Iris Classon
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Stupid Question 134: What is semantic Html?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

What is semantic Html?

This is considered a very hot topic, with many for it, and a few against it. But what is semantic web?
Before I started studying programming I made a final attempt at clinical nutrition and decided to start on my master in health science. One of the courses was Qualitative Analysis, I won’t get into that but there was a lot of talk about semantics. When people think of studies they think about statistics and numbers, which is basically quantitative analysis. What qualitative studies are all about is the meaning rather than the numbers (often both are recommended/needed). And that is where semantics come in.

Definition of semantics:

  1. Linguistics The study or science of meaning in language.
  2. Linguistics The study of relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent. Also called semasiology.
  3. The meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form

So it’s all about meaning, things making sense. When we talk about semantic web we talk about a web with meaning. We want websites that are built up in a semantic way, a descriptive way that describes the purpose and meaning. And semantic html is a part of that. Semantic html is when we use markup that is descriptive of the content rather than the look of the content. So basically we want to use the correct tags for the content, so that they accurately describe the content. By removing styling from being nested in the markup the meaning stays the same, and we (and the computer that reads the site) can accurately interpret the meaning of the site- independent of the style. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has made a big push towards this, the Wikipedia article on semantic web is well worth a read.


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Last modified on 2013-01-24