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(This is a brainstorming page for a future article.)

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.

Less script needed

New element attributes make it possible for web developers to implement popular features like auto-focus or placeholders without the need to write javascript code to make it happen.

Standard vector graphics API

Developers have been able to draw on the surface of a web page for some time now using either SVG (scalable vector graphics) or VML (vector markup language). While some degree of SVG has been supported for by all of the modern for years, there was a notable exception: Microsoft's IE. Until IE9, SVG support was nill. On the other hand, while Microsoft championed VML for years, they were the only one to do so. Thus the need for standardization.

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