HTML5 Tutorial: HTML5 is in a state of transition

What you’ll learn in this HTML5 Tutorial:

  • HTML5 is in a state of transition

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with HTML5 technologies. It is the first lesson in the HTML5 Digital Classroom Book book. For more HTML5 training options, visit AGI’s HTML5 Classes.

HTML5 Tutorial: HTML5 is in a state of transition

The technologies behind HTML5 are in transition, so you need to determine when you can use them and when you should not. Throughout this book, we will guide you and offer a perspective on the kind of support you can expect in web browsers, and provide scenarios where HTML5 might be more appropriate to use than other languages.

Each of the major browsers in use today (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera) have different support for HTML5 features in the syntax and the supporting family. In some cases, a page that has new functionality or appearance in one browser might not appear at all in another, or features might be missing, but the page continues to be functional. These scenarios might change in the future, but desktop web browsers evolve very slowly, so there will continue to be inconsistent browser support in the near future.

The timeline for browser support

The timeline for full HTML5 browser support cannot be accurately predicted, but the W3C has targeted the second half of the year 2014 as the date when the HTML5 specification will be finalized. Conservative web designers might choose to wait until then to use HTML5 in production environments, but the standard is separate from browser support. Most current web browsers support some HTML5 features. Some of these features are relatively well-developed and safe to use, others are still under development and designers can use them to experiment with the new features, or with the understanding that they might be exchanging reliability for innovation.

Who is using HTML5 today?

Mobile devices and smartphones are active platforms for HTML5 documents and web applications today. Browsers such as Apple Safari for iOS have supported features associated with HTML5 (for example, offline storage and CSS3 animations) for a few years. This is because iOS mobile devices, such as the iPhone and the iPad, have a distinctive hardware profile including screen size and memory capabilities as well as a consistent software profile (only one operating system needs to be supported). Within the controlled environment of a smartphone or mobile device, it is much easier to add advanced features when you know definitively they will be supported by the browser. In contrast, within the landscape of desktop computing, there are far too many variables to support easily, including multiple browsers, old browsers, different monitor resolutions and more.

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The mobile Safari browser on Apple’s iPhone has been using HTML5 features such as offline storage since 2009, and has internal preferences to set the storage size.

Users are also demanding content that is optimized for mobile devices, which HTML5 and its supporting technologies can deliver. For this reason, HTML5 support is a high priority for the manufacturers of these devices. This support, in turn, encourages designers and developers to build unique and compelling websites and web applications that leverage HTML5 features.

All of the major web browsers are committed to HTML5, and by learning these skills today, you can be a part of the exhilarating (and challenging) evolution of the Web.

Identifying HTML5 sites

The World Wide Web Consortium (known as the W3C) is a group that has been in existence since the beginning of the Web. This group has no formal power, but it provides the specifications, or rules, for the various technologies behind the Web. For example, formal specifications for HTML and CSS help browser manufacturers make browsers, and help designers and developers build reliable websites that work in these browsers.

In January 2010, the W3C introduced an HTML5 logo for public use to promote the new capabilities of HTML5 and related technologies.

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The HTML5 logo is free to download and use.

The logo is available as a graphic to display on websites and other media to indicate the use of this technology. Note that the W3C uses the term HTML5 in a broad sense and includes other technologies. In addition, HTML5 will become an official standard in 2014, but web developers and designers are encouraged to start using the specification today. For more information about HTML5 and the logo as discussed by the W3C, visit: