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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 a time a few years ago when the term Web 2.0 was used to describe everything new on the web, from AJAX (asynchronous javascript) to tagging.

On the other hand, unlike the marketing term Web 2.0, 3.0 or 10.7, 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 it 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 develop any of the new features that are supported today.

If you take the time to dig, you'll find that there really isn't anything new relating to animation in HTML5. Javascript developers have been able to animate elements for nearly a decade, though only after the introduction of higher level libraries like Mootools and JQuery did it become easy enough for mere mortals to employ.

HTML5 is a grab bag of new markup elements and attributes. There are features that provide a standards-based alternatives to proprietary plugins, most notably the video element designed to obviate the need for Flash video. There are features designed to reduce the amount of javascript developer's write, such as to provide popular functionality like auto-focus or placeholders.

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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