Why is HTML5 needed for Web Development?

As we!ve discussed, HTML5 has been created to scratch the proverbial itch.

But what exactly is the itch? And how does HTML5 scratch it? Let!s find out. In HTML 4.01, and earlier versions, we know that there was a document-oriented approach to things. The Web was originally created to display and share scientific documents. That concept of documents continued through the Web!s early life, albeit with more generic information rather than just scientific data. However, in the years after HTML 4.01 there began a rise in dynamic websites and online applications, supported in part by the adoption of Adobe Flash and other third-party plugins that allowed you to create applications full of rich, interactive media. Content management systems (CMS) and services like WordPress started to crop up, offering anyone the ability to create a blog or manage large quantities of content using templates. Flickr allowed for the sharing of photographs, with YouTube doing the same for video. And, once faith was restored in the Internet after the dot com bubble went pop, online stores and auction sites started cropping up all over the place, selling items from books to the unwanted crap in your attic. The Web was becoming less and less static, with more content being user-generated and inherently dynamic. In essence, the Web grew away from its roots in individual static documents, focussing now on large quantities of dynamic data being displayed using templates. It would be wrong to describe the Web in its entirety using this definition, of course, but it highlights a fundamental shift in how the Web was being used. The problem was that HTML was never built to deal with this kind of use; it was built to deal with fairly strict types of document-based content (paragraphs, images, headings, and so on). Anything more exotic, like media or CMS content, required the use of external plugins, like Adobe Flash, and ill-fitting code. Something else was needed that brought HTML up to speed, allowing it to accommodate media and allow for better, more semantic code.

HTML5 brings with it a massive amount of improvements over the old document-oriented Web.

Why is HTML5 needed for Web Development?

Why is HTML5 needed for Web Development?

New elements have been created to mark up dynamic, templated content. Other elements have been created with the sole purpose of ending our reliance on external plugins to experience audio-visual content. These elements alone solve many of the problems, but the W3C (with credit to the WHATWG) hasn!t stopped there. For example, form validation, previously something only achieved via JavaScript, is also part of HTML5. With practically all user-generated content on the Web being created, in part, using some kind of input form, validation within the browser is more important than ever. As well as HTML5, and intrinsically tied to its development, are other technologies that hope to solve related issues. One such example is the Web today being much more mobile than it was 10 years ago – it!s reckoned that 95% of mobile phones have some sort of Internet browser.4 With more and more people wanting to access content specific to their location, would it not make sense to implement geolocation within the browser? These, among others, are technologies that are being created alongside HTML5 to scratch the itch once and for all. HTML5 introduces a whole host of new functionality, covered in page after page of specification on the W3C and WHATWG websites. This book has been written to give you a foundation for understanding the specification; it will take you through the important new features of HTML5 in detail – in plain English.

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