HTML5: A New Web Standard

HTML is a very stable standard that is updated once in a few years. Each time it is updated, there are a few additional elements added and a few are removed. However, HTML5 is a completely different animal. Not only does it support new tags, it has tons of new features that make is easier for us to create and use interactive and animated websites that are fast and fluid.

Let’s take a brief look at the most exciting changes that are coming to the most important web standard.

Audio

With HTML5, you can embed your audio files directly onto your web page without using Adobe Flash. This is a huge feature, more important than most people might think. In the early days, people had to have Flash installed in order to listen to podcasts or streaming music because that was the only way audio could be delivered via the internet.

However, Flash has become very insecure and comes with a lot of performance hit. What’s more, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones do not support Flash, which can potentially limit your audience. By using the <audio> tag in new browsers, you can eliminate the Flash middleman and deliver audio directly.

Video

Video suffered the same problem that audio did in the past. The new HTML5 video element ensures that you do not have to rely on Flash to deliver audio. In supported browsers, you can embed your video files such as mp4, AVI and other formats within the <video> tag. You do not have to go through the <embed> tag anymore and add a bunch of complicated information to your page.

Again, sites that use HTML5 will be equally accessible to users of tablets and phones and get a better experience. However, there are still some issues with the <video> tag because different browsers support different codecs. For instance, Google Chrome supports OGG, which is open source, and not H264, which is a proprietary but widely used format. However, these should be sorted out by the time the final HTML5 spec is issued in the next year or so.

Local Storage

This new feature allows browsers remember what you have typed within the application even after you have closed it or refreshed your page. This is done because rather than storing the text in servers, they are stored on your computer, so they can be retrieved easily.

Geolocation

This feature can be used to identify the location of your device, so websites can display appropriate content. This feature is especially important for mobile devices because you will find results that match where you are staying travelling. This makes it easier for you to find places that interest you.

Most of the new HTML5 features are supported the modern browsers. If you want to take advantage of all these new features, make sure to use modern browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer9 and above and Opera. If you have a new tablet or cellphone, most of these features are already enabled.

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