Ari Luotonen and Henrik Frystyk Nielsen) in C was called CERN httpd[]

Using the technology, they created the first website, which you can browse on the original address (restored in 2013).

1992: HTML Tags

CERN published a HTML Tags document

This is not really a spec, it just lists 18 HTML tags

1993: Draft of HTML 1.1

IIIR Working Group (Tim Berners-Lee and Daniel Connolly) published a draft v1.1 of HTML (so perhaps we may call it HTML 1.1)

1993: Draft of HTML 1.2

IIIR Working Group published a draft of HTML 1.2


1995: HTML 2.0

On November 24, 1995, HTML 2.0 was published as RFC 1866

HTML 2.0 is the first real HTML standard, it was given the 2.0 version to distinguish it from the previous informal versions and drafts.

The 2.0 version itself still lacks many important HTML capabilities (file upload, tables, client-side image maps and internationalization), which were added as suplemental RFCs to the 2.0 version of the spec.


1997: HTML 3.2

On January 14, 1997, HTML 3.2 was published as a W3C Recommendation.

In the golden era of Netscape Navigator, HTML found its way to masses and was used to run services such as AltaVista, Yahoo, or Amazon

TODO:review,confirm SGML

1998: HTML 4.0

On December 18, 1997, HTML 4.0 was published as a W3C Recommendation.

IE4 took over Netscape, DOM alown with JavaScript opened a path to client-side functionality - at first we could see pop-up menus and expandable tree navigation

TODO:review,confirm SGML

1999: HTML 4.01

On December 24, 1999, HTML 4.01 was published as a W3C Recommendation.


2000: ISO HTML (ISO/IEC 15445:2000)

In May 2000, ISO HTML, based on HTML 4.01 Strict, was published as ISO/IEC 15445:2000

2008: First Public Draft of HTML5

W3C published the First Public Draft of HTML5.

2014: HTML5

W3C published HTML5 as a W3C Recommendation.

Now HTML is an environment for running complex apps, rather a than a simple markup language it used to be. It includes huge pack of new features, like:

Developers started to leverage those features instead of plugins like Adobe Flash or less known Microsoft's Silverlight and it led to gradual abandontment of plugin support by the browser manufacturers

2016: HTML 5.1

W3C published HTML 5.1 as a W3C Recommendation.

As the version number suggests, there are few minor improvements: context menus, <details> and <summary> elements, more input types like month, week and datetime-local, responsive images (without css), etc...

2017: Working Draft of HTML 5.2

W3C published Working Draft of HTML 5.2.

Not much done yet, most imporant thing yet seems to be a JavaScript modules.


  1. Charles F. Goldfarb: The Roots of SGML - A Personal Recollection
  2. Charles F. Goldfarb: A Brief History of the Development of SGML
----------------- WORKING: b

working ref

  1. A Brief History of the Development of SGML
  2. The birth of the web
TODO: HTML5 icon datumy vsech standardu - proposed i schvalenych https://blog.rackspace.com/internet-history-html-evolution http://historyofhtml.web.unc.edu/home/html-2/ https://cds.cern.ch/record/42413?ln=en https://www.w3.org/2012/08/history-of-the-web/origins.htm#c4p3