The Crazy Programmer states that HTML is one of the most straightforward, easy to learn languages. What’s more, it makes up the backend of every page on the World Wide Web. This is because HTML is a universal language when it comes to web browsers. Every web browser can read HTML, which means you can use it to help format websites when using extensions from other languages, such as Java.
As you learn HTML, you’ll come across a closely related language: HTM. These two languages are both still useful, but HTML is more commonly used on today’s most common operating systems. It is also more capable than HTM. It’s still helpful to learn about the differences between the two and understand why you may, on some occasions, need to switch back to HTM.
The history of HTML is considerably short for such a long-standing program. Tim Burners-Lee started HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) in 1993. The language is designed around the concept of easy to understand organization. The goal of this programming language is to allow users to build websites quickly, without compromising functionality. In fact, today’s version of HTML, HTML 5, even has a Java plugin that allows users to have an interactive interface at the front end of their website.
All this together makes HTML an ideal first language to learn, especially if your goal is to become a web developer, as it’s the basis for every website and integrates with most modalities included in today’s more interactive web pages.
How Does HTM Fit In?
HTM is little heard of nowadays, as HTML is far more versatile. However, back in 1981, when Microsoft purchased an operating system called Disk Operating System, HTM was a very versatile language. By today’s standards, it was nothing too impressive, it didn’t even have a graphics interface. In fact, it was essentially just a command prompt.
But, MS-DOS opened the doors for Microsoft to become the powerhouse that it is today; and because of this, Windows and DOS can both still run HTM. HTM is now considered kind of an archaic language in the coding industry, especially since the last reiteration of DOS was released back in 1997. But, back when DOS was in its prime, HTM was a powerhouse for coding, mostly because DOS can’t handle very large file sizes. Today, HTM is hardly touched other than under the circumstances when an operating system really can’t handle a four-letter extension.
What is an extension? The answer lays at the heart of the difference between an HTM/HTML file, so let’s take a closer look.
HTM/HTML Extensions: Size Matters
As How to Geek helpfully describes, file extensions help operating systems associate file types and apps so they can open and operate web pages to their full functionality. For example, XLS is the extension for a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. This tells the operating system to open up Microsoft Excel when you click on the XLS file. HTM/HTML is the queue to open the file in a browser and access the web.
Once the operating system opens the file type required by the extensions, the program will then automatically run the code. If the extension is more complex than the operating system is designed to handle, such as in the case of HTML and DOS, the system will crash as the load is too heavy for the operating system to handle. (However, on today’s systems, the OS will usually pop up with an error simply stating the file is too big and refuse to open it.)
Is Size Really the Only Difference?
HTML is very functional and relatively easy to learn. It’s also far more applicable to the modern-day world. While it being a bigger extension size than HTM is the major difference, this difference has plenty of repercussions.
For instance, HTML has better security than HTM. While you will still want to learn how to encrypt files, having this level above HTM does give a little boost to the protection levels. Also, being a bigger extension size, HTML can also handle larger files than HTM. That means more complex and creative websites for you! Plus, now that you can integrate Java with your HTML, you’ll find the quality of your websites improving dramatically.
HTM, HTML, and the Times Ahead
While HTM was great while it was around, it seems to be falling back into the past decade as our technologies grow more and more powerful. HTML continues to expand its capabilities, including adding Java integration and increasing file handling capabilities. It’s often said that learning HTML is the best way to learn the basics of coding, and we couldn’t agree more.
If your goal is to learn to code, HTML will take you into the pool one toe at a time, never overwhelming you in the process. You will learn, your skills will improve, and you will acquire more languages as you go.