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So what's all this talk about HTML5?

There has been a lot of buzz about HTML5, but, beyond the buzzword, what's it all about?

On one hand HTML5 has become a shorthand of sorts to describe the latest trends in web technology, generally referring to modern whiz bang web multimedia features plus animation. This reminds me of the a few years ago when the term Web 2.0 was used to describe everything from AJAX (asynchronous javascripting) to non-static HTML pages.

On the other hand, unlike the marketing term Web 2.0, HTML5 does refer to a real-world set of enhancements to the W3C HTML specification. It's not a secret spec---anyone can follow this link to read all about it. Go ahead and give a quick look-see:

The thing you should immediately note is that HTML5 is still a working draft. That means you cannot be certain that things won't change, and you can't depend on your favorite new feature being available in all of the major browsers---at least not yet. Fortunately, many of the features have been implemented already in the major browsers from IE to Chrome, so feel free to use those that are supported today.

One misconception about HTML5 is that it opens the door to new richer, dynamic web features. While there are a few novel additions in the spec, HTML5 primarily provides standards-based alternatives to existing proprietary (Adobe Flash) and ad-hoc, scripting-intensive solutions.

Making life easier for developers

New element attributes make it possible for web developers to implement common features like auto-focusing an input or providing placeholder text in an input box without having to resort to writing javascript code.

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