Demystifying HTML: The Backbone of the Internet

People often inquire about HTML—what it is and how it distinguishes itself from other programming languages. This is an excellent question. When compared to constructing a building, HTML could be seen as the structural foundation—the ‘girders,’ so to speak—for countless web and mobile pages across the Internet.

Rather than carving out space for floors and walls, these digital girders facilitate the display and organization of text, images, video, and other digital content within a web browser. The blueprint for this HTML page is mapped via its Document Object Model (DOM).

Despite its inherent static nature—HTML doesn’t self-modify or update—real-time transformations are possible. This is often achieved by manipulating the DOM through languages such as JavaScript and styling tools like Cascading Style Sheets, among other techniques.

Essential Pillars of the Web

I favor hand-coding my HTML 5, strictly adhering to W3 standards. However, I equally appreciate the content management and editing capabilities provided by applications like Visual Studio Code and Adobe Dreamweaver. As of late, the incredible coding technologies offered by GPT-4 and other language models have become indispensable tools in my arsenal. After all, time is of the essence, and beyond ensuring pristine code, our shared objective is to launch our web pages in the most expeditious and efficient manner possible.

HTML Toolkit


Forms are a vital section of the Web and mobile applications that allow users to submit data, query searches and buy things. Following are some form element examples:

The checkbox element

<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="1">
<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="2">
<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="3">
<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="4">
<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="5">
<input name="numbers" type="checkbox" value="6">

The radio button element

<input type="radio" name="ai" value="Love">
<input type="radio" name="ai" value="Hate">
<input type="radio" name="ai" value="Unsure">

The scrolling menu element

<select name="Europe" size="5" multiple="multiple">
  <option selected="selected">Europe</option>
  <option value="france">France</option>
  <option value="spain">Spain</option>
  <option value="monaco">Monaco</option>
  <option value="greece">Greece</option>
  <option value="czech">Czech</option>
  <option value="austria">Austria</option>

HTML examples

HTML-only table with a 1-pixel border (legacy)

Sometimes there is a need to have HTML-only tables, especially with richly-formatted corporation communication emails where CSS style rendering on the user end can be entirely unreliable due to the universe of email clients— and their subsequent settings. The problem is that table borders in HTML have a two-pixel minimum size that will drive the design team to the brink. Here is a trick using cell spacing and an embedded table that will solve the trick.

An HTML-only table with a 1-pixel border.
<table width="300" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="1" bgcolor="#CCCCCC";>
    <td><table width="298" border="0" cellpadding="15" cellspacing="0" bgcolor="white";>
          <td>An HTML table with a 1-pixel border.</td>

Frames (legacy)

Frames often cause targeting issues, but sometimes frames are a decent option: