A Short History of Websites: the Invention of HTML to the Latest Trends

Zoltan Fehervari

November 16, 2022

In this article, we explore the history of web development and its origins. We go into detail about HTML, CSS, AJAX, and other acronyms you will hear when talking about websites.


The World Wide Web (or the web, for short) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet. The web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and has grown to become one of the most popular ways to access information online.

The history of web development is filled with lots of technical terms and changes that might seem random if you’re not an expert coder. However, even if you’re a novice programmer, getting to know the history of web development will help you immensely as you continue to learn. 

This article covers the most important moments in the history of this industry so that you can understand where we began and where we are going in its future.

web development history

The Internet as a Service (IaaS) and its Impact on Websites

The Internet as a Service is a term that many people use when they talk about the infrastructure of the Internet. Essentially, IaaS is a cloud-computing service that businesses can use to host their websites, apps, and data online. This differs from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) model in several ways. First, the business owns the equipment and pays for the maintenance of that equipment. Second, the business can select the location of its data center, which is often outside of its home country.

The main difference between these two hosting services is that the ISP model relies on one centralized server, while the IaaS model uses many decentralized servers. As a result, an ISP website will have one centralized server, whereas an IaaS website will have many decentralized servers.

HTML and CSS: Content Marketing

The history of HTML and CSS spans back to the earliest days of the Internet, when computer scientists first started to build web browsers and websites. The creators of these technologies wanted to create a way to display information to the public quickly and easily. They decided to use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to display text and links, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to format the text.

When was HTML invented exactly?

The aformentioned Tim Berners-Lee created the initial iteration of HTML in 1993. Since then, HTML has existed in a variety of forms. HTML 4.01, which became a recognized standard in December 1999, was the most extensively used version during before the 2000s.

Although many people associate these technologies with blogs and websites, they are so much more than that. They’re used in social media posts, video scripts, and even emails. All of these mediums use different versions of HTML and CSS. For example, social media posts use HTML, whereas emails use plain-text with HTML formatting applied. As a content creator, you can decide which technologies to use for each piece of writing you produce.

AJAX and Ajax-Based Web Development

AJAX stands for asynchronous JavaScript and XML. The technology lets you create one-page applications that update a single web page without reloading the page. The website and its content refreshes in the background, using an asynchronous process that does not affect the user experience. This technology is especially useful for creating web forms that need real-time response. You can also use it to integrate a CMS or business software into websites and apps.

Ajax-based web development uses various server-side languages to create dynamic websites. These include ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, and Java. When the user clicks a button or enters data, the website sends a request to a server to process the information. The server returns the requested information as a response, which the website then redirects to the user.

The Rise of Text Editing on the Web

AJAX can now be used to access rich text content, such as documents, news articles, videos, and more. Users can now edit text, remove duplicate content, add images and links, and more. This type of access has become much easier with the rise of text-editing apps such as Evernote and Tipsy. Text-editing apps are now available for every type of application, including games, websites, and email providers.

What is the Future of the Web?

The future of the web lies in the ever-evolving nature of its technologies. New versions of HTML and CSS come out on a regular basis with new features. Similarly, JavaScript, CSS, and other popular programming languages are updated regularly with new features. The web is a constantly evolving space and is always improving. Developers are creating new technologies with each passing year that make the web better for everyone.

The next big leap is the implementation of the new HTML standard. It’s called FOUT, or the flash of un-styling. Essentially, this new technology will allow websites to load without CSS and without JavaScript. FOUT is important because it will make websites faster, especially on mobile devices.


The history of the internet and the web are long and complicated, but learning about them can be incredibly interesting. It’s exciting to see how people have changed and updated the technologies we use on a daily basis over time. A cursory glance at the history of websites shows us that things have changed quite a bit since the early days of the internet. Technologies have changed, and people have refined their skills as the industry has grown and evolved. Websites have been around for a long time, but they are always evolving.

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