State of HTML 5

If you are a web developer or familiar with web technologies, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about HTML 5 and the “next level” of web design and functionality. It’s morphed into a buzz term that has been thrown around a lot lately. Between Apple’s spat with Adobe over Flash and the latest browsers touting HTML 5 compatibility, there’s still a lot to know about the always evolving markup language of the world wide web.

First off, what is HTML 5? Simply put, it’s the next version of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) that “aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet application technologies such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight”. [credit: Wikipedia] Another standard that is in the draft stage is CSS3, or version 3 of the Cascading Style Sheets spec, meant to eliminate styling woes of version 2 and “offer a more robust layout feature set”. [credit: Wikipedia] I agree to the argument that the CSS spec is more meant for styling rather than layout, but that’s another lengthy blog entry. 🙂

What does this mean for web developers? When implementing HTML5 paired with CSS3, it means more options to achieve the look or functionality you are after – with the use of web standards, and not of proprietary plugins such as Flash or Silverlight.

The new specs also eliminate the need for CSS and Javascript hacks to achieve, for example, rounded corners, drag and drop, animations, gradients without images, embeddable fonts, support for SVG (scalable vector graphics), a standard video playback method, and others. Of course this all depends on your browser of choice. As of this blog entry, only Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox support the current working draft of HTML 5 and CSS3.

What does this mean for the end user? For one thing, it means more engaging design and functionality on many sites. While this is, to an extent, entirely subjectable, it opens the door even wider for a diverse variety of sites to differentiate themselves from the rest. This to me, is very exciting. Creativity will play an even bigger role in site production.

HTML 5 people in-the-know:

To check your browser for HTML 5 compliance, try the HTML 5 test.

As always, Force 5 is on the bleeding edge of HTML 5 and what it offers to the web.