HTML5 is a new standard for web development that is rapidly gaining popularity. Maybe you remember that fateful day in April 2010 when Steve Jobs published his controversial public letter, “Thoughts on Flash.” He announced that Apple would not to support Adobe Flash on the iPhone and iPad. According to Jobs, HTML5 was the standard for the future and the best solution for Apple iOS going forward.
Each new evolution makes HTML more powerful
Let’s back up a bit. First there was a simple little hypertext markup language called HTML that we used to create web pages way back in the last century. It morphed into HTML+, HTML2, HTML 3.2, HTML4, XHTML. Trumpets please. Now we have HTML5.
Each new version gives web designers and developers new tags and elements (toys) to build more engaging, usable and interactive web sites. HTML5 is still under development, but it’s the most powerful HTML yet.
Key developments in HTML5
- Video and Audio tags for embedding multimedia without a plugin
- Canvas tag for drawing content in the browser
- New structural tags to create more semantic content markup by dividing an HTML document into logical parts: header, section, article, aside, footer, nav
Mobility, interactivity and multimedia
HTML5 introduces markup that makes it easier to incorporate video, audio and graphics into web pages. HTML5 tags, elements and APIs (application programming interfaces) can be used to create complex applications for smartphones and tablets. Before HTML5 you needed Flash or other proprietary software solutions for complex interactivity, and it was difficult to run Flash programs on mobile devices. But HTML5 is changing that.
What is preventing HTML5 from ruling the Web?
- Older web browsers like Explorer 8 and lower do not support all of the new HTML5 elements
- HTML5 is still under development
- Flash still seems to be a more elegant solution for applications that require sophisticated interactivity and cross-browser support
Evidence that HTML5 is gaining ground
- SlideShare, a popular slideshow sharing site, recently switched from Flash to HTML5
- Google rolled out a trial HTML5 Video Viewer on Youtube
- Angry Birds is available in both a Flash version and an HTML5 version
Does your browser support HTML5?
The evolving HTML5 standard requires an up-to-date web browser. All of the major web browsers are working hard to support HTML5. To find out if your browser is compatible with HTML5 go to HTML5Test.com.
Here is how the major browsers stack up according to HTML5Test.com, listed from most compatible to least compatible:
- 1st: Google Chrome 14.0
- 2nd: Mozilla Firefox 7.0
- 3rd: Apple Safari 5.1
- 4th: Opera 11.50
- 5th: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9
- Where do you stand on the Flash vs HTML5 debate? 1.5 years ago Steve Jobs predicted: “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).” Was he right?
- Tell me about the HTML5 doctype. The HTML5 DOCTYPE declaration is supported by all major browsers. It allows you to use the new HTML5 structural markup to improve the semantics of the structural elements of the page.
- How do you handle the browser compatibility issues with HTML5?