The Buzz about HTML5

One of the biggest buzzes on the Web today is related to the release of a major revision of the HTML standard – HTML5.

In order to understand what exactly HTML5 is, let’s drop the number “5” and start with the question “What is HTML?” HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language”. Without getting too technical, HTML is a set of text-based instructions that web developers write in order to structure and present content for a user to view. This content may be words, photos, videos and interactive applications. HTML may be used to embed scripts in other languages, such as Javascript, to alter the behavior of a webpage. The purpose of a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, is to read these HTML documents and compose them into visible web pages. In essence, HTML elements are the basic building blocks for all web pages.

HTML originated back in the 1990s and is still used today. All websites are built using HTML elements. Since its original release, the language has gone through many different variations and revisions. The most recent release of the HTML language is HTML5, which was released in January 2008 (although it only started gaining wide adoption in late 2011 and is still being implemented into the major web browsers).

Still a bit confused? Check out this short video explaining HTML5:

So, what’s so special about HTML5? Well, not much…unless you consider it is seen as one of the broadest revisions of the markup language since its original release! As browsers catch up to support features that are popular on the web today (like video and data collection, for instance), HTML5 continues to solidify its place in the web world by improving upon the old way of doing things. By using HTML5 to replace plug-in applications – such as using Flash, Shockwave and Windows Media Player to display videos, for example – the Web is becoming more simplified and standardized. This standardization makes it easier for all users to experience the power of the Web – regardless of the browser, device or operating system being used to access a webpage.

Even if you aren’t a programmer, there are many reasons why you should take interest in HTML5. The main benefit – creating a website that is viewable across devices and browsers – is a key concern for nearly every company that communicates to its customers through a website. In addition, HTML5 offers other strong benefits, such as:

  • Faster Load Times. Your website will load faster with HTML5. This is a key component to search engine optimization. Faster loading web pages = better search rankings.
  • Less Risk. HTML5 removes the need for the user to install plug-ins (third-party software applications) in order to properly view your website. The best illustration is to consider the issue that Flash, a plug-in, has with Apple devices. Since Apple doesn’t support Flash, all those cool Flash websites don’t show a thing on an iPad or iPhone.
  • Improved User Experience. HTML5 allows a user to enjoy a faster, more seamless web experience. Better user experience means more time spent on your website, better search engine ranking and higher quality lead generation.
  • More Possibilities. HTML5 is cutting-edge and offers the potential to use the most popular, most current features of today’s Web. Beware that someday in the near future, there will be web technology that is introduced that won’t work in older versions of HTML.

There’s no doubt that the benefits of using HTML5 on your website are quite amazing. But if you are worried that your current website isn’t ready for HTML5, don’t pull out your hair quite yet. HTML5 is still similar enough to the past releases of the HTML language that it’s not difficult to update your site and benefit from the features offered by HMTL5 – without a major overhaul.

Synapse has been coding in HTML5 since 2011. If you are interested in learning how HTML5 can enhance your website’s user experience, improve your site’s search engine rankings and allow your site to become more accessible to all users of the Web, please contact us for a free consultation.

P.S. Not sure if your site is using HTML5 or is HTML5-ready? Post your site’s URL in the comment section below and we’ll check it out for you!

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