So, what is HTML5?
HTML5 is HTML. HTML5 is, by all means, the next version of HTML. After a split happened between native HTML and xHTML there had been a definitive divide in the way browsers would render each said type of HTML. This brought along with it a slew of doctypes and unnecessary conventions that were specific to one or the other. Now that xHTML has all but died many of it’s features and it’s ideas have come back into the native HTML strain. What’s this mean? Far more semantic and near XML like tags in HTML5. As well as documentation / standardization for browser vendors to follow, when rendering said tags, and some sweet new attributes to some of our old favorite input elements.
So why is HTML5 important?
Well, if you have just become a web developer in the past 2-3 years you won’t remember the dark times we had before then. Browser vendors made the rules and, to some extent, still do (many of them are involved in creating and documenting the W3C’s specifications HTML5, CSS3 etc.). Long ago every vendor decided, on their own, how to render an HTML page. Making crucial decisions for the user when there was an error or ill-formatted code on the page. Unlike XML, browsers have always rendered HTML in some way even with errors in the code (XML refuses to render if there’s an error). Many have said this is in bad taste but really there wouldn’t have been an issue if there had been a standard way to treat errors and rendering way back when. Well, thank god for smart people! The big guys (Microsoft, Google, Mozilla Corporation etc.) are getting on the same page and making our lives simpler day by day. So be happy you live now and not in the days of uppercase, lowercase, “strict”, “transitional”, DTD’s and all that madness.
The jist of all of this is that HTML5 well help things come together much better and make everyones lives much easier when it comes to website design and programming.