What is HTML5?

If you ask 20 different people what HTML5 is you’ll probably get 20 different answers. It’s bandied about so much to convey more than it is. Simply put, HTML5 is just HTML cleaned up, simplified, but with some tags that finally make semantic sense. Because of that, with just a few CSS tweaks, browsers can properly render HTML and XHTML documents with HTML5 tags. All modern browsers will render HTML5 tags properly when included in regular HTML/XHTML documents.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
   <head>
      <meta charset="utf-8">
      <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width; height=device-height; initial-scale=1;">
      <title>My Kick Ass Web App</title>
   </head>
   <body>
      <article>
          <header>
             <h1>Article One</h1>
          </header>
          <aside><aside>
          <section></section>
          <section></section>
          <section></section>
          <footer></footer>
      </article>
      <article>
          <header>
             <h1>Article Two</h1>
          </header>
          <section></section>
          <section></section>
          <footer></footer>
      </article>
   </body>
</html>

All modern browsers can also render the canvas, audio and video tags of HTML5. When someone says that HTML5 is going to do [will in the blanks], you need to ask, “What do you mean by HTML5.” If the response is semantic markup, fine. If they mean audio and video tags, those are already here. Are they referring to Canvas and SVG, they have been around for a number of years. Are they referring to all the cool CSS3 stuff? That’s been around for a few years already. In general when you hear someone talking about how HTML5 is going to be such a big deal, or not, they probably referring to some mix of all of these. And that’s OK because HTML5 also supports all of these. But so does HTML/XHTML. Well, except for IE. It’s funny how we can send people into space, but here on earth there are people who still use IE.

The point is, we can use any of these in any combination right now. However, as with the uptake in XHTML and CSS based layout adoption at the start of the century (Wow! was it that long ago?), HTML5 combined with all these other features will be the future of Web develop. Actually, let me rephrase that, HTML5 will be the basis for a lot of connected application development. With HTML5 capable browser gaining the ability to render to GPU and enable offline modes such as local storage, the whole concept of a Web app verses a regular app will change to a point where the average user can’t tell the difference. Skilled designers and developers can already create Web apps that look and feel like native apps on iPhone, iPad, Adroid and Palm Pre. What the adoption of HTML5 will bring is the functionality of desktop type apps, leaving behind the limitations of the link/click Web site era.

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About Robert Biggs
Front end Web developer skilled at creating interactive, dynamic interfaces using HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, SVG. Passionate about developing awesome user experiences in the mobile space.

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