Believe it or not, HTML is a huge part of our internet experience and how we read documents online. The seeds planted for creating HTML span further back than you might think. It even predates the official birthday of the internet (January 1, 1983 – our web is 40 years old!). So, here’s a brief history of HTML, what those confounded letters stand for, and their purpose.

HTML is HyperText Markup Language. It’s the primary markup language or code defining the structure of a web page and its content. You might have heard or are familiar with JavaScript (a programming language used to customize HTML), another standard component of the internet, along with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a language used to describe the presentation of a document. Without these, we wouldn’t have the internet as we know it today.

The ideas that led to HTML came to be 13 years before its first version was written. In 1980, English computer scientist and physicist Tim Berners-Lee, who, at the time, was a contractor at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), brought ENQUIRE to the table. ENQUIRE was a system for CERN researchers to use and share documents. ENQUIRE became the predecessor to our World Wide Web.

Then, in 1989, six years after the creation of the internet, Berners-Lee proposed an internet-based hypertext system. When 1991 rolled around, Berners-Lee gave us a document called “HTML Tags,” aka keywords that define how the web browser will format/display content. This was the first description of HTML available to the public. In 1993, HTML 1.0 debuted, with the first version consisting of 18 HTML tags.

Of course, like the latest edition of the iPhone, we’re always looking to update and further develop technology to stay relevant with the changing times. The 2.0 version of HTML arrived in 1995, with 3.0 hot on its heels in 1997, 4.0 in 1999, and 5.0 (or HTML5) in 2014. This latest version includes 145 HTML tags.

Because of Tim Berners-Lee’s invention, we can read stuff on the internet, which is pretty cool, if you ask us. We hope to give our girls the building blocks to excel in this arena so they can invent the next best thing for how we explore our web.