HTML 4.0


HTML 4.0, or HyperText Markup Language 4.0, is a version of the HTML standard introduced in 1997. It expanded the capabilities of its predecessor, HTML 3.2, by adding features like support for style sheets, advanced forms, and improved accessibility. HTML 4.0 allowed for better website design, content organization, and presentation, while setting the stage for future developments in web technology.


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Key Takeaways

  1. HTML 4.0 introduced new features and improvements, such as support for style sheets, better integration of multimedia, and enhanced accessibility for users with disabilities.
  2. Strict, Transitional, and Frameset are the three Document Type Definitions (DTDs) in HTML 4.0, allowing developers to choose their desired level of adherence to web standards.
  3. HTML 4.0 emphasizes the importance of separating content from presentation, encouraging the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for styling and layout purposes.


HTML 4.0, introduced in 1997, is a significant milestone in the evolution of web development as it served as the foundation for creating well-structured, multimedia-rich, and interactive websites.

This version of the HyperText Markup Language introduced essential features such as better support for forms, improved table structure, enhanced accessibility options, and the inclusion of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for superior control over website presentation and design.

Furthermore, HTML 4.0 encouraged the implementation of standardized coding practices, paving the way for seamless cross-browser compatibility, and promoted a more consistent user experience across the World Wide Web.

Overall, HTML 4.0 was a transformative step in the web development landscape, setting the stage for subsequent advancements and eventually leading to the development of HTML5.


HTML 4.0, an abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language version 4.0, served as a groundbreaking milestone in the progression of web development technologies. Released in December 1997 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), this version was instrumental in standardizing various essential features and expanding functionalities of websites, making them more interactive and user-friendly for site visitors.

The purpose of HTML 4.0 was to facilitate the creation of structured, semantic documents that could be easily rendered by web browsers, irrespective of the platform or device. Its features allowed developers to implement advanced textual formatting, multimedia elements, and interactive forms, resulting in more dynamic and visually appealing websites that catered to diverse user needs.

Apart from offering improved formatting and presentation features, HTML 4.0 introduced support for style sheets, which allowed greater control over the look and feel of websites through the use of cascading style sheets (CSS). This separation of content from presentation proved to be a major advancement, enabling developers to maintain consistency across a site, improve accessibility, and efficiently manage website design modifications. Furthermore, HTML 4.0 placed emphasis on accessibility for users with disabilities, providing web developers with guidelines and recommendations regarding the incorporation of features such as alternative text for images and the proper structuring of documents.

Overall, HTML 4.0 represented a significant leap forward, not only refining web design but also fostering inclusivity and accessibility for users worldwide.

Examples of HTML 4.0

HTML0 revolutionized the web design and development industry when it was released inHere are three real-world examples illustrating the impact of HTML

0:Improved Website Accessibility:The introduction of HTML0 significantly improved web accessibility by adding new elements such as for abbreviations, for acronyms, and tabindex for keyboard navigation. These features not only helped users with disabilities to better navigate websites but also created a better user experience for everyone.

Introduction of CSS support:HTML0 brought full support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), allowing developers and designers to separate the presentation and content on a web page. This separation allows for a more manageable and efficient workflow in web development, as well as improved loading times and performance for websites. For example, a web designer can create a single CSS file to control the entire website’s appearance and change the colors, fonts, and layout by editing just one file.Enhanced Multimedia Integration:HTML

0 supported enhanced multimedia features, including the element, which replaced the previous and elements. This innovation enabled web developers to embed various types of multimedia content (such as audio, video, images, or Flash animations) into a web page without relying on third-party plugins. For instance, news websites like CNN and BBC incorporated multimedia content like images, videos, and interactive graphics to create a richer and more engaging user experience.

HTML 4.0 Frequently Asked Questions

What is HTML 4.0?

HTML 4.0, released in December 1997, is a version of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that introduced several new features and improvements, making it easier for developers to create more interactive and dynamic web content. HTML 4.0 became an official W3C Recommendation in April 1998.

What are some new features introduced in HTML 4.0?

HTML 4.0 introduced features such as frames, support for more advanced forms, improved table elements, enhanced internationalization support, and the ability to specify alternative content for browsers that do not support certain features. The Strict, Transitional, and Frameset DTDs were also added to give developers different levels of compatibility and flexibility with existing web standards.

What is the difference between HTML 4.0 and HTML 4.01?

HTML 4.01, released in December 1999, is a minor update to HTML 4.0 that primarily focused on bug fixes and clarifications in the specifications. Additionally, HTML 4.01 added some changes to improve the accessibility of web content for users with disabilities.

How do I declare the doctype for an HTML 4.0 document?

The doctype declaration for an HTML 4.0 document varies depending on the Document Type Definition (DTD) you choose. Here are the doctype declarations for the three DTDs:

HTML 4.0 Strict:


HTML 4.0 Transitional:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "">

HTML 4.0 Frameset:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Frameset//EN" "">

Should I use HTML 4.0 or HTML5 for my website?

It’s recommended to use HTML5 for new projects, as it is the latest version of HTML and provides many new features and improvements over previous versions. HTML5 is more compatible with modern web browsers, enables better performance, and has better support for mobile devices. Additionally, HTML5 provides a more semantic markup, making it easier to create accessible and SEO-friendly web content.

Related Technology Terms

HTML 4.0 Related Terms

  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Document Object Model (DOM)
  • DOCTYPE Declaration
  • HTML Entities
  • Frames

Sources for More Information


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