HTML and CSS Reference
the HTML5 specification seems to touch all manner of topics. In this sense, its critics have a
point about its “everything and the kitchen sink” nature. However, it is impossible for
markup to live in a vacuum, so some overlap and environmental considerations are to be
Unfortunately, given that it looks like a catch-all specification, many people misunderstand
the technology and use the idea of HTML5 simply to refer to anything that is new in a Web
browser. HTML5 doesn't talk about CSS properties. HTML5 doesn't define Web fonts.
HTML5 doesn't change HTTP. While the specification is huge, there is plenty outside of it,
so why is there such a misconception that it covers everything? Well, that's the politics of
the Web at work.
HTML5: Web Politics as Usual
The Web is an interesting place technology-wise because the mob tends to rule. Very often,
well-defined specifications will be built only to be avoided or replaced by ad hoc specifications
that appear to spring out of nowhere. HTML5 tries to tame the mob and bring a bit of order
to the chaos, but that doesn't come easily, particularly when politics and competition are
On the Web, there are those who promote openness, and those who promote new
proprietary features for their own browsers. Some will label such organizations good or
bad, and declare their technology the one true way over others. Such promotion of us
versus them can create loyal followers, but the author finds some of the discussion more
than a bit disingenuous.
Web technologies that were once maligned as proprietary Microsoft features, such as
innerHTML , contenteditable , Ajax XMLHttpRequest object, and more, have been quietly
absorbed into the open Web community. Other capabilities such as CSS transformations,
behaviors, Web fonts, and animations found in Internet Explorer—in many cases for the better
part of a decade—are also maligned as proprietary only to be reintroduced with slight syntax
differences by other browser vendors to hails of the progress of the open Web. “Today
proprietary, tomorrow standard” seems to be the rule of Web standards, and it would seem
that now HTML5 is doing its part to continue politics as usual.
Google has already begun a tremendous push to promote HTML5. The problem is the term
is basically being used as a comparison as to what a major competitor is not supporting, more
than a lucid discussion of the emerging technology. Unfortunately, from my observations,
when most people speak of HTML5, it is more as a code for open Web or even anti-Microsoft,
which reminds me of other misused terms of the last browser battles. Let's hope that cool
heads prevail in the standards fights that will likely ensue.
HTML5: Imperfect Improvement
HTML5 is an imperfect improvement for an imperfect Web world. We simply can't force the
masses to code their markup right. HTML5 doesn't try to accomplish this fool's errand but
instead finds a reasonable path of defining what to do with such malformed markup at the
The HTML5 specification is too big. It's a sprawling specification and covers many
things. However, it tries to document that which is ad hoc and make decisions about issues
left unsolved. Something is better than nothing.