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Can I Build a Website without HTML?

HTML is the most common web language that is used for building any type of websites today. But, is it possible to build websites without using any HTML at all? In this post, we will investigate this topic and try to come up with an answer to this question.

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HTML, or HyperText Markup Language in other words, is a markup language that is developed for creating HTML documents (web pages) which are viewable within a web browser. Over the years, HTML went through a lot of changes and updates and now after HTML 4 being the recommended standard for a long time, HTML 5 entered into the scene to replace its predecessor soon.

Possibly all the websites that you visit on a daily basis, almost all the websites that contribute to the majority of the Internet are built with HTML. You can do a quick check by viewing the source code of the pages you have opened in your web browser to see whether or not they are created with HTML. You will notice that most website pages start with HTML code such as a document type declaration (differs between HTML 4, HTML 5 and XHTML), html, head, title and body tags like the following:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
  <title>Page Title</title>
  ...
</head>
<body>
...
</body>
</html>

Most web pages have a lot more tags and elements; the above is just a simplified example. HTML is not enough by itself to develop a nice-looking, fully functional website. HTML defines the structure of a web page and it is usually aided by CSS for the style, JavaScript for the front-end functionality and other programming languages such as PHP and SQL for the backend functionality. While you can create a basic website with no style or dynamic features with pure HTML, unless you want a website based on simple text and images with no styling and user interaction, you should consider enhancing your website using the other web design and programming languages I mentioned above.

Is It Possible to Build a Website without HTML?

So, we know that it is possible to build a very simple website with HTML using some basic text, titles, lists, forms, images and video, but are there any other ways for building a website without using any HTML code? Is it possible to create a website without HTML?

If you are just curious to know or you are doing a detailed research about how websites are built, then continue reading. If you are just starting to learn HTML and that you don't like it and you are looking for or simpler or better (?) alternatives to build your website, then you can stop reading and try to accept that this way or that way, any type of website you would like to build would require HTML code. Having said that, if you don't want to learn HTML or get involved with it, either have someone else build your website for you or use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web design and development tools or services that will not require you to deal with HTML in order to build a website.

The following information is really not about providing alternatives to HTML, as there is none, it is rather to inform you about other languages that can be used to create web pages, which will not be as nice and featureful as HTML generated pages.

XML

Though it doesn't serve the purpose of building web pages, XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is another markup language that is used for creating web documents that are viewable via a web browser. I will not go into the details about what XML is used for but you can create XML files with .xml extension and put your content in them using your own custom tags, and then display them in a browser.

For example, the following XML code will display information about your website:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<intro>
  <title>Welcome to My Website</title>
  <content>This is the homepage of my website where you can learn about me and my website.</content>
</intro>

Try creating a new text file with your text editor (e.g. Notepad), put the above code inside it and save it as home.xml. If you open that file in your web browser, you will see how it is displayed differently, which is how XML files with no style are displayed. You can also apply style to your XML files but let's leave that to another topic.

Keep in mind that although XML can be used for creating web documents, it is really not the language for building websites.

Server Side Scripts

Another method for displaying content on a web page is by the use of server side programming languages such as PHP, ASP.NET, Python, Ruby and the like. Such languages have their own features and functions to display content on a web page; however, without structuring that content with HTML and without styling it with CSS, that content will be no more than basic text.

To give an example, you can use the following code in your index.php file to display information about your website:

<?php
echo 'Hello and welcome to my website about cats :)';
?>

As you can see from the above examples, HTML is not the only way to display content on a web page. However, without HTML, your website will not have a structure, style or functionality. So, unless you want a very simple text based website, HTML is what you need to be using for building your website.

I hope that this post helped you to answer your questions about building a website without HTML and if you liked this post, please share it.

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