A Preview of HTML 5

by Lachlan Hunt

126 Reader Comments

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  1. Wow…it’s interesting. i will to see

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  2. I really think just having a migration to xml would be better, instead of all of these tags defined for us. seems very limiting.

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  3. This is very useful addition to the general knowledge on the subject.

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  4. I was looking for a solution to a structural markup problem I’m having and came across the “HTML+ specification”:http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/HTMLPlus/htmlplus_1.html from 1993. Now why don’t they just implement some (or most) of the tags discussed in this document?

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  5. Certainly not those hellbent on staying in the html stone age who will have to learn a host of new things.

    I don’t see how it helps the standards community by blurring content with presentation once again.

    Nor do I see how it helps people innovate the web by implementing very specific inflexible tags. If there’s going to be a new html it should be what we have with fewer, more general tags, not more.

    Reading the specs reminds of that scene in Robocop 2 where a committee of politicians reprograms his directives and he goes from four to thousands.

    I’m still not clear what the actual purpose of html 5 is? We’re already on the right track. We have everything we need to keep content, presentation and behavior separate.

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  6. “Benefits of Using HTML
      * Backwards compatible with existing browsers
      * Authors are already familiar with the syntax
      * The lenient and forgiving syntax means there will be no user-hostile “Yellow Screen of Death”? if a mistake accidentally slips through
      * Convenient shorthand syntax, e.g. authors can omit some tags and attribute values”

    I thought we’d all agreed that most of these “benefits” were a “bad” thing that contributed to browser bloat and accessibility.

    Excess backwards compatibility forces us to continue to limit our sites for people who refuse to move on from the stone age.

    Allowing improper nesting and syntax aggravates the issue of cross-browser compatibility. I have no problem with maintaining the core elements in future versions of xhtml (as long as all presentational attributes get yoinked) but I don’t think it’s too much to ask of people to write it all in lower case and close their damn tags properly so we don’t have to deal with 8 browsers that look for and compensate for these mistakes in 8 different ways.

    Has the W3C forgotten why it was formed in the first place? What’s the point of a spec that lets people ignore standards to a greater degree than xhtml transitional and strict do?

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  7. I just tried out the HTML 5 <video> tag on Safari 3.1.

    Looking forward even more towards a full scaled HTML 5 support in all major browsers.

    It’s just wonderfull!

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  8. Anything that makes rendering the UI easy can only be a step in the right direction. This will enable interaction designers to quickly set up mock ups for their clients and hence enhance rapid prototyping.

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  9. good to see this in the works

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  10. I am not sure I can see the purpose of HTML 5 and changing from divs to headers, nav, etc.  I like that the div is generic because of nesting multiple divs.  For instance, at times I make a header with 3 <div>s.  1 main div, 2 nested divs, one floated L and R.  Can you do all this nesting with HTML 5?  Theres more complex layouts then just those basic areas mentioned.  how can 5 do that?  And what is wrong with XHTML and CSS???  I like CSS and the things I can do with it.

    I think HTML 5 is a step backwards.  Definitely not a good thing.  Just a cryin shame.

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  11. I don’t think the HTML5 specification will do anything to progress the Web and more to the point, it will most likely become a lost chapter in web history.

    It attempts to further dictate how to markup a document to a Web browser – which in the end is just a program that draws things on a screen to present to the user. Oh, and it has a URL box at the top that allows you to warp to other presentations.

    Let’s be honest, HTML was only a solution to marking-up plain text, and it WASN’T great at that either.

    As a language, HTML gave the computing world:
    1) the ANCHOR tag.
    2) JavaScript (Because people quickly realized how dull HTML was)

    A better solution:
    How about a DirectX mode (Or OpenGL mode?) Or XAML or SVG mode? I mention these just for the out-of-box thinking, not that I want to write up a text document in DirectX.

    But that’s why people have been excited about Flex and Silverlight – because it’s write-once, standard across all platforms in presentation.

    Christ, we already have 100’s of existing languages that can do this, we just need to say YES this is the new language of the web – and then add some simple context markup to it.

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  12. This certainly is an interesting debate, but I think the comment made by Niels Matthijs at #19 and the author’s comments at #11 helped me to get off the fence, and to embrace the new version of the language. Thanks!

    - Rod Homor

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  13. First of all, thanks for the article. I came across it while searching for clarification on how the <section> & <article> elements might play out on a page. Your example was great & made perfect sense.

    For quite some time, I have marked up all my pages with <divs> with ids (“container”, “header”, “navcontainer”, “content”, etc.), but I’ve always had this nagging feeling that I was somehow cheating the system (semantically speaking). I teach web design to high school students, and I approach the subject with an emphasis on semantic markup, so every time I teach layouts, I always wonder if I should use <div>s in so many different ways (we’ll call it the semantic angel on my shoulder speaking).

    I’m a little tired of my semantic demon winning out every time I teach layout design, so I’m seriously considering teaching layouts using the new HTML5 elements the way this article presented it. To me, the extra tags in HTML5 provide what I was looking for (for the most part).

    The headers have also given me some semantic soul-searching as well. I usually place an <h1> tag in the “header” div for the name of the site. Every time I do that, though, I wonder whether it’s appropriate or inappropriate to place an <h1> or <h2> at the top of the “content” div. Now that there are semantic sections to my page (headers, articles, sections, etc.), I suppose the title to each of those sections would most naturally be an <h1>, and that problem is solved too. 

    I still plan to use a container <div> every now and then to allow myself more CSS options, and I’ll probably always have a little semantic angel on one shoulder trying to convince me otherwise.

    As to all the authors who have vented over browser implementation (especially IE), I think you are misplacing your anger. It’s a necessary evil, but we’ve been dealing with it for many years now. I’ve learned to add a few conditional ie tags to isolate IE 5 & 6 in order to fix a few of their annoying bugs, add a png-fix, and then I moved on with my life.

    As to the 10-year implementation, my understanding is that the <abbr> tag was not implemented by IE until version 8 (from A Day Apart: HTML5 in Seattle). They are being realistic about how long it takes for browsers to get it right (especially IE).

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  14. http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2544849

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  15. Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing overview of html 5.

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  16. Thanks for the article.
    Is very important use the new html5 tags.. but it is even more important use it well!

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