Trends in HTML Coding

Since its creation in the earliest days of the Internet Era, the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) has struggled to find a place as anything more than a tool for the presentation or formatting of text and images. HTML 5 has provided both the base functionality and ease of extensibility that promises to elevate the once-lowly markup language to a useful application development tool.

HTML 5 is best thought of as a web standard which combines the simplicity of HTML, the presentation flexibility of the Cascading Style Sheet 3 specification, and JavaScript’s ability to access and manipulate real-time data on both the server and application levels. Although each of these has its own relative strengths and weaknesses, they are at their most synergistic when used concurrently within the HTML 5 framework.

A complete study of HTML 5 is far beyond the scope of this short article. For a more thorough review of the topic, the interested reader is encouraged to visit the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML 5 Specification site. Instead, we will turn our attention to three areas where HTML 5 is already proving its utility.

HTML 5 for Web Site Development

Thanks to the inherent versatility of HTML 5, the need for extensive skills in Cascading Style Sheets for content presentation or in JavaScript, or some other CGI language, for form processing or database design and access is quickly slipping into the past. HTML 5 provides new, more versatile support for traditional form controls such as buttons, boxes, and text areas, as well as the ability to automatically update web content when newer content becomes available. This is, of course, in addition to the already-existing ability to “customize” content presentation to the individual’s preferences.

HTML 5 and Web Applications

The ability of HTML 5 to precisely define content, layout, and server/client data exchanges makes this technology ideal for the development of “cloud” applications or applications that require local data sharing and collaboration. Although many such applications will demand more than JavaScript and style sheets are currently capable of delivering, HTML 5 will be useful in both prototyping and deployment of web-based software applications.

Yet another exciting feature of HTML 5, which is discussed in the following section, is that it allows both web site content and web applications to be quickly “repackaged” for use on mobile devices.

HTML 5 and Mobile Devices

With HTML 5, it is now possible that web content presentation can be optimized for the user’s mobile device. Using a combination of simple JavaScript routines and style sheets that are device-specific, existing web content can be tailored to the capabilities of devices such as smart phones, tablets, and even e-book readers. In fact, the anticipated future importance of HTML 5 is evidenced by the fact that companies such as AT&T and Nokia now include support for HTML 5 as either a basic component in their software development kits or as optional “add-ons” to older packages.

The rapid acceptance of HTML 5 by the Web and application development communities is a testament to this technology’s power and ease of use, even by those who are relatively unfamiliar with its capabilities. Given its modular design philosophy, it is likely that even more proprietary and open source libraries, and other extensions, will become available in the years ahead. These factors alone are reason enough that web and application developers should strongly consider adding this technology to their core programming skills.


About the author - This article was written by Jonathan Martin for coolblueweb.