Do Web Developers Need To Know HTML?

The other day, I was having a conversation with some of the best and smartest programmers and web developers I’ve ever met about my favorite topic: the future of the web. During the course of the conversation, the following statement was made:

“In the future, web developers won’t need to know HTML.”

As a person who who has been writing HTML for 20 years and who has written several books on HTML, I was more than a little interested in this statement. I remember Microsoft FrontPage, Flash, and many other tools over the years making the same promise.

But, are things different today?

The person who made this prediction cited front-end JavaScript frameworks (such as AngularJS), which can significantly increase developer productivity and produce fantastic web site user interfaces with much less code than raw HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

JavaScript frameworks typically extend HTML to enable functionality. For example, take this simple AngularJS template:

<html ng-app="phonecatApp">
  <script src="bower_components/angular/angular.js"></script>
  <script src="js/controllers.js"></script>
<body ng-controller="PhoneListCtrl">

    <li ng-repeat="phone in phones">


This is HTML, with some special attributes. If you didn’t know HTML, you would need to learn it prior to learning Angular, unless you use a WYSIWYG tool. My personal experience with WYSIWYG tools, however, is that, sooner or later, you need to write code by hand. Without a knowledge of the underlying syntax of HTML and Angular, you’d be sunk.

Saying that web developers don’t need to know HTML struck me as similar to saying that English speakers don’t need to know the alphabet. I just can’t accept it. But, perhaps I’m too close to the subject.

What do you think? Will web developers of the future need to learn HTML?

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About Chris Minnick

Chris Minnick is an accomplished published author, trainer, web developer, and co-founder of WatzThis?. Chris has overseen the development of hundreds of web and mobile projects for customers ranging from small businesses to some of the world's largest companies. Books he's authored or co-authored include: Beginning HTML5 and CSS3 for Dummies, Webkit for Dummies, CIW eCommerce Certification Bible, and XHTML. Since 2001, Chris has trained thousands of Web and mobile developers in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, SEO, and full-stack web development. His current online courses, Creating Mobile Apps with HTML5 and Achieving Top Search Engine Placements are consistently among the most popular courses offered by online training provider In addition to his role with WatzThis?, Chris is the winemaker at a micro-winery (Bad Astronauts Winery), contributor to several blogs (including, and an avid swimmer, cook, and musician.