HTML and CSS Reference
Looking ahead in HTML5
The state of HTML5 is an odd one. The W3C, the organization responsible for defining the
language and all its particulars, has released its first public working draft for the new version
of the web language but doesn't expect it to reach its final stage — the recommendation —
That's not a typo: 2022. That's just a little over 11 years from the date of this writing.
However, the competition for browser marketshare is intense and none of the major browser
organizations are waiting for one year much less 11. Numerous features are being imple-
mented as currently specified. Though this is exciting for designers, it also adds elements of
instability and confusion. Until standards are established, designers will have to carefully
implement any new features and do so with eyes wide open to the risks and downsides.
Consequently, some features of HTML5 work today in some of the browsers. Unfortunately
for the designer, implementation is not at all consistent across the board on pretty much any
of the new elements. The goal of this lesson is to clear up the confusion and point the way for-
ward for web designers willing and excited to blaze the trail.
usinG HTML5 Today
The vast majority of the tags in the HTML5 language have been carried over from the previ-
ous version and are fully cross-browser compatible now. All the basics — text, images, links —
are in place and work as before. Most other major structural elements like tables and forms
can also be used as before, but have new features available in HTML5, which browsers have
implemented to varying degrees. A few totally new elements, such as the <video> , <audio> ,
and <canvas> tags, have been introduced in HTML5; many of the major browsers are latch-
ing onto these tags and rendering them, although not consistently.
The primary concern when working with HTML5 — or any web technology — is meeting the
requirements of the site. These requirements are based on the client's needs balanced against
the website's audience. If the client wants to be totally cutting-edge, but a high percentage of