What is HTML5?
HTML is a markup language used to make websites. HTML is at the core of all websites, whether they be built in WordPress, Joomla, Dreamweaver… it doesn’t matter. Every website has HTML as its base. Originally, HTML displayed nothing more than text. Connections were very slow and so even the smallest black and white image would take a long time to display. Here’s Amazon in 1995:
There’s been a lot of hype around HTML5, but it’s just the newest version of HTML (version 5). However, the previous version (with the catchy name, HTML 4.01) hadn’t been updated since 2000, so it was the first major update in a long time.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3), founded and headed by Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, wrote the standards for HTML, to try and make sure that websites are display the same by different browsers. They first released HTML5 in 2008, and W3 don’t plan to release a stable recommendation until 2014, but this hasn’t stopped manufacturers from developing their browsers to start supporting bits of it before the whole specification is finalised. So, of course, it is not fully supported by browsers yet. The W3 validator isn’t able to fully check it yet. And different browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera…) each support different parts of it.
But it has some amazing new features such as multimedia handling (videos, audio and drawing) which allows developers to develop interactive content without the use of Flash, Quicktime or other technologies; and allows users to see the content without the annoying, “you must download a plugin to view this content” messages. And with Apple refusing to implement Flash technology on their iPods, iPads and iPhones, this is forcing many designers to recode their Flash content in other forms, such as HTML5, so that it can be viewed on these devices.
HTML5 also gives designers the ability to add semantic context with tags such as
<section>; and is designed to run easily on low-powered devices such as mobile phones.
Some of the big players are starting to use elements of HTML5. YouTube has HTML5 video, as well as Flash, which uses the HTML5 video tag. Many of the Google doodles are made with HTML5, and the Google Play stores uses HTML5 too. The new features are brilliant and the sooner it’s fully supported by browsers, the sooner we can start using HTML5’s features fully.
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