Advantages of HTML
Let’s not twiddle our thumbs and dive right in. Here are several benefits of HTML:
1. Old and renowned
Like all other well-known markup languages such as troff (mid-1960s), TeX (1978), PostScript (1982), LaTeX (1984), and even XML (1996), HTML has been present for decades, more precisely, since 1993. The fact it not only survived but thrived with its fifth iterations, HTML5 and XHTML 5 (Extensible HyperText Markup Language) from 2014, and Living Standard released in 2021, speaks volumes. To make things even clearer, neither is a full-fledged replacement, but merely a list of suggestions, an upgrade, or, officially, a “reformulation”. Thus, the original HTML is in use to this day.
2. Starting point for web developers
We mentioned that HTML elements are a staple of any web page, even a modern one. That’s because this markup language is responsible for the structure of web pages. More precisely, HTML elements are the building blocks of metadata responsible for the annotation of documents, in this case, pages on the World Wide Web.
3. Easy to learn, write and use
One of the primary pros of HTML is its simple structure. It consists of predefined elements, indicated by pair tags (“start” and “end”) within enclosed angle brackets. If needed, tags are further defined by attributes, which point to other information, such as telling browsers how to interpret a tag or embed multimedia or other languages. Attributes are usually separated by “=” and enclosed with single (‘) or double quotes (“).
HTML also supports the use of comments, easily distinguishable text that browsers won’t interpret, and serves to help humans. Finally, HTML follows a logical hierarchy with a nearly instantaneous visual output. There are also a plethora of free applications that spot mistakes in code.
4. Globally accepted and instructed
One of the key pros of HTML is that it’s taught worldwide. Also, once learned, its tenets and application hold regardless of the language. Each document has a “doctype” or Document Type Declaration that makes its rendering effortless and accurate. Furthermore, character encodings gained support since HTML 4.0, released in 1997. HTML5 recognizes a set of 252 character entities and 1.114.500 numeric character references.
This allows the same symbol to be used without confusion throughout the document, such as < as the start of the tag and < as less than (<). Also, entity references allow users to write nearly any known character, letter, or symbol in the world’s writing systems with regular types of keyboards. A commonly quoted example is the letter “é” which users can write as “é”, “é”, or “é”.
5. Supported by all web browsers, lightweight, requires no installation
All major Internet browsers support HTML intrinsically, so no installation is necessary. This isn’t the case with many programming and some scripting languages. Moreover, HTML is entirely text-based, including embedded multimedia or hyperlinks. Thus, it is lightweight and reduces web server overhead, web page loading times, and costs for website owners and web hosting providers alike.
6. Adequate for template use
There are tens of thousands of HTML templates, usually combined with CSS, that allow you to publish a website within an hour, perhaps even minutes. With a foundation laid out, even a newbie can fill out empty spaces with text, exchange generic names to theirs, or embed certain elements the page requires. There are also templates for beginners filled with comments, allowing them to learn by example.
7. Useful for storing data
HTML can store data within a current browser session or permanently, without a time limit, on a device or computer. Moreover, it supports a wide array of types of data, such as scripts, stylesheets, IDs, languages, colors, descriptors, values for attributes, dates, times, URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), and much more.
Disadvantages of HTML
Once again, let’s get into the matter without delay. These are some of the key drawbacks of HTML:
1. Structure can get too intricate and lengthy
With a predefined structure of nearly all tags having a start and an end, as well as a preceding and succeeding tag, things can get crowded and messy. Not only is it hard to spot an error among hundreds of similar-looking lines, but the code is inefficient. By this, we mean that you get little output for a lot of input. This is partially solved through templates and using CSS to define global styling.
2. Unsuitable for dynamic output
3. Not secure
With the advent of VPNs as a commodity and more threats to online privacy and security coming to light, browsing the Internet unprotected became a worrisome activity. HTML doesn’t make things any easier. It doesn’t provide substantial security features, especially with standard components such as data encryption or login forms. Moreover, it does nothing to prevent others from inspecting the source code and using/selling it as an HTML template.
4. Deprecated tags and lack of creativity
Although support for old tags keeps decades-long knowledge relevant, it likely won’t play well with languages HTML can embed. This can lead to conflicts and introduce problems, even when the syntax is correct. Moreover, because HTML is so old and inflexible, it kills creativity. Web developers can neither improvise with code nor try to find more effective or better-optimized solutions.