Semantic HTML is a way of writing HTML that emphasizes the meaning of the encoded information over
its presentation (look). HTML has included semantic markup from its inception, but has also included
presentational markup such as <font>, <i> and <center> tags. There are also the
semantically neutral span and div tags. Since the late 1990s when Cascading Style Sheets were
beginning to work in most browsers, web authors have been encouraged to avoid the use of
presentational HTML markup with a view to the separation of presentation and content.
In a 2001 discussion of the Semantic Web, Tim Berners-Lee and others gave examples of ways in which
intelligent software 'agents' may one day automatically trawl the Web and find, filter and correlate
previously unrelated, published facts for the benefit of human users. Such agents are not commonplace
even now, but some of the ideas of Web 2.0, mashups and price comparison websites may be coming close.
The main difference between these web application hybrids and Berners-Lee's semantic agents lies in
the fact that the current aggregation and hybridisation of information is usually designed in by web
developers, who already know the web locations and the API semantics of the specific data they wish to
mash, compare and combine.