As of 2016 HTML 5 is what you should be using along with other technologies for web development. A Web site is one of the most important components of the World Wide Web that make the Internet a significant and reliable system of information for just about any computer user. It displays information on an electronic computer screen and it gives the computer user the ability to interact with the site. A Web site page displayed on just about any type of computer browser is actually built from hidden text of specialized computer languages that give it structure and conceptualization, and one of those widely used languages is called HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). HTML is an established computer language that has the ability to code the blueprint of a Web page and render it on-screen. With this unique coding language, every aspect of a Web page, ranging from visual representation to clickable spots, is definable. The latest version of the HTML brand that is the most efficient and accessible program to date is known as HTML5. What makes HTML5 a highly accessible and recommendable programming tool is its fluent ability to program Web sites and its high popularity among the computer industry.
Programming a Web site can be easy to pick up on with the usage and knowledge of HTML5. In order to get started with HTML5, it requires a text editor program to do so. There are a number of programs that are made to code HTML5, including Notepad, Adobe Dreamweaver, and TextPad. A Web developer uses a text editor to type code elements onto a text sheet, saves that sheet as an HTML document file, and publishes that file to a Web server where it is searchable from a public computer. When a computer successfully links to the HTML file via URL (Uniform Resource Locator), it renders the file’s code and launches it as a Web page in an HTML- compatible browser. The way Web page content is displayed on a browser all depends on the format and structure of the HTML file it is based on.
HTML5 consists of a series of keywords that are encased between angle (“< >”) brackets called “tags.” These tags in HTML5 provide different sorts of elements necessary for displayable Web pages. Examples of HTML5 tags are paragraphs (<p>, </p>), images (<img>, </img>), spreadsheet tables (<table>, </table>), and links to other Web sites (<a>, </a>) on a page. Basically, the way to create a Web page element is to type in a start tag (a keyword within the angle brackets) and an end tag (same tag but with a / symbol preceding the keyword) to establish the element. It is possible to insert a string of text or another tag in between the start and end tags, depending on the type of element, to add more to or improve the functionality of the element. When creating an HTML5 Web page, it is important to memorize important tags that are generally required to make any sort of page. Robert Mening from Website Setup says every element being added to the HTML text sheet needs to be within the HTML (<html>, </html>) tag. He also says that two other important tags needed for Web page structure are the head tag (<head>, </head>), the element that holds the Web page title and CSS tags, and the body tag (<body>, </body>), where every visual Web page element relating to text, images, and links is coded within this container (2014).
It is possible to modify the style of elements by using tag “attributes.” To modify a tag’s style, a front end developer or full-stack developer (back end developer specializes in server side scripting)types in an attribute keyword after the element name within the start tag’s brackets to specify that element’s style. Elements have a vast scope of changeable styles, including the ability to change the text’s color, font, and size or adjusting an image’s position, size dimensions, and border appearance. It is even possible to apply more than one style to an element by typing in multiple attributes in a tag. These attributes are optional and their compatibility differentiates from element to element. Attributes are not actually part of HTML, but they are rather their own language known as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). There are three different types of CSS that define the appearance of tag elements, and they are inline styles, embedded style sheets, and external style sheets. Inline styles are attributes coded directly in the tag of an element, which can even override any style defined in the other two style sheets. Embedded style sheets are a series of styles that provide a consistent appearance of an entire Web page. External style sheets are a list of tag attributes coded onto a separate text file that stylize the appearance of multiple Web pages that are linked to it. Choosing the most appropriate attributes and style sheets is usually up to the Web developer’s preferences or based on the design of the Web page.
HTML has a reputation of being one of the most dependable Web site construction programs and recognizable standards in the computer industry. HTML5 is a very reliable coding language that many web developers endorse and its popularity will not wind down any time soon. In fact, it is expected that HTML5 will expand its functionality to many other technological software as the computer industry changes. According to Clayton Hamshar of the HTML5 Report, the usage of HTML5 among developers of Web applications increased from 33 to 39 percent from 2013 to 2015, with 14 percent of developers adopting HTML5 as their main coding technology (2015). HTML5 has also grown to become a language that is compatible with a wide variety of Internet browsers and devices. The innovation-lab of the SPi Global reports that HTML5 is made to be compatible with multiple Web browsers and devices that have Web functionalities, making browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox, along with devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and the Galaxy Tab usable with HTML5. They also acknowledge that since HTML5 is not under the control of any one company, it is considered an open standard, allowing Web developers to use freedom of creativity to implement as many functions to an HTML5 page as they see fit (2013).
In order to adequately explain the history of HTML 5, an analysis of HTML language was must be given. The very first version of HTML, or HTML 1, was a very simple editing language that did not include some of the features website developers enjoy today, such as the img or table tags that are used to develop modern websites. HTML would be updated gradually throughout HTML 2, as developers begun adding in different features such as the p or paragraph tag as well as the li or list tag. Following HTML 2, the next version of HTML development came in HTML 3.2, which marked a massive upgrade, or the implementation of style sheets. Additional features included the font element, applets and tabular data now in use with the table, tr and td tags.
Soon after HTML 3.2, work on HTML 4 begun, but W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) would stop work on the project in 1998. This would open the door for XHTML, which was the supposed replacement for HTML which developers thought would be cleaner. However, XHTML had many flaws in its early versions that frustrated developers. Most of the issues came with its strict guidelines when typing up its code. In normal markup, if you forget to close tags, your website would not become a full on error, but this was not the case with XHTML. In XHTML 1, if you forgot to close one tag, the system did not cover the missing information for you. Rather, it made the entire website display a giant error message. Following its first version, XHTML 2 was supposed to be a follow up that would set the bar for web standards. However, this was never the case, and the system made a huge mistake of not being developed to be backwards compatible. This was a huge problem, since many people were still using earlier versions of HTML.
So, following the XHTML debacle, a group called The Web Hypertext Application Techonology Working Group or WHAT WG for short decided to group together and begin work on the future of HTML. Simply, they were fed up with XHTML like many other developers were at the time. The group began development with a few guidelines in mind: backwards compatibility, and the matching of specifications and implementations. To begin their work, WHAT WG began to write a document detailing how HTML should be written, and importantly, parsed. This was not just a small achievement. In fact, it was critical to the development of HTML 5. Before this document was developed, many web browsers simply did not have the groundwork to deal with errors in code. In order to change this, a long process of reverse engineering had to be completed across different browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer, each incorporating the others implementation. This would eventually give way to the HTML5 Parser, its guidelines are now followed by all modern browsers.
Following a brief period where W3C and WHAT WG were in a period of ignoring each other. The two groups were working on separate projects at the time, and apparently W3C still had not lost interest in XHTML. The WHAT WG began work on HTML 5 beginning in 2004, along with developers from companies such as Apple, the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software. In 2006, W3C would announce that it had begun to work with the WHAT WG on developing HTML 5. In 2008, the very first version of HTML 5 becomes published, the software is written by Ian Hickson. Some of the goals of the HTML 5 software included on creating easy to read code, and making sure the software was up to par with current multimedia formats. Additionally, new tags were implemented into the software, which include the <video>, <audio>, <canvas>, <section> and <article> tags. Descriptive tags such as <nav> and <footer> were also added, while the <font> and <center> tags were dropped. HTML 5 incorporates some scripting (not server-side scripting)APIs, including drag and drop, cross document messaging, web storage, and geolocation.
In the timeline of HTML 5, there are certain key developments during its creation that led to the language being at the state it is in today. For example, certain applications becoming HTML 5 compatible, beginning with Firefox 3 in 2008, and YouTube offering an HTML 5 video player. One of the most important events in HTML 5’s development came when Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, announced Flash was no longer needed to play media on Apple devices in April of 2010. However, other applications such as the Chrome Web Store buy into HTML 5, which improves the flexibility of app sales on non-Apple devices, such as tablets. Adobe would cut flash completely from mobile devices in November of 2011. In a nutshell, HTML 5 becomes more widely used throughout different applications and companies, making the language key to today’s web. HTML 5 is continuing to grow and develop as it is a product, as Ian Hickson says, that will never truly be finished. It’s an ever-growing language that will continue to have development in the future. However, HTML 5 adoption across different platforms has reached over one billion since January of 2013, as smartphones began to adopt the language. Many more products have likely shifted to HTML 5 today.
In conclusion, HTML 5 had a very long development process that took a turn into XHTML, with strict coding, and then back into a long development cycle that included multiple features being added and dropped. The internet is a changing landscape, and HTML 5 will likely continue to be adjusted and maintained to fit today’s standards until a new HTML 6 language is worked on. However, until then, we can only predict if the continued development of the HTML 5 language is as long and strenuous in the later years as it was at the start.
> Reading more about The future of HTML5 and CSS3
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Hamshar, C. (2015, October 28). HTML5 Rising in Popularity as App Development Platform. Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://www.html5report.com/topics/html5/articles/412107-html5-rising-popularity-as-app-development-platform.htm
Innovation-lab. (2013, December 20). 5 Facts About HTML5 That Will Impress Web Developers. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/innovation-lab/5-facts-html5-impress-web-developers/
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Mening, R. (2014, February 10). HTML5 Beginner’s Guide. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://websitesetup.org/html5-beginners-guide/
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