Mar 31, 2011

HTML5: What are the benefits and what can it do?

HTML5 is a new version of HTML, a language for structuring and presenting content on the web, offering extra functionality without scrapping HTML4.

What are the benefits of HTML5?

  • Reduces the need for external plug-ins like Flash
  • Better error handling
  • More mark-up to replace scripting
  • Device independent
  • Easier for search engines and screen readers to read

Sounds good right? But, can we use it yet? Yes, we can...but it's not quite finished yet. Major browsers support particular elements of HTML5, but no browser supports all elements. When using HTML5 we need to provide compatibility solutions for browsers that don't support the elements we use. We can do this using CSS and Javascript.

So what can you do with HTML5? Here are some examples:

  • New content-specific elements such as < header >, < nav > and < section >, meaning markup is more semantic
  • Geo-location
  • Placeholder text in forms
  • Form autofocus
  • New form input types
  • Microdata
  • Better support for offline storage
  • History API
  • Can embed video without Flash or QuickTime
  • Video loads and plays much faster
  • Canvas element for drawing images on the fly

HTML5 is still in development, but it has generated plenty of talk about the "war" between HTML5 and Adobe Flash, including Apple's Steve Jobs stating that Flash is no longer necessary. Whatever your opinion is on the debate, HTML5 has some major benefits and uses to consider for your website or online project.

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