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What can we expect from HTML 5?

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working to set the specifications for the new HTML 5. They have produced a document that outlines all the changes, deletions, and additions. This draft is very long and a little tiring to read, so I’ve tried to create a short summary of important parts. This summary is by no means all inclusive or a replacement for the information in the draft on the W3C’s website.

  • New Elements – These new elements are intended to provide better structure.
    • section, article, aside, header, footer, nav, dialog, figure, audio, video, embed, mark, meter, time, canvas, command, datagrid, details, datalist, datatemplate, rule, nest, event-source, output, progress, ruby, rt, rb
  • New Attributes – The elements listed below have had attributes added to them. There are too many attributes to list in this summary, so I am only listing the elements that have had attributes added.
    • a, area, base, value, meta, input, output, select, textarea, button, fieldset, form, textarea, menu, style, script, html, ol, link, iframe
  • Changed Elements – These elements have been changed to reflect the way they were being used.
    • a, address, b, i, hr, label, menu, small, strong, q
  • Deleted Elements – These elements have been removed either because they should be used in CSS, they had a lack of usability, or they were confusing.
    • basefont, big, center, font, s, strike, tt, u, frame, frameset, noframes, acronym, applet, isindex, dir
  • Deleted Attributes – These attributes have been removed because these, like some of the deleted elements above, they should be used in CSS.
    • accesskey, rev, charset, shape, coords, longdesc, target, nohref, profile, version, name, scheme, archive, classid, codebase, codetype, declare, standby, valuetype, type, language, summary, axis, abbr, scope, headers
    • align, alink, link, text, vlink, background, bgcolor, border, cellpadding, cellspacing, char, charoff, clear, compact, frame, frameborder, height, hspace, vspace, marginheight, marginwidth, noshade, nowrap, rules, scrolling, size, type, valign, width
  • New APIs –HTML5 introduces some new APIs for easier web application creation.
    • 2D Drawing, audio, video, persistant storage, offline, editing, drag & drop, network, notification, history, cross document messaging, server sent events
  • HTMLDocument Extensions – These provide easier interfacing with the DOM.
    • getElementsByClassName(), innerHTML, activeElement, hasFocus, getSelection(), designMode, execCommand()
  • HTMLElement Extensions – These provide easier interfacing with the DOM.
    • getElementsByClassName(), innerHTML, classList

Although I tried to create a detailed summary, there is a lot more not covered here. I would encourage you to read over the new specifications and get a better idea of what HTML 5 is all about. For instance, the deleted attributes are removed from specific elements, so be sure to look over the full documentation before getting too worried about any changes made in HTML 5.

Although this release was a working draft published on January 22, 2008, it is expected to be in development for at least another year if not more.

What do you think about the new HTML 5? Do you have anything to add to the summary? Leave ’em in the comments for all of us to learn from.



9 thoughts on “What can we expect from HTML 5?”

  1. sir jorge says:

    there are too many people and designers relying on html4 to see this work out into a “standard” online.

  2. cowardly dragon says:

    And the killer app/tag is?

    What does this really provide that makes transition, reformatting, rewriting of code, browser development, and all that, worthwhile?

    I don’t see a single tag I care about. While I may not use the deprecated tags frequently, that doesn’t mean they should be removed.

    I’ve heard HTML5 will include a base google gears local storage capability. That sounds nice. A better multithreading model on the browser above and beyond the one AJAX background thread would be nice.

    But this? Useless.

  3. Jose Noheda says:

    Useless?? Can you just imagine the number of things that will be supported by the browser instead of via JS code? In addition cleaner markup is a big step forward. Have you ever tried to maintain an app build with framesets? All in all I find it a BIG improvement. The new APIs are awesome

  4. AzAkers says:

    Very nice – thanks for the easier to consume overview!

    I’m sure the changes will meet with some measure of contraversey and discussion, but most of it appears to be natural progression stuff with attention paid to marrying up HTML 5 nicely & CSS 3 for more effeciency and less crossover of responsibilities.

    Thanks again for the post!

  5. Samer Ziadeh says:

    I love it. Can’t wait for it.
    But in the end won’t the elements article… be aliases for div

  6. paresh says:

    great article, thanks for sharing.

  7. Tyler says:

    Nice post. Thumbs on on SU. I enjoyed the wrap up of the large confusing draft.

  8. clickfire says:

    Great post. Looks like I’ll have to say goodbye to the big and center elements.

  9. NoEasyAnswers says:

    I think the future of HTML is interesting, and I look forward to the finalized specs of HTML5 and CSS3. But both are worthless until browsers actively support them. I unfortunately still have to write terrible code to support IE6 and IE7. Even some very basic pieces of code operate poorly on Firefox.

    Love the info, it’ll be great to see where it goes, but we need standard browsers before it matters 🙂

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