The HTML standard that delivers website markup to browsers exists since 1990 and last experienced a major update in 1997 (the version known as HTML 4) has now officially been superseded by HTML5 following the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) announcement on October 28th, 2014.
While elements and broader concepts implemented by HTML5 have existed in various forms for a number of years, it was first published as a public working draft in 2008 with status upgrades to “last call,” candidate recommendation, and finally proposed recommendation/recommendation over the past few years until October of 2014. For the average web user this actually means very little given that at the time of this article around 40% of websites (depending on the source) already make use of HTML5 or HTML5 features in a variety of forms around the Internet today.
HTML5 as a Work in Progress
It’s important to make the distinction between W3C’s announcement and the ongoing evolution of the HTML5 standard. While the W3C has officially released HTML5 as a W3C Recommendation, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) continues to evolve the HTML5 standard such that it is always a work in progress while the W3C’s release represents a snapshot of the a stable moment in the history of HTML5’s development.
Will HTML5 Break in Older Browsers?
As most major browsers today already support the HTML5 standard, the majority of Internet users will actually not see any change and likely have already been accessing HTML5 websites in some form or another for quite some time. When it comes to Internet traffic and older browser, the HTML5 standard is designed such that older browser should still be able to display pages despite not understanding HTML5 constructs.
HTML 5 Feature Set
Since the standard has been in play for years, having been implemented with various feature support by major browsers, some of the biggest advances over HTML 4 versions are not necessarily breaking news. The HTML5 API creates the framework for browsers to become more of a thin client with API support that enables drag-and-drop, timed media playback, offline web applications, and such visual tools such as the canvas element. To add complexity to the W3C HTML5 announcement, it’s important to note that the full list of technologies is not necessarily a part of the W3C HTML5 specification but they are in the WHATWG HTML specification.
Upgrading to HTML5
If your website was designed using HTML 4.01 or around other HTML standards, it’s time to upgrade. Contact IQComputing about St. Louis web development options and upgrades to help you make the move to the latest generation of HTML.