Why HTML5 Is Alive

November 15th, 2013 in Design, Development, Web code development html5

If you’ve only recently got used to the idea that websites are written in some weird language known as ‘HTML’, we might have bad news for you: we’re already on the fifth version of it! The good news, though, is that this makes a real difference to the effectiveness of your website.

‘HTML’ stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language’ and was invented in the early 1990s by the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee. Its primary purpose was to enable users to ‘mark-up’ text on the internet, particularly with links to other texts but also with instructions for how to display the text – as italics, for instance, or in bold.

HTML encloses text within certain tags in order to achieve the desired effect. For instance, text can be rendered italic by enclosing it with ‘<i>’ or, more recently, ‘<em>’ tags. This function has been fundamental to the success of the World Wide Web: HTML is the reason computers can display attractive, navigable text immediately and without any coding knowledge on the part of the user.

Like any successful innovation, HTML has been subject to further developments. The number of usable tags have increased, for example, so that even the apparently simplest function – opening a link from which Google can read some information in a new window, for instance – can be expressed in a number of complex ways. (One of the many far-from-perfect methods might be ‘<a href=”http://www.image-plus-co.uk” alt=”Image Plus” title=”Image Plus” target=”_blank”>’. Clear as mud? Thought so!)

Berners-Lee is now director of the World Wide Web Consortium (or W3C), which exists to promote ‘web standards’ – essentially encouraging the millions of people who write code for the web to do so in as uniform, simplified and accessible a manner as possible. That’s why HTML5 is about to be introduced: to iron out the many kinks and inconsistencies that have developed over the last twenty-five years of HTML improvisation.

So why is this important to you? Because HTML5 will make the World Wide Web work better: it replaces not just HTML4, but XHTML1 and DOM Level 2 HTML (don’t worry, there’s no test later). It adds new support for media – fast becoming as important to the web as text, if not more so – and it eliminates many tags which once existed in order to keep the code manageable and (relatively) easy to read for humans. Finally, it makes sure that HTML will still make sense in an increasingly multi-platform world – on desktop computers, on mobile phones, on tablets and even on TV.

HTML5 is still in the testing stage, and won’t be fully released until the end of 2014. But at Image Plus we’re already engaging with this key new language for the web, and making your website ready for the future: with new functionality, better on mobile, easier and quicker to read and convert for screen, and – most importantly – readable everywhere by everyone.

Your website is your shop window. HTML5 keeps it clean.