HTML 4.0 – Deprecated Tags, New Tags & Obsolete Tags

To keep up with the fast-changing world of the Internet, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) continue to make HTML version updates. HTML 4.0 has now 10 deprecated tags, 8 new ones, and 3 obsolete ones.html

Deprecated Tags in HTML 4.0

Deprecated attributes and tags are those that have been replaced by newer HTML constructs. They are still included in the draft but are marked with “deprecated”.

<ISINDEX>..</ISINDEX> Used to allow forms to have a simple string search function. This has been replaced by the <INPUT> form element.

<APPLET>..</APPLET> This tag enables any Java applet to run. This has been replaced by the <OBJECT> tag for better encompassing.

<CENTER>..</CENTER> Used to center text or elements in a particular area. This has been replaced by a <div> tag with the align attribute set to center (align=”center”)

<FONT>..</FONT> This define the font size, color and style. CSS is now being used for character formatting.

<BASEFONT>..</BASEFONT> Used for setting the size of a base font that can be referenced for increasing or decreasing the size. This has now been replaced by CSS.

<S>..</S> and <STRIKE>..</STRIKE> These tags create strikethrough characters and has now been replaced with CSS.

<U>..</U> Creates underlined characters. This has also been replaced by using style sheets.

<DIR>..</DIR> Used to describe a directory list. This has now been replaced by <UL>..</UL>

<MENU>..<MENU> This is used to define menu lists in a single column. <UL>..</UL> has also been used to replace the <MENU> tag.

Deprecated tags will soon be obsolete and are therefore no longer recommended for use.

New Tags in HTML 4.0

From HTML 3.2, 8 new tags were added to HTML 4.0

<Q>…</Q> This works in the same manner as the <BLOCKQUOTE> tag, but is applied to a much shorter quoted sections without paragraph breaks.

<ACRONYM>…<ACRONYM> This is a “phrasal” tag used to define the structure of a text phrase. This tag indicates that the text is an acronym. THE <ACRONYM> tag behaves just like the <STRONG>, <CODE>, and <EM>.

<INS>..</INS> and <DEL>..</DEL> The <INS> tag is used to mark part or parts of a document that has been newly added to the previous version, while <DEL> is used to mark document texts that has been deleted since last version.

<COLGROUP>..<COLGROUP> This tag allows finer control on table formatting by specifying groups of columns that have the same properties.

<FIELDSET>..</FIELDSET> This tag is used to group related form fields.

<LABEL>..</LABEL> This allows labeling of group of elements. The <LABEL> tag can be used together with the <FIELDSET> tag.

<BUTTON>…</BUTTON> This tag can be used to create another form element, allowing you to have a push buttons on forms.

Obsolete tags in HTML 4.0

The tags <PLAINTEXT>, <XMP>, and <LISTING> are now obsolete tags and has been replaced by the <PRE> tag. Tags that are obsolete have already been removed from the HTML specification and are no longer guaranteed to work on some of the major browsers.

The Current HTML Version

Both the WHATWG and the W3C are currently working collaboratively on the development of the new HTML version – HTML 5.

Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Article By: Wasim Ismail

Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions along with an online SEO consultant & blogger for business at, specialising in online business.

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