HTML and CSS Reference
C H A P T E R 1
Getting Started: Transitioning to
HTML5 is the first major update to the HTML specification in more than a decade. A
decade! And what an update it is! Exciting new features such as multimedia support, in-
teractivity, smarter forms, and better semantic markup are present, but the slate is not be-
ing wiped clean and started from scratch. The HTML you know and love is still there for
you to play with, as is XHTML. With HTML5, you are free to code your pages in (al-
most) any way you are familiar with, but mastery of your craft comes from understanding
the history, conventions, and semantics (meaning) of what you are coding and from cre-
ating informed decisions that drive your authoring style.
This chapter will untangle the foundations of HTML5 so that you can see where it has
come from; this is followed by an overview of fundamental HTML terminology and con-
cepts. Next, the major changes of HTML5 are summarized, and the state of XHTML is
explained. Finally, some tools for using HTML5 features today are summarized, followed
by a listing of other web developer tools.
HTML5 = HTML
What does HTML stand for? “Hypertext Markup Language.” This is likely not new to
you. Well, what then does HTML5 stand for? “HyperText Markup Language, version 5”
sounds reasonable. It's a reasonable assumption indeed, but HTML5 has a convoluted his-
tory that makes the term not as clear as it first seems. It may mean the most recent draft
of the HTML specification to some, a stable snapshot of a larger specification to others,
or a label to describe a whole suite of new and not-so-new technologies that aim to make
the Web a richer, more engaging place to interact with.