Preparing for HTML 5

Last year Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), announced that it was about time to revise the HTML (HyperText Markup Language). Version 4 came back in 1997, followed by a minor update in the end of 1999 (4.01).

Recently W3C announced that the initial draft of HTML 5 is ready. The working draft is made by W3Cs HTML Working Group, consisting of almost 400 members from companies like AOL, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia and Opera among others.

The web has changed dramatically since HTML 4 saw the day of light. Moving from static pages to advanced web applications and extensive use of multimedia.

W3C says Ajax and related innovations have pushed the need for a new standard that allows developers to create web applications that works on all platforms, both stationary and mobile.

The initial HTML 5 draft includes several news. Among them a new interface (API) for drawing 2 dimensional graphics, integration of sound and video, administration of persistent data storage on the client side and the possibility of on-line document editing (both in parts and full).

Presentation of common side elements are made easier through tags like section, footer, nav (for navigation) and figure. The latter is meant to add a title or image text to photos and other integrated content.

Some attributes to existing tags will no longer be supported since their functionality are handled better through CSS. One example is align, which is used with a lot of tags today and border in combination with table, img and object.

This specification defines the 5th major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web, HTML. In this version, new features are introduced to help Web application authors, new elements are introduced based on research into prevailing authoring practices, and special attention has been given to defining clear conformance criteria for user agents in an effort to improve interoperability. Developers may also want to read how HTML 5 differences from HTML 4.

Developers can choose between normal HTML syntax and XML syntax when constructing pages in HTML 5.

The future work on HTML 5 will remain public. Let’s just hope the browser companies (especially Microsoft) manages to follow the standards and deliver updates fast and frequently.

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