The five best features of HTML5
HTML5 has been in development since 2004 now and we’re still far from being able to call it finished, or even close to finished! It will however, provide a great, new platform for website designers and developers to show their creative flare and make better use of their time with simplified tags and all-round options. Whilst there have been quite a few examples of HTML5 in the past year or so (http://lights.elliegoulding.com) we’re still a long way off from seeing it on every website, as well as actually being able to see it in a wide range of browsers. Below I have made a quick overview of 5 features within HTML5 that will make your lives easier and your code a bit more lively!
One of the new features within HTML5 is the fact that you can now describe content easily. In the previous iteration of HTML (HTML4, which has been used for over 10 years now!) you had to use <div id=”header”> to let the page know that it was the header. Now, all you have to do is <header> and the browser will know exactly what to do.
Embedding videos on a page is now much easier than what it was previously with HTML4! Say goodbye to relying on 3rd party codes to embed videos that your users and visitors can watch, now all you have to do is use HTML5′s built in coding to embed your media of choice. All of this is then rendered by the browser itself and with a <video preload controls> tag, your users can easily start/pause the video, skip and change the volume – everything you’d expect from a plugin, but direct from your browser!
The new canvas addition to the language is one that’s going to (in my opinion) feature in the vast majority of websites once HTML5 has been made “the norm”. It can be used to dynamically create graphics, animations and graphs as well as a few other nifty things, all whilst preventing the need for plugins or addons. There have been quite a few examples of the HTML5 canvas code in the past couple of years and one of the most popular was Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown” which shows off just what you can do with the canvassing feature and it’s very impressive.
With the new “contenteditable” tag, developers are able to design sections of their pages to be editable by it’s visitors. This can be useful in many situations, such as making a to-do list (couple it with the local caching feature below and you have yourself a little application available both on and offline!) or even something as complex as a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to edit web pages and code! Most browsers already support this code so there are countless examples of editable content on the internet and one of the easiest pages to test this out on is here.
With HTML5 comes a local application cache. This can be used for various things but the biggest example at the moment would be for storing applications locally such as e-mails. The guys over at Google have already started using this feature with its Google Gears client making way for a HTML5 based solution. Now I know browsers already cache content to a certain extent, but it’s not quite the same. With HTML5′s new local caching, developers are able to define which parts of the webpage are saved locally, such as images and css (entire pages can be saved if you wish!) and then can be recalled either when you load the page again in the same session, or even after you’ve restarted your PC. Developers can also create applications that can run both online and offline using this part of the code, which will open a whole host of opportunities in the future.
All in all, HTML5 is looking to be very promising and with constant development of ideas and uses for the language, the web is set to be taken by storm. The endless possibilities brought to the table by HTML5 will change the way we look at and use websites in the next few years and quite frankly, I’m looking forward to it (even if they do say it won’t be completed until 2022!)