In general parlance the term “HTML5” is used to describe a suite of technologies, much as “Web 2.0” was several years ago. This is particularly inaccurate in the case of HTML5: there is no such thing as “HTML5 animation” for example, although you will often see references to it: HTML5 cannot achieve animation by itself.
While we’re on the subject, let’s dispatch a few other myths and misunderstandings regarding HTML5:
As of this writing, HTML5 is ready for implementation on most mainstream websites, with some caveats. No browser yet supports the complete HTML5 spec (although some, such as IE 11 and Chrome, are getting very close), and IE8 does not support it at all. Before embarking on making a site it is vital to learn what browsers your market is using.
HTML5 has only just become a done deal, and there are aspects that may still be open to interpretation.
HTML5 does not replace XHTML, or make it obsolete. The two languages will be used alternatively (and in some cases, side-by-side) for at least the next several years.
- Any good lessons and habits you learned from XHTML are still applicable to HTML5. HTML5 expands and improves upon XHTML; it does not kill it.
Mobile & Other Technologies
If you are making a website that will primarily be interacted with on smart mobile devices, such as iPhones, Android, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile and recent Blackberries, HTML5 may be a very good strategic decision: the browsers on those devices have strong support for HTML5.
Before we start into what is different about HTML5, it might be instructive to take a moment to ponder how we got here, and answer a few questions: what happened to XHTML2? How was development of the language taken from the W3C? And where is the role of XML in all of this?