HTML5: Its about time

In the last decade, we saw a lot of changes in the web. Here are some of them.

* Laptops and Desktops are more powerful and hard drives have become bigger. Increases in processor speeds is a simple case of Moore's law at work. While the focus has been to keep applications in the cloud there has also been a growing demand to harness the power of the laptop or computer used to access these web applications. Rich internet applications began this trend. Microsoft created a smart client initiative to address this issue.

* While text is the most basic way to spread the word, the web has grown to transmit more audio, video and image data. When Tim Bernes Lee invented HTML, it catered to a more text-centric web. Since then, the changes made to accommodate other types of data have just been hacks. While html does provide an IMAGE tag, there were no primitives to display dynamic images or animation, or play audio or video media. Javascipt provided the means to embed players to stream audio content.

* One breakthrough in improving performance was the ability to use ajax with javascript and CSS so that only parts of a web page needed to be refreshed instead of having a server deliver the a complete web page and then having the browser refresh that page.

* The growth of Wikis, IM clients, shopping carts for online sites, blogs and social networking has revealed shortcomings of HTML.

HTML, the primary language of the internet has remained untouched since 1999. But now, the big browsers have banded together to push a new specification: HTML 5. The browser list includes Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Apple Safari.

How about IE? Well, the short answer is not completely. IE8 supports some of the tags specified in HTML5.

HTML5 is a development, teb years in the making.Here are the its key features.

Video and audio tags and controls
Specifying the the video file to play, width and height of the player, whether or not to display controls, whether or not to loop video will all be done in HTML itself. The specification also specifies how the video player must respond to a mouse or keyboard click or some other event.
It is then up to the browser as to how the media player will be rendered. There is also a similar audio control. No need to download flash.

There is also an embed element to embed external content like an audio or video file in a page.

Dynamic graphics with the canvas Tag
Using this tag, one creates a placeholder or container on the HTML page where one may display dynamic graphics or images.

Standalone sections using the figure element
HTML5 provides the ability to mark off sections with of a page with the figure element.

Create blog post-like functionality with the article element
The ideal place one could use this is on the main page of a blog where you provide a teaser snippet for a post. This is usually the first few lines or the first paragraph of a post with a "Read more" link at the end. Clicking this link would take you to another page in the blog that contains the text for the entire post.

Provide additional data with an Aside element
This is a useful feature to provide additional information on the content of the page.

Enhanced menu options
One of these is the command tag to specify a command button in the menu. Another is a datalist element to show a drop down list. The days of using Javascript to create this functionality may be numbered.

Enhanced text options
One of these is the dialog option when you wish to exhibit a dialog among two or more individuals on a site. Another is a section tags to specify a section in a page.There are also header and footer tags to add headers and footers to sections.

A new element

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