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A Guide to HTML5

Updated on October 22, 2013

We all know that Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML is the core language of the World Wide Web, as it is the main language (markup language) in which all web pages displayed on the Internet are structured and created. HTML has been in continuous evolution ever since it was conceived and introduced in 1990, and HTML5 is the fifth successor of the standard HTML language. It was created in the year 2006 to make the coding process easier and more logical.

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A Brief History of HTML5

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has always worked steadily in the background to constantly standardize HTML. In November 1995, the first version of HTML, HTML 2.0 was released. Then in September 1995, the HTML 3.0 draft specification was discarded without being recommended. Still seeking further optimization, in January 1997 HTML 3.2 became the W3C recommendation. Seeking further advancement in December 1999, HTML 4.01 was released for the first time. In January 2001, a more regimental form of HTML, the XHTML (the Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language) was introduced, and later the XHTML 1.1 became W3C recommendation in 2001.

Finally in 2006, HTML5 was created with cooperation between the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, the WHATWG and the W3C. At that time WHATWG was working with web applications and web forms and W3C was working with XHTML 2.0., when both these consortiums decided to work together to create a new version of HTML (HTML5). The WHATWG continues to work with HTML5 as its ‘Living Standard’ model. This essentially means that work on HTML5 will always be ongoing and it will be continuously improved upon and updated.

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How is HTML5 Different?

Media playback in HTML5 has also evolved substantially. The new features in HTML5 have been designed in such a fashion that websites now do not have to reach out to Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight in order to play music or show a video.

These impressive features make it very easy for users to place media-rich content on devices with low-power. Using these new tags and elements on the site allows these to directly plug-in media with the use of simple HTML tags. Examples of such tags are <audio> and <video> for media playback. Another such very useful tag is <canvas> for two-dimensional graphics drawing via scripting.

The new features also do away with the usage of the generic <object> tags by allowing the integration of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) content. All this means that there is now no need for using proprietary APIs or plug-ins for executing multimedia and graphic content on HTML5 supported websites.

Offline storage in HTML5 is another added feature with lots of potential for consumer facing applications as well enterprise and business apps. HTML5 allows for web pages to store named pairs locally in the client web browser. This data, much like cookies, persists even after the user has navigated away from the web site or even when he has closed the browser tab or exited the browser. However, unlike cookies, this data is then never transmitted to the remote web servers. It is now implemented natively in web browsers, unlike all the earlier failed attempts at providing a local storage within web browsers.

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Expanded Feature Set

Offline storage in HTML5 is another added feature with lots of potential for consumer facing applications as well enterprise and business apps. HTML5 allows for web pages to store named pairs locally in the client web browser. This data, much like cookies, persists even after the user has navigated away from the web site or even when he has closed the browser tab or exited the browser. However, unlike cookies, this data is then never transmitted to the remote web servers. It is now implemented natively in web browsers, unlike all the earlier failed attempts at providing a local storage within web browsers.

This web storage feature is currently supported by all the new versions of all the known browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. There are a host of other features which now make using HTML5 extremely useful. Examples of such features include:

  • New syntaxes such as <article>, <aside>, <audio>, <video>, <embed>, <canvas>, <header>, <footer>,<nav> and <section> allow users to do new things on sites as far as coding goes, that was previously not available.
  • Webmasters can now use web workers which run separate threads for processing and performing tasks on websites. Mainly used to craft content and media-heavy websites that run smoothly.
  • Using application caches let web pages store more local information about the visitor than ever before.

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The Value of Real-Time Insight

Above all else, HTML5 paves the way for web developers, brands, web designers, and organizations of all size to craft meaningful and memorable web experiences for their audiences. From digital marketing experiences to web-based accounting applications or HR applications, HTML5 can provide value in a number of varying circumstances.

High Performance HTML5

On HTML5 (From Lynda.com)

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