HTML5 is currently in the draft stage, and the latest specification is available at the W3C web site. User experience on the Internet will change for sure, and here’s why:
1. Persistent Local Storage: Two different mechanisms are introduced for local storage, not including cookies. Name/Value pairs can be stored easily. But, more significantly, the introduction of a local database that supports SQL makes life a lot easier for web developers. However, this opens up a whole new world of security risks.
2. APIs: A bunch of APIs have been introduced that support local database interaction (mentioned above), dynamic bitmap drawing, interaction with multimedia content, drag-n-drop, network interaction and cross-document messaging.
3. <audio> and <video> tags: In HTML 4, audio and video content had to be embedded using the <embed> tab. This grouped multimedia content with plug-in content. By having their own tags, a lot of flexibility can be offered – including their own APIs.
4. New values for <input type =”" >: date, month, year, email, url etc… Browsers can provide a calendar picklist or integrate email fields with an address book.
5.Presentational attributes dropped and handed over to CSS: Tags like <center>, <u>, <font>, <strike> have been dropped from HTML 5 as presentational elements. CSS does a better job of handling these. Interestingly, <b> and <i> are retained.
6. <canvas> Tag: Used for rendering dynamic bitmap images on the fly – useful for graphs, games, simulations, etc.
7. iframe sand-boxing: Can be used for sand-boxing content, that can be potentially used for malicious activities, e.g. blog comments. An extra set of restrictions are imposed for content enclosed within the sand-boxed iframe.
8. Asynchronous loading of scripts: This enhances user experience. Many times, the browser is waiting for a script to be loaded before the page is rendered. If the script is not required to be loaded for the page to be rendered, it can now be made asynchronous. The page loads faster and user sees content quicker.
9. Allow users to disable autofocus: How many times have you started filling a form while the page was loading, only to be rudely forced onto another field after the page is loaded? The classic example is the user-password field. You begin to type your password, and the next moment, it is publicly displayed on the user field. Alternately, the user can specify which field should be auto-focused if they want the functionality.
10. Frames Dropped: Frames will no longer be supported (finally! ). No more weird scroll bars, and weird borders.
And now, the one reason why it wont:
- It won’t be ready until 2022
2022 ? All the advantages listed above are good for 2008. 14 years ago – 1994 – if there was a HTML recommendation back then which was implemented now, we would’ve still been text browsing with the occasional photo. Who knows if HTML will even exist in 2022. Chrome will probably have 95% market share, and Google will come out with GML which will be the de-facto standard.
It is a colossal waste of time to think about how the Web will look like in 2022. Some argue that browsers like Firefox and Safari provide support for some HTML5 elements now, and will add to that in the future. This is a recipe for disaster. The lack of consistency across browsers is a nightmare for users and web developers alike.