HTML 5 is the fifth major iteration of HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language. HTML is the markup language that uses markup tags to describe web pages. It is not a programming language. A browser then interprets the tags and then outputs a web page (including the text inside the tags). With all the new media capabilities and levels of interactivity we come to expect from any tech experience with our computer and mobile devices, HTML 5 was created to address these needs, and issues that HTML 4 had with these abilities. So what is HTML5 and what’s the big fuss?
One thing that HTML5 can handle is video media. Before, to play certain videos, you would have to download a plug-in for your browser to properly display the video on the web page. The same issue also happened with audio files (but is not as big of an issue as with video). You would have to make sure you had the right program to play the video, and if not, you would have to go out and install a plug-in or update it. Java, QuickTime, Flash, Sliverlight plug-ins are just a few plug-ins we used to view media on our computers and devices. On mobile devices some manufactures dropped support for these plug-ins in order “to create a better user experience” ( for example save battery life). This left some of the Internet not accessible or viewable through these mobile devices. HTML5 does not requires plug-ins. Instead it lets sites directly embeds media with the simple HTML tags “<video>” and “<audio>”. You can play the video directly inside the browser. Another great feature of HTML5 is working and storing data “offline” or without an Internet connection for web applications.
HTML5 stores data offline for web apps. For instance, when you connect to your email, you can only check your emails when you’re online, browse when you have appointments set up in online calendars, and create presentations using your online apps suite (something like Google Docs). HTML5 gives you the ability to work with this data and edit it offline, and when you are back online, it will be updated with all the changes you made offline through syncing. There’s some improvements that need to be made on this front, but with our lives slowly moving to the cloud and using devices that rely on wi-fi, this important feature is at least beginning to be addressed in HTML5. Another improvement to the way we work is enabling us to drag and drop objects and interact with objects inside HTML5.
Drag and drop and interacting with web pages is another great feature in HTML5. With having this feature built into HTML5 and a web site that can be marked up to use this feature, it is possible to drag files from the desktop to your web app in the browser window. The Google Chrome browser supports the ability to drag file objects out from the browser to the desktop.The Google Chrome browser has also built interactive apps you can use right inside the browser. Biodigital Human is a great example of the interaction you can have with a web page using HTML5 and not have to install any plug-ins. You can rotate a 3D model right inside the application and turn on and off different 3D models related to the human body. It replaces that interaction you would have with a Flash based website.
As HTML5 becomes the standard for web pages to be written, there will be more and more features and capabilities HTML5 will have to offer us. I encourage you to take a look at some of the features above and interact a little more with the web browsing experience, all thanks to HTML5.