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HyperText Markup Language (HTML) 4.0

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name HyperText Markup Language (HTML) 4.0
Description

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications. This format description is for HTML version 4.0, standardized under the auspices of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and published as a W3C Recommendation in December 1997 with an revision in April 1998. HTML 4.0 was superseded by HTML 4.01 in December 1999.

The changes between HTML 4.0 and HTML 4.01 were many but minor, mainly corrections and clarifications. However, since corrections were needed to the Document Type Definition (DTD) declared at the start of an HTML 4 document, the compilers of this resource have chosen to treat the two formats as distinct. This corresponds to the practice used in the PRONOM database of the UK National Archives. See PRONUM PUID file signifiers below. Since HTML 4.01 was the current recommendation over a longer period and used much more widely, this description for HTML 4.0 is minimal. See HTML_4_01 for the details applicable to both HTML 4 versions.

Production phase

See HTML_4_01.

Relationship to other formats
    Subtype of HTML_family, HTML File Format Family
    Has earlier version HTML_3_2, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) 3.2
    Has later version HTML_4_01, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) 4.01
    Defined via SGML, Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). ISO 8879:1986

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings The Library of Congress home page archived on May 10, 2000 used HTML 4.0 Transitional. By January 30, 2001, HTML 4.01 Transitional was in use. See also HTML_family.
LC preference See HTML_family.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure

HTML 4.0, produced under the auspices of the W3C, is a non-proprietary format, openly published, and freely implementable.

    Documentation

Version 4.0 of the HTML specification was published as a W3C Recommendation in December 1997. In contrast to its usual practice, W3C appears no longer to provide access to the full contents of the original (December 1997) HTML 4.0 specification. As of March 2018, many links in the table of contents are deflected with a pointer to the HTML 4.01 Specification. A copy of the December 1997 HTML 4.0 specification is available as a PDF from the Internet Archive.

An April 1998 revision to the W3C HTML 4.0 Recommendation was also published and remains available.

Adoption

See HTML_4_01.

    Licensing and patents

See HTML_4_01.

Transparency

See HTML_4_01.

Self-documentation

See HTML_family.

External dependencies See HTML_family.
Technical protection considerations See HTML_family.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Text
Normal rendering

See HTML_4_01.


File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension See related format.  See HTML_family
Internet Media Type See related format.  See HTML_family
Magic numbers See note.  The specification for HTML 4.0 requires that a conforming document have a document type declaration before the opening <HTML> tag. For HTML 4.0 the declaraion must begin with '<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 ' or '<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0/'.  Note that lower case characters may also be used.
Pronom PUID fmt/99
See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/PRONOM/fmt/99.
Wikidata Title ID Q3782232
Also covers HTML 4.01. See https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q3782232.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General  
History

HTML 3.2 was published as a W3C Recommendation in January 1997. HTML 4.0, a major update to the HTML specification, was published as a W3C Recommendation in December 1997 and revised in April 1998. It was superseded by a minor update, to HTML 4.01, in December 1999.

For a more complete chronology for the HTML specification, see HTML_family.


Format specifications Explanation of format description terms


Useful references

URLs


Last Updated: 03/28/2018