What is HTML5 all about?

Last night I suddenly realised that I didn’t really know what “HTML5” was. I wasn’t devastated about it but I did feel it would be a good reason to learn a thing or two about HTML and HTML5.

The story starts with Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web in the early 1990s and subsequently founding W3C, an organisation aimed at creating and maintaining uniform web standards. W3C launched the first version of HTML, followed by subsequent iterations, with HTML5 being the latest exponent.

HTML is essentially the mark-up language used for building and structuring web pages. The main things that the new HTML5 incorporates are features like video playback and drag-and-drop. Most of these features were previously dependent on 3rd party browsers such as Adobe Flash.

However, HTML doesn’t work in isolation: HTML, JavaScript and CSS are the three main components that make up a website. I’m not a developer but the way I understand it, you start by by creating your web pages using HTML (creating page structure and elements), then you apply JavaScript code to add interactivity and intelligence to the pages and, finally, you apply CSS to style the pages and to make them look good.

So this is what I’ve learnt about HTML and HTML5 so far:

  1. HTML is the standard mark-up language used by developers to build and structure web pages.
  2. If you were to compare a website to a house, then HTML acts as the foundation, JavaScript as the bricks and CSS as the paint
  3. What makes HTML5 different? It intends to facilitate the way in which we’re increasingly using the web; HTML5 supports video, audio and other rich applications that we’re previously dependent on 3rd party browsers.

Main learning point: as a non-technical head I like to try to keep technical things as simple as possible: HTML is the universal language used to build and structure web pages. HTML5 is its latest incarnation, currently ‘under construction’, which supports rich web applications and plug-ins.

Related links for further learning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

http://diveintohtml5.org/

http://www.w3.org/

http://atendesigngroup.com/blog/brief-history-html

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/javascript-and-html.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/audio/2010/nov/09/internet-digital-media

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