HTML5, whats it all about ?

HTML5 is a web standard in progress developed and maintained by W3C and WHAT (Web Hypertext Application Technologies working group). HTML5 is a collection of different things, different features. You need to grasp this idea to understand HTML5. Let me explain why.

There are different browsers out there that you can use, each browser having it’s pros and cons. The biggest difference between browsers is what happens under the hood, how they parse HTML and render it, how strictly have they implemented the standard. Since HTML5 is a standard (although not complete), each browser implements the standard differently, therefore you can find browsers that support most of the standard and some support few features of it.

So, what does HTML5 have to offer ? Here are the main features that make up HTML5:

  • Canvas: a canvas is exactly what the name implies, it’s a drawing surface. JavaScript is used to access the canvas APIs to do the actual drawing.
  • Canvas Text: the canvas text APIs are used to draw text on the canvas. Your browser might support the canvas API but not the canvas text APIs
  • Video: the <video> element is used  to embed video in your web page. This was previously impossible without a third party plug in.
  • Local Storage: local storage is used to store data on the client, this data can be used by your site. The concept is similar to cookies but the storage space is much larger.
  • Web Workers: this is one of the most exciting features, it allows your browser to run JavaScript in the background, and run multiple threads at the same time.
  • Offline Web Applications: HTML5 provides a way for your application to work offline. This is done by caching any resources your application need on the client.
  • Geolocation: the geolocation API allows you to retrieve the client’s location. You have to obtain the clients permission first.
These are some of the main features of HTML5. I recommend reading HTML5 Up and Running by Mark Pilgrim for more details on HTML5. The book is great and very much simplified.

5 thoughts on “HTML5, whats it all about ?

  1. It took you all this time 😛 btw i am against the geolocation thing, i guess its a violation for privacy, using IP addresses u used to know where this user comes from (country, city), but using geolocation u can get the user exact location, which users may not be comfort with, i know it asks for user permission but some users may not even understand this, other than that i loved the video tag and the canvas, and loved that form filed are no longer supposed to exist inside form tags 😀

    1. I guess your right about geolocation, but there are really cool things you can do with it ! BTW the geolocation API is developed by a group different than the one developing HTML5. But what I really like is the Web Workers, the idea of running threads on the client is amazing ! Especially if the browser supports hardware acceleration. I just hope they move faster with this standard, because the plan is for it to be official in 2022 😐 Thats too long !!

  2. Finally, Fahad has written a blog post 😀 … I am now somehow far from web development, but it is interesting how can this new protocol open the doors for new generation of web applications. Video tags, canvases and offline web applications … a tendency toward carrying the protocol to the next (higher) level where it has more capabilities and is less dependent on 3rd party products.

    There is a good potential that I will have a background thread for web development at small (and medium?) scales in addition to my main research area. Having summaries about the new emerging technologies is good for serious times.

    For the “different browsers” thing. A headache 🙂

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