Hyper Text Markup Language is a type of code that defines and displays web page content. Your browser is an application designed to read and interpret this code. (You can see this code by using the view source option in your browser.) HTML 5: The latest (5th) revision, or version-in-progress, of Hyper Text Markup Language. It’s expected to become a “candidate recommendation,” or the officially recommended version of HTML in 2012.Before explaining how HTML5 improves on the current standard (HTML 4.01), it's useful to know a short history of HTML…
HTML (and the basic structure of the WWW) was conceived by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist and professor who is the current director of the World Wide Web Consortium, an international standards organization for the web. In the early 1990’s, Berners-Lee created both HTML and the architecture of the WWW, including the first web browser and web server.HTML started out as a very basic method for displaying the look of text, and has undergone numerous draft specifications, the latest being HTML 4.01 in 1999.
One of the main evolutionary advances of version 4.01 was retiring, or deprecating some strictly presentational elements of HTML (such as how fonts are displayed), and adding support for Cascading Style Sheets, to handle these presentational elements outside of HTML code. This strengthened HTML's role as a markup language designed to define the structure of documents rather than their outward appearance, one of the goals of the W3C.
After HTML 4.01, the World Wide Web Consortium decided to base further specifications on a different markup language – XML, or Extensible Markup Language, calling the new specification “XHTML.” XHTML, as a stricter and more well-formed language, was intended to further improve and emphasize the structure of web documents, but didn’t accommodate for the millions of existing web pages that still used HTML. Many web developers felt XHTML was the wrong direction for the web. In 2004, an alternative standards organization formed, called the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, or WHATWG. It included representatives from Mozilla, Opera and Apple. This group proposed extending HTML to support web applications, while remaining backwards compatible. Eventually the two factions agreed that HTML5 was in the web’s future best interest. So, what’s meant by web applications?
Right now when you want to watch video online, you have to use plug-ins and embed code to do it. HTML5, however, supports native audio and video right in the browser, resulting in faster load times. <Audio> and <video> are two new HTML5 elements that support this functionality.
HTML5 also allows the browser to be a native platform for animations, games, and other tools. The <canvas> element allows for “dynamic scriptable rendering” of images, which means images that can be programmed for certain behaviors– the kind of thing that’s usually handled by Flash today. Canvasdemos.comcontains examples of the <canvas> tag at work in browsers that support it.
MCDM student Karen Wilken wrote a Flip the Media post last quarter on how HTML5 may be poised to replace the app store model, because it provides a common platform for creating apps that can run on different mobile devices, replacing the need to develop a separate version of each app for each device (e.g., iPhone and Android).
Standards organizations can recommend a version of HTML, but browsers determine whether and how it’s rendered. Some browsers already support some new features of HTML5 today. Html5test.com can tell you to what extent your current browser supports HTML5.
What the heck is... HTML5
What the heck is… Cheryl Lowry University of Washington MCDM COM585: Managing Your Web Presence November 2, 2011
References• What is XHTML?http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/HTML_vs._XHTML• Tim Berners-Lee: “Reinventing HTML” http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/166• A brief history of markup, by Jeremy Keith http://www.alistapart.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-markup/• What is HTML5? http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/07/what-is-html5.html• Why HTML will kill (or seriously injure) mobile app stores http://flipthemedia.com/index.php/2011/07/why-html-5-will-kill-or- seriously-injure-mobile-app-stores/• Apple shows off Safari’s pioneering HTML5 support http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/03/apple-shows-off/• How well does your browser support HTML5? http://html5test.com/• Buy a shirt, support the open web platform: http://html5shirt.com/