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HTML, or "HyperText Markup Language," is often described as a programming language. Internet articles often categorize HTML with programming languages such as Python, Ruby and JavaScript. It's a common, but misleading, practice, because HTML is actually a markup language, not a true programming language.

What Is a Programming Language?

Programming languages instruct your computer to perform functions, interpret input for conditional variables and produce results based on it. You don't have those abilities in HTML. Programming languages are often used in conjunction with markup languages, however.

What Is a Markup Language?

Markup languages are interpretive tools with syntax that is clearly distinct from the programming languages they modify. A markup language such as HTML contains information that instructs your computer to display websites in a certain way. For example, HTML tags are used to specify font sizes, page margins and background colors.

How Is a Programming Language Different From a Markup Language?

The predominant explanation is that a programming language contains instructions, and a markup language contains information about how to display the results of following those instructions. Markup languages such as HTML place data into attractive and easily-readable packages, but do not actually perform the functions to produce the data itself.

What Is the Difference Between a Programming Language and Data Formatting?

Markup languages and programming languages both contain coded data. The difference lies in the type of data found in each. Programming languages contain executable code, which isn't found in markup languages. HTML and other markup languages format data in an organized, logical way to make it easier for humans to read and understand.
HTML is frequently (and inaccurately) described as a programming language, but it's much better call it a markup language or a data formatting protocol. Arguments on this topic are predominantly semantic and focus on the meaning of words such as "logic," "program" and "data." The most important thing to remember is that HTML formats data, but does not actually produce it.

- Curated from Answers.com -

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