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Is HTML a programming language?

A few days ago I returned to Twitter and well, apparently things have not changed much... I came across a Byzantine discussion that I thought we might have gotten over, Is HTML a programming language? (Yes, these things are still discussed)...

There are two ways to answer this question:

  1. Going straight to the definition:

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is not a programming language. It is a markup language used to create the structure and layout of a web page. Programming languages, such as JavaScript and Python, are used to add interactivity and dynamic content to a website, while HTML is used to define the basic structure and content of a page.

  1. Turing completeness:

In computability theory, a Turing complete system is a system that can perform any computation that can be described in a formal language, given enough time and memory. The concept of a Turing complete system is named after the mathematician Alan Turing, who proposed the concept of a theoretical machine, called a Turing machine, that could perform any calculation that could be described in a formal language.

A programming language is considered to be Turing complete if it can be used to write a program that simulates a Turing machine. Most modern programming languages, such as C++, Java, Python, JavaScript and others, are considered to be Turing complete, meaning that they are capable of performing any computation that can be described in a formal language.

HTML is not considered to be a "complete" language, as it is primarily used for creating the structure and layout of a web page. It does not have the ability to add interactivity or dynamic content on its own, which is typically accomplished using a programming language such as JavaScript. Additionally, HTML is not capable of performing complex tasks, such as data processing and computation. For this reason, HTML is often used in conjunction with other languages, such as CSS and JavaScript, to create a complete and functional website.

Now, another question may arise after this explanation, so, are all programming languages Turing complete?

Most modern programming languages are considered to be Turing complete. However, some programming languages are not considered to be Turing complete. These are often specialized languages that are designed for a specific purpose and are not intended to be used for general-purpose programming.

I hope this explanation helps you...

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Written by Andrés Bedoya

Andrés Bedoya is a JavaScript software engineer, internet enthusiast and blogger from an early age. He strongly believes in the free culture. He lives in Medellín, Colombia.