HTML5: 10 Tips That Will Change Your Life - InformationWeek
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7/12/2015
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HTML5: 10 Tips That Will Change Your Life

HTML5 is the future of the Web. Whether you're a developer or a power user, there are things you should know about the Web's new programming foundation.
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(Image: HTML5 logo and wordmark by W3C. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

(Image: HTML5 logo and wordmark by W3C. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

In case you missed it, the Web has changed. All of that online banking, real-time video chatting, and cat-video sharing has stretched the foundation of the Web to its breaking point and beyond. That's why the foundation has been given an upgrade.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the language of the browser. Originally based on the document-oriented Standard General Markup Language (SGML), HTML served the needs of the original academic users of the Web through its first four versions, but the increasing user demand for a variety of functions -- from secure encrypted transactions to video media -- meant that APIs, SDKs, add-on libraries, and external applications had to be bolted on to the HTML in order to make things work more or less the way people and organizations wanted. So in 2004 the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) started working on a new version of HTML to be known as HTML5.

On October 28, 2014, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) -- which had joined forces with the WHATWG to develop the standard -- released HTML5 as a stable recommendation, which is standards-speak for "it's finished." Now we can all sit at our systems and enjoy the benefits that HTML5 will bring to everyone.

And what might those benefits be? They depend, a bit, on whether you're a developer or a user. For developers, life can be dramatically simpler under HTML5 than under HTML4.1 because there are add-ons and extras that you won’t need to use. That’s a good thing, though there are still some issues you'll have to take into consideration in the near term.

For users, life should be easier, because many of the add-ons that create security holes and compatibility problems are no longer required in order to have a rich, secure browser experience. And that browser experience should extend to more devices with a consistent look and feel from screen to screen. What's not to like, right?

[Think Fortran is dead? Think again.]

It's important to remember that HTML5 is a standard in the early stages of its finalized life. That means there are going to be some bumps in the road and some surprises along the way. That's why we thought it would be helpful to give some insight into this new way of building Web pages.

If you're already coding in HTML5 all of this might be old news -- and you might have some insight into things we missed. Let us know about your experiences and your plans. It would be nice to have some real information on HTML5 before HTML5.1 rolls around (and that process starts next year). Let's get started, shall we?

Curtis Franklin Jr. is executive editor for technical content at InformationWeek. In this role he oversees product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he acts as executive producer for InformationWeek Radio and Interop Radio where he works with ... View Full Bio

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KrantiM901
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KrantiM901,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2017 | 6:40:52 AM
Appreciate your effort in helping others
Really appreciate your good intention to help others to share your valuable knowledge in nice written words.

Thanking you, Sir.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 3:04:32 PM
Re: What? Still!
@TerryB:

 

Thanks TerryB for taking time out to explain. Now it makes perfect sense to me.
dried_squid
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dried_squid,
User Rank: Moderator
7/21/2015 | 4:40:39 PM
not JavaScript
I enjoy doing hypertext docs with HTML 5 and CSS 2.1. If I can avoid the typical office wordprocessor, I do a folder of HTMs, CSSs, JPGs, and PDFs. Then ZIP 'em.


If I can not avoid the typical office wordprocessor, ie. I am disallowed hypertext, then I prefer plain text ala Notepad saved as UTF8.

 

The most engaging thing in HTML 5 is the <section>. I'm currently redoing a couple document sets to CSS 2.1 and splitting <div>s into semantic <section>s and format-driven <div>s.

The most interesting is media queries.

A media query consists of a media type and at least one expression that limits the style sheets' scope by using media features, such as width, height, and color. Media queries, added in CSS3, let the presentation of content be tailored to a specific range of output devices without having to change the content itself. - developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Guide/CSS/Media_queries

 

To me there are two portable digital file strategies - PDF and HTML.

 

 

There is one major exception for me - in photography. if I took the picture, my final media is always the photographic print. I was like this in the film only days, and now ... it seems even more precious.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2015 | 12:18:41 PM
Re: What? Still!
What is ironic is that when browing websites on my phone I always looks for the button to get the full version of the site. I very rarely prefer the mobile version.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2015 | 1:22:40 PM
Re: What? Still!
@nasimson, it isn't really the decade old problem anymore. That was about developers coding around proprietary browser extensions. What Curtis is talking about is how mobile/Touch applications have to be coded with completely different interfaces than desktop/mouse interfaces. For example, would you really use a 10 field grid on a iPhone? It would be so small you couldn't read anything.

That's a huge part of what the Javascript guys I'm talking about in my post have tackled. In Sencha Ext JS5, they have created a design methodology MVVM (Model, View, Viewmodel) to make as easy as possible on us. You can at least organize your business logic to occur once in the app and then create Views for Desktop, Tablet and Phone which are tailored for that form factor. You app detects what it is running on and then uses correct Views. Also nice, they translate events automatically for you depending on what running on. For example, Click event is translated to Tap.

I don't think the day will ever come where exact same app will look/run same on a 24" mouse desktop and a Touch device of any screen size. Even within Touch, what you can do on tablet is different than what you can do on phone screen. I'm sure these guys like Sencha will keep pushing to automate as much of that as they can but there are limits.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2015 | 5:11:14 PM
Chrome's dinosaur-jumping-over-cactii game
Is the Chrome's dinosaur-jumping-over-cactii game built using HTML 5? Seems pretty fast. Lately I have begun developing an addiction for it.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2015 | 5:05:14 PM
What? Still!
> Pages will need to continue to query the browser for type and device, and then
> load sections and versions as appropriate. Sorry.

Really? This is a decade old problem. I was expecting it was solved once and for all with HTML 5. It seems that it is still not. 

Why this is so difficult to solve. Keeping watches aside, World has already settled for three screen sizes: mobile, tablet and laptop/desktop.

Would we have to wait for HTML 6 to solve this?
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2015 | 1:17:32 PM
Javascript Platforms
Curtis doesn't talk this because his focus is explaining HTML5 itself. But the really cool thing going on with this move to HTML5 and CSS2 is the open source world taking Javascript and essentially creating new high level programming languages for client side coding which generates the appropriate HTML5/CSS2 at run time. I personally have been using Sencha Ext JS & Touch for a few years now but jQuery is another, and there are several more.

Javascript itself is a classless language, not like C+ or other OOP language. At it's core, it's like Assembler compared to COBOL. What these guys like Sencha are doing is using Javascript to build high level constructs and simulate the class structure of those languages. This allows developers like myself to now work at a very high level and let these Javascript libraries themselves handle the detail behind it.

For example, as a developer you put an "object" type of a Grid on your application and link it to the data source fields to display. The platform itself generates all the necessary code to both render the grid visually and make it functional. For a guy like myself who started back in the CICS/COBOL mainframe days and has watched the web develop, this is by far the biggest improvement I've seen in the productivity of creating these types of applications.

But without HTML5, this movement would not have gone very far. Curtis is right on how HTML5 enables a great future in developing browser/mobile apps for us all. Even Microsoft, forever a believer in it's own proprietary languages/protocols (Active X, COM, .NET) has embraced HTML5/CSS2 on it's tablets/phones.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2015 | 11:27:41 AM
Compatibility
I seem to find myself spending more time on BrowserStack these days, but overall am enjoying it the change. Most of my clients are fine with us using more HTML5 at this point. I am much more of a backend programmer than front end focused web devloper, but am finding HTML5 to make more sense to me.
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