Understanding HTML5 and Why it Matters

By Mikal E. Belicove|For |February 4, 2010

In the year 2000, HTML4 was christened the official language for web page development. A decade later, an eternity on the web, we are just beginning to hear about the next generation of HTML – HTML5.

Someday soon, HTML5 will dominate the web and completely change the way you develop your website and web-based applications. The more you know about HTML5, the better prepared you’ll be to direct your company to take full advantage of this future web standard.

For the uninitiated, HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a system of formatting that controls the look and layout of Web pages. It tells web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome how to display headings, paragraphs, and lists; where to insert images, where links point to, how to display text in tables, and much more. HTML 5 allows programmers to build sophisticated web sites that behave more like downloaded applications.

Theoretically, HTML5 will reduce reliance on proprietary plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash. This means devices that may not support Flash–such as Safari for the iPhone–will be able to leverage the functionality of HTML5, enabling the creation of applications that will run on more devices. HTML5 also supports the following features:

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