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Is HTML a programming language or not?  RSS feed

 
Java Cowboy
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Developers often take issue with people who say that HTML is a programming language. Do you agree with that or not?

Professor David Brailsford argues that it is a programming language in the following Computerphile video.

 
lowercase baba
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haven't watched this video, but my guess is that this question is akin to "is java pure OO or not?"

The answer depends on how you define "pure oo" or "programming language".  On the one hand, a programming language is a set of instructions telling a computer what to do. I think HTML qualifies under that.

On the other hand, html does not have (as far as I know) a Turing-complete set of instructions, so it fails in that regard.
 
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Who cares? It's just a classification, and without an objective definition, you are welcome to classify it any way you want.
 
Marshal
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This is MD; we can talk about things nobody care about
 
Marshal
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Once upon a time, my secondary school's informatics teacher at the very first class told us: - "Children, today you are going to program your first personal website".

That was an HTML.

Who dares to negate her words she said back in that time? Just counted, that was around 20 years back. That is insignificant, somebody here I know have kids older than that, so they might disagree about my teachers understanding at that time.
 
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If creating a JPanel together with all the components and with the use of a LayoutManager
is considered as programming, I would also reckon HTML as programming.
 
Brian Tkatch
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"I've never seen coding like this."

 
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Jesper de Jong wrote:Developers often take issue with people who say that HTML is a programming language. Do you agree with that or not?

Professor David Brailsford argues that it is a programming language in the following Computerphile video.



Even without watching the video, I'm going to agree that HTML is indeed a programming language.  What is a "program"?  I would argue that it is a set of instructions to get a computer or similar device to do what you want.  In the case of Java, C++, BASIC, COBOL, APL, etc., that definition obviously applies.  HTML is a set of instructions to get a computer to display a web page as desired.  Some languages are compiled into native machine code; some are compiled into a virtual machine code and some are run through an interpreter.  I would argue that a web browser is just an interpreter.

Similarly, I've seen a handful of products that promise to do something with zero programming, only to find out that you have edit a bunch of XML (or whatever) config files.  Having to follow an exact file format to get the product to do what you want counts as programming.  Example: The Windows IIS Web.config file.  Pretending that isn't programming is ridiculous.
 
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For me HTML is scripting only and not programming because it is run compiled or interpreted in a sense that a browser acts only as translator of XHTML codes into hypertext elements because of XML, tags is used. So in my own opinion HTML is not programming, hence a scripting language.
 
Ryan McGuire
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Jaypee Hernandez wrote:For me HTML is scripting only and not programming because it is run compiled or interpreted in a sense that a browser acts only as translator of XHTML codes into hypertext elements because of XML, tags is used. So in my own opinion HTML is not programming, hence a scripting language.



Is scripting not a subclass of programming?
 
fred rosenberger
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so Perl, tcl, python are not programming languages either, because they are not compiled?
 
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A search through previous discussions found http://www.coderanch.com/t/518672/md/heck-scripting-language-days, which delves into that question.
 
Author and ninkuma
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Jaypee Hernandez wrote:For me HTML is scripting only and not programming because it is run compiled or interpreted in a sense that a browser acts only as translator of XHTML codes into hypertext elements because of XML, tags is used. So in my own opinion HTML is not programming, hence a scripting language.



So JavaScript isn't a programming language either?
 
Ryan McGuire
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Bear Bibeault wrote:

Jaypee Hernandez wrote:For me HTML is scripting only and not programming because it is run compiled or interpreted in a sense that a browser acts only as translator of XHTML codes into hypertext elements because of XML, tags is used. So in my own opinion HTML is not programming, hence a scripting language.


So JavaScript isn't a programming language either?



And does it even matter?  I can write in Java, C#, HTML, JavaScript, C++, C, LisP, XML, JSON, T*SQL, Perl, Windows PowerShell, bash, etc. (with varying levels of proficiency).  If some people call those programming languages and some call them scripting languages, it doesn't change what I can get done with each of them.

The only issue that might come up is when there's an impedance mismatch between two people.

Bad:
Interviewer: So what programming languages do you know?
Me: Java, C#, C++, C, Perl.
Interviewer: (Hmmm... he must not know HTML, JavaSript or SQL).

Better:
Interviewer: So what programming languages do you know?
Me: Java, C#, C++, C, Perl.  I also know HTML, JavaScript, bash, a couple different flavors of SQL, if you'd like to include consider them programming languages as well.
Interviewer: You're hired.



 
Bear Bibeault
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Ryan McGuire wrote:And does it even matter?


Nope, not really. As pointed out earlier, it's like asking "what's an application server?" -- there's no definitive answer. Just pointing out that compiled/interpreted is likely not a good criteria choice.
 
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Interpreted or compiled is meaningless IMO. Back in the day BASIC was the only language most of us had. It was interpreted. I dare anyone to say it wasn't a programming language.
If I had to vote regarding HTML I would vote yes.
Pretty sparse language though.
 
Randall Twede
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Oh my. I just googled HTML 5, I didn't know it was out already. Now I have to learn that too.
 
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Interesting conversation. I would have answered no, it's not a programming language because it has no logic branching abilities such as if-then. It's just a text markup language.

But on the other hand it is a way of telling the computer (or browser) what to do, so I can see the argument that it should be considered a programming language.

It's a gray area. I think we would have to first step back and define "what is a programming language". Otherwise we're just arguing semantics.
 
Ryan McGuire
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:It's a gray area. I think we would have to first step back and define "what is a programming language". Otherwise we're just arguing semantics.



But what is "arguing" really?  Before we discuss that, we need to step back and define "semantics". 
 
J. Kevin Robbins
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And the rabbit hole just gets deeper. 
 
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