What is Hypertext? Part 2


What is hypertext? As a follow up to our first blog about it, we thought we’d expand a bit more. In our New York office, we see a lot of clients struggle with the basic idea of hypertext. Since it is so important for the Internet, here is a deeper explanation of what it is, and why the Internet needs it.

What is Hypertext?

The simplest definition is from W3.org, which says:

  1. It is text which is not constrained to be linear.
  2. It contains links to other texts.
  3. The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1965.
  4. HyperMedia is a term used for hypertext which is not constrained to be text: it can include graphics, video, and sound. 

If you do not understand this definition just think of the World Wide Web. There is no linear order to it, meaning you can view any webpage at any time. Hyper text connects one page to another. This connection between pages creates a web, hence the name World Wide Web. Every page on the Internet links to another page. For example, when you search for a website on a search bar or search engine it will use hypertext to find that site. That is what HTTP stands for, hyper text transfer protocol. Websites themselves are structured with the programming language called HTML, which stands for hyper text markup language. 

Search Engines and Hypertext

Hypertext plays a big role in the ability of search engines. Search engines use this to scan websites for keywords or search engine optimization, aka SEO. SEO is dependent on hyper text, because without it search engines would not be able to search for websites. The Internet needs hyper text to function correctly. In fact, the Internet is entirely dependent on it. This is why hypertext is important to know if you want to build a website or begin coding. Hopefully this blog has cleared up any previous confusion.