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What's available in HTML5


From:

Working with Data on the Web

with Joseph Lowery

Video: What's available in HTML5

While HTML5 is not a technology dedicated purely to managing data on the web, the advances in that regard and the latest version of our most basic web language are substantial. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the key enhancements that make it far easier to work with data on the web. The primary data-oriented features in HTML5 are a slew of new input types. The ability to store and retrieve data on the client side, the multipurpose data attribute, and the new data list tag.
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Watch the Online Video Course Working with Data on the Web
2h 21m Intermediate Aug 21, 2013

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Often, designers need to convey simple data without the overhead of a relational database such as MySQL. This course introduces web technologies that make it easy for a designer or developer to store, retrieve, and display data online.

First, discover how data is collected via standard and advanced HTML5 forms. Then look at a client-friendly approach to storing that data using simple CSV files. Next, Joseph shows how to store, manage, and style data with the three big players: the granddaddy of static data, XML; the popular JavaScript-based JSON; and the recursively named YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language), frequently used in Ruby-based projects. Plus, take a close look at basic HTML5 data options, including local storage and the flexible data attribute.

Topics include:
  • Interacting with data through HTML forms
  • Storing data as comma-separated values
  • Saving, retrieving, and displaying data as XML
  • Setting up and updating JSON data
  • Creating a YAML data file
  • Using HTML5 data storage solutions
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
HTML XML CSS JSON YAML
Author:
Joseph Lowery

What's available in HTML5

While HTML5 is not a technology dedicated purely to managing data on the web, the advances in that regard and the latest version of our most basic web language are substantial. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the key enhancements that make it far easier to work with data on the web. The primary data-oriented features in HTML5 are a slew of new input types. The ability to store and retrieve data on the client side, the multipurpose data attribute, and the new data list tag.

Let's break those down starting with the input types. There are in all 13 new input types including URL, date, tel for telephone and e-mail. Most are partially supported in modern browsers with the primary changes coming in mobile browsers. Input types are covered in depth in Chapter 1. Local storage is a particularly useful HTML5 data-related feature, largely because it adds the ability to maintain state without resorting to server side technology.

That means if some data has been saved using local storage and its displayed on the webpage, if you close your browser and then reopen it, the data can be retrieved and displayed again. Unlike cookies, local storage is handled on a per browser basis. And the capacity is much larger, 5 MB versus 4 kb for cookies. Local storage uses a basic name value pair structure and is limited to strings. The two most common commands for local storage are very straightforward.

setItem takes two arguments, the ItemName and its value. While getItem only needs the name of the item to retrieve it. We'll continue to explore local storage later in this chapter. One of the more annoying problems with earlier versions of HTML, was that there was no way to add custom attributes to an element without invalidating the code. That problem is gone with the introduction of the data attribute. You can create any custom attribute you need, just add the data- prefix.

This gives developers the ability to create application data hidden from the user. The data can be read and defined using standard JavaScript functions, getAttribute and setAttribute. There's also a dedicated new JavaScript API property called dataset, which is gaining popularity and support in the current crop of browsers. Let's take a look at a couple of examples of the data attribute. In the first line of code, we set the initial opacity for an image using our custom data-opacity attribute.

Now this opens the door for further JavaScript manipulation. The next two lines of code illustrate how divs could be set up for dynamic charting by SVG or Canvas through the application of the data-country and data-size attributes. Best of all, everything is perfectly valid HTML. I'll show you how to use it later in this chapter. Another data-related element you should be aware of is datalist. datalist defines the autocomplete options for a certain targeted select list, as you can see from the code depicted here.

To apply a datalist to a select list, you use the new list attribute with the ID of the datalist as its value. Unfortunately, datalist has, for whatever reason, not garnered support in the current iOS browser set. So in my view, its use is still pretty restricted and we're not going to dive into it any more in this chapter. Now that you're armed with an overview of what's hot data-wise in HTML5, you're ready to put some of that knowledge to work in the next lesson.

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