CSS Design

What is HTML5 and why all the fuss?

17 Feb 2011

Image of the HTML5 W3C Badge
To date HTML5 has been a “draft specification document” by the W3C and as I am sure all developers are glad that we will finally get to have an official release date announced which is July 2014. This will mean that the W3C will then officially recommend HTML5.

Huh, why are you talking about this now, when the official launch date is so far away?

Well to be honest most modern browsers already support most HTML5 specifications and with the use of graceful degradation we can get around the browsers that do not support HTML5 yet. Furthermore a more important date is that of July 14th 2010, which is the cut of date announced by the W3C by when no more additions to the new specification will be accepted.

What does HTML5 offer?

I think the best way to start explaining this is by explaining what HTML5 is not. It is not CSS3, SVG or JavaScript API’s even though the W3C has marketed it as such in the W3C site promoting HTML5 and this can only be best described as a marketing ploy.
What do the badges mean that you may find in some websites such as the badge shown here below…

HTML5 Powered with Connectivity / Realtime, CSS3 / Styling, Device Access, Graphics, 3D & Effects, Multimedia, Performance & Integration, Semantics, and Offline & Storage

Semantics better known as the Semantic Web

Image of the W3C HTML5 SemanticsAccording to the the W3C’s HTML5 website – Giving meaning to structure, semantics are front and center with HTML5. A richer set of tags, along with RDFa, microdata, and microformats, are enabling a more useful, data driven web for both programs and your users.

According to Wikipedia – The key element is that the application in context will try to determine the meaning of the text or other data and then create connections for the user. The evolution of Semantic Web will specifically make possible scenarios that were not otherwise, such as allowing customers to share and utilize computerized applications simultaneously in order to cross reference the time frame of activities with documentation and/or data. According to the original vision, the availability of machine-readable metadata would enable automated agents and other software to access the Web more intelligently. The agents would be able to perform tasks automatically and locate related information on behalf of the user.

Offline and Storage

Image of the W3C HTML5 Offline StorageWeb Application’s (Apps) can start faster and work even if there is no internet connection, thanks to the HTML5 App Cache, as well as the Local Storage, Indexed DB, and the File API specifications.

Device Access

Image of the W3C HTML5 Device AccessBeginning with the Geolocation API, Web Applications can present rich, device-aware features and experiences. Incredible device access innovations are being developed and implemented, from audio/video input access to microphones and cameras, to local data such as contacts & events, and even video tilt orientation.


Image of the W3C HTML5More efficient connectivity means more real-time chats, faster games, and better communication. Web Sockets and Server-Sent Events are pushing (pun intended) data between client and server more efficiently than ever before.


Image of the W3C HTML5 MultimediaAudio and video are first class citizens in the HTML5 web, living in harmony with your apps and sites. Lights, camera, action!

3D, Graphics and Effects

Image of the W3C HTML5 3D, Graphics and EffectsBetween SVG, Canvas, WebGL, and CSS3 3D features, you’re sure to amaze your users with stunning visuals natively rendered in the browser.

Performance and Integration

Image of the W3C HTML5 Performance and IntergrationMake your Web Apps and dynamic web content faster with a variety of techniques and technologies such as Web Workers and XMLHttpRequest 2. No user should ever wait on your watch.

CSS3 Styling

Image of the W3C HTML5 CSS3 StylingCSS3 delivers a wide range of stylization and effects, enhancing the web app without sacrificing your semantic structure or performance. Additionally Web Open Font Format (WOFF) provides typographic flexibility and control far beyond anything the web has offered before.

Remember though, as always take things with a pinch of salt, as things are not as simple as they appear and just because the badge says it is built with HTML5 the browser that the user has on their PC may not support all or some of the specifications.

A final point of interest is that by July 2014 technology and browsers will have moved way beyond the HTML5 W3C specification so organizations’ such as the Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group (Phew! Better known as the WHATWG) have announced that the WHATWG HTML specification (Note: the version number is missing!) will now be considered a “living standard”. It’s more mature than any version of html specification to date, so it makes little sense to refer to it as a “draft”. They have abandoned the use of what is known as a snapshot model of specification (Obviously aimed directly at the W3C HTML5 Version).

So what will the future hold? Well, as always the Internet is developing at such a phenomenal rate that in all honesty we will just have to wait and see.

Recommended reading:

NOTE! We do not have any affiliation to a List Apart/a Book Apart or any of their subsidiaries we are simply pointing out a book or series of books which we believe to be worthy of recommendation, because we have read or are currently reading them and deam them worthy.

A Book Apart – HTML5 for Web Designers

Image of HTML5 for Web Designers a book from a book apart

Links of intrest

w3.org – The Next Open Web Platform by Philippe Le Hégaret

WHATWG – HTML5 Web Developers Specification

Woofoo – The Current State of HTML 5 Forms

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