HTML5 has been getting more and more buzz as it is almost ready for launch. The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) last month declared HTML5 in a “last call” phase. Since it has been around a decade for any real upgrade in HTML, it is no wonder computer programmers everywhere are eagerly awaiting its arrival.
Being edited by Ivan Hickson of Google, HTML5 was adapted to be the starting point for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2007. The main purpose for creating HTML5 is to minimize the use for, “plug-in-based rich internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Apache Pivot and Sun JavaFX.”
The W3C drew up the first draft of HTML5 for public use in January of 2008, and are to be finished and implement the code into browsers before whole specifications reach final status. Hickson expects the W3C to reach these specifications sometime this year and will reach the final product of HTML5 by 2022 or later.
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HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. HTML5 is the proposed next standard for HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 and DOM Level 2 HTML. It aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Apache Pivot, and Sun JavaFX.
HTML5 brings many new features to the table as well as updates already in use HTML code. To use HTML5 you will need to use a specific scripting API such as:
Browsers that will support HTML5 will now become more flexible in handling any incorrect syntax. Another great thing about the switch to HTML5 is that older browsers that do not yet support HTML5 will be able to ignore the code.
HTML5 introduces a number of new elements and attributes that reflect typical usage on modern Web sites. Some of them are semantic replacements for common uses of generic block (
<div>) and inline (
<span>) elements, for example
<nav> (website navigation block) and
<footer> (usually refer to bottom of web page or to last lines of html code). Other elements provide new functionality through a standardized interface, such as the
Some deprecated elements from HTML 4.01 have been dropped, including purely presentational elements such as
<center>, whose effects are achieved using Cascading Style Sheets. There is also a renewed emphasis on the importance of DOM scripting in Web behavior.
The HTML5 syntax is no longer based on SGML despite the similarity of its markup. It has, however, been designed to be backward compatible with common parsing of older versions of HTML. It comes with a new introductory line that looks like an SGML document type declaration,
<!DOCTYPE html>, which enables standards-compliant rendering in all browsers that use “DOCTYPE sniffin'”.
HTML5 brings many new tags you may not be familiar with, Following are the new tags which is introduced:
Although these tags may need some getting used to, they will hopefully allow for better loading time as well as making it easier for search engines to crawl your site—making it easier to find quality information.
For example, to point out to search engines the most important information on your site you would want to use the
<article> tag. The
<header> tag will also allow you to point out the primary information about the content following the tag, and can be used more than one in a page. This will allow you to have different sections in a page with their own header.
One of the most talked about tags is the
<video> tag. This tag will allow developers to imbed video without the use of plug-ins like Flash—which will free up loading time for your visitors.
Geolocation support will also be a great feature to HTML5. Browsers are making the switch now to allow developers to put in their locations on their websites’. This will be important for your clients that are targeting Google local search.
Because not all browsers support the geolocation API, you need to first find out if this is an option for you. “If your browser supports the geolocation API, there will be a geolocation property on the global navigator object. If your browser doesn’t support the geolocation API, the geolocation property will be undefined. ”
The online world has gotten used to certain software programs and API’s to build great websites. HTML5 brings many new advantages and disadvantages to the table for developers and programmers. As mentioned above, HTML5’s new tags bring new features never before used.
This is a much heated debate and should be looked into in depth. We all know Flash has gotten a bad rap over the years with certain web designers because of the possible slowing down of loading time. HTML5 could be the silver lining in all of this.
With HTML5 being in its infancy stages and Flash going on 10 years old, it seems a little unfair to be comparing the two, but nonetheless it is an issue everyone seems to be concerned about.
Another concern is that Mac users will benefit more from HTML5 than PC users since Flash isn’t supported by Apple. There have been many tests run on this subject, and below is a portion of a test run by Mike Chambers that portrays the amount of CPU used within each browser. He has tested each CPU time in both Mac and Windows environments.
Chambers general findings seem to state that it is more important what browser you are running your videos in than which computer, although Macs did seem to come out on the slower end of the spectrum more times than not.
It seems for now flash will be better when it comes to video games, but depending on your browser, and if you are running a less intricate video HTML5 format, could be a better choice.
The main point programmers should take away from these studies and debates is that there is another choice out there now. Flash has had its stronghold in the market for quite a while. When developing a client’s page, do some research and decide how their target audience is viewing their site.
If it is coming down to what browser works best, then use that data to help decide which configuration will work for that site. Also take into consideration mobile browsers, which may be a better fit for HTML5 as well.
IE 9 boasts more than its HTML5 compatibility, but will be a great browser to run HTML5 sites because IE 9 “uses Windows’ modern graphics API’s and the PC’s hardware to accelerate all the graphics and text that browser draws on a screen. ”
At the Mix conference in March, Microsoft also announced that IE will support a new SVG support—coined GPU-Powered HTML5. This support will be able to “improve actions such as scrolling or viewing 3D graphics by handing over processing to the graphics card. The preview uses Direct2D for this support, which means it requires Vista SP2, Windows 2008, or Windows 7. ”
The good news is HTML5 will allow Ajax and other client side programming languages to improve—“the use of powerful functions such as iFrame and data transmission formats such as XHTML could be easily implemented with the assistance of HTML 5. ”
When it comes to your CSS codes you may need to do a little house cleaning to become HTML5 compliant. Because the tags
<h2> etc, will no longer be in use, you should consider finding a CSS reset program. For the most part you will only need to reset the most frequently used tags. According to woork, “One of the most popular files for CSS reset is the Eric Meyers CSS reset. ”
The reason mobile may be favored by HTML5 is that one of the major heavy hitters in the Smartphone world is the iPhone, which we all know does not support Flash. This may be a major factor when building mobile friendly web pages. HTML5 will also allow all Smartphone browsers to load faster—a plus for both sides of the spectrum developers and users.
Another reason HTML5 may be better for your client is more on the SEO end of the spectrum. Google announced April 9th that they have added site speed into their algorithm. If your client is trying to build a SEO friendly site, you should take into consideration if Flash would slow their site down.
Like with any new release in the digital world, whether it is a device or new code, there are going to be issues you need to be aware of. One of the main complaints web graphic designers may run into is the lack of microformats across multiple browsers due to all of the new tags.
Until HTML5 is more widely used, we cannot fully understand all of the pros and cons associated with the new code. It seems overall this will be a great change for developers and a tossup for graphic designers. Until all browsers and electronic devices support HTML5 more collectively we may not be able to get a grip on the improvements.