If I build it with HTML 5 will they come?
At its introduction to the world, HTML5 was celebrated by the likes of Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Google’s Eric Schmidt. It was pitched as the future of the internet boasting a world wide web filled with richer, faster and improved website pages.
But what is HTML and what does it do? It refers to hypertext markup language. It is ubiquitous in all websites, in other words, every website on the internet has used it as its building blocks. It provides the content of the web page. It adds “markups” to common English text and creates links, called hypertext, connecting web pages together, which is what makes up the world wide web. It allows you build a web page, then upload it on the internet in order to get online. You are will then be part of the world wide web all because of HTML.
But what about the science bit? It is basically the core language used on the world wide web serving as a skeletal frame that gives a structure to web pages.As a language, it consists of a series of values and words which have specific meanings which relate to certain tasks. These meanings and tasks are wedded to one another by a defined syntax. It works as a complementary language which holds the content which we recognise, for example, images, audio, video and of course words. Its function is to work invisibly behind the scenes and provides the information for interface with the web browsers. These then reinterpret the information in shapes and forms we recognise and they are used in the varied applications and processes that make up our online activity.
To the uninitiated, the language looks completely impenetrable using as it does brackets containing symbols and interspersed with words and phrases in no discernible order that we might be familiar with. Check the source code of any web page by right clicking and then clicking again on view page source. Confusing? Yes. However it is not for us, not just yet anyway, a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, acts as a friendly intermediary and converts this source code to detailed web pages with the usual array of marvellous things that web pages display.
So where did it come from? Well, the answer is Tim Berners-Lee developed it in 1990 to create electronic documents, which we call pages, to be displayed on the world wide web also invented by Mr Berners Lee, one year beforehand. He subsequently set up a W3C the World Wide Consortium endowed with the task of the technical development of the Web. They have continuously sought to improve the language and we are currently at the fifth revision point.
HTML 5.1 being a first minor revision of HTML 5 is due to be introduced in 2017, in an effort to add new features to help Web authors be more creative. They stated in a recent media release that they are committed to ‘defining clear conformance criteria for user agents’ to help improve interoperability.
Developers need to keep up with the richer textual environment that people demand of their web presence and HTML helps address some of the issues with a variety of refinements. Here is a quick summary of a review by MDN, Mozilla Developer Network of the HTML 5.
- Connectivity: New novel ways to communicate with the server.
- Semantics: More accurate content description.
- Storing data offline: Web pages can store data locally on the client’s side.
- Multimedia: Improving audio and video.
- 2D/3D graphics/effects: Diversification of presentation choice.
- Performance and integration: Faster and better usage of existing hardware.
- Device access: Provides for a greater variety of output and input devices.
- Style: Developing authors can employ more textural subject matter.
So as the internet and world wide web evolves, it seems the language and interfaces have to evolve as well. Having surveyed some of the online commentaries I would say that on the whole, most are happy with this developments. The up and coming refinements of HTML 5.1 will undoubtedly tweak some of the glitches that are found in 5 through open source forums and communities. Perhaps it will even encourage a technologytard like me to wade further into the world of source code and build a website from scratch. As they say, if you build it they will come.