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In HTML5 First Look, author James Williamson introduces the newest HTML specification, providing a high-level overview of HTML5 in its current state, how it differs from HTML 4, the current level of support in various browsers and mobile devices, and how the specification might evolve in the future. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the best ways to approach HTML5 is by first comparing it to HTML 4 and then learning the differences. Although HTML5 does represent an ambitious step forward in the evolution of HTML, it's largely a revised version of HTML 4. Meaning that, if you are comfortable writing HTML 4, you should find yourself quite comfortable with the majority of the HTML5 specification. In this movie, I want to point out some of the major differences from HTML 4 to HTML5. Now first, it's important to note that the HTML5 specification is designed not just to replace HTML 4, but also the XHTML 1.0 and DOM Level 2 specification.
It also contains detailed parsing rules that are designed to improve the interoperability of systems that use HTML documents. As such, the HTML5 Specification is much larger than HTML 4 and covers a lot more ground. Now one of the first places you'll notice the difference in writing HTML5 documents is the doctype and character encoding. Here we have some HTML 4 doctypes. You can see how many of them they are and how long and complicated they are. Well, rather than having to deal with multiple doctypes, you just use a single simple doctype that declares a document as an HTML file.
Look at how simple that is! Now since HTML is no longer HTML based, no document type definition is actually required at all. Now character encoding is likewise simplified. All that's required now is a meta tag with a charset attribute. HTML5 also introduces some new elements that assist with page structure, embedded content, and new phrasing tags that help add additional meaning to content within the page. Several new attributes have been added to existing elements as well to extend their power and functionality.
Forms undergo a dramatic update in HTML5. Much of the work done on the Web Forms 2.0 specification has been added to the HTML5 spec and the result is new form controls and input types that allow you to create more powerful forms and more compelling user experiences. New form elements include date pickers, color pickers, and numeric steppers. The input element has been considerably beefed up with new input types such as url, email, and search that will make it easier to control the presentation and the behavior of form content.
Now it's worth noting that HTML5 also add support for the PUT and DELETE form methods, making it easier to submit data to a wider array of applications. Now by far, the addition to HTML5 that's getting the most attention is the introduction of several new integrated APIs or Application Programming Interfaces that are designed to make developing web applications easier across multiple devices and user agents. These APIs include the much talked about video and audio API. An API for building offline applications, one for editing page content, and one that controls drag-and-drop functionality, another that focuses on history, and finally one that controls application protocols and media types.
Now, other APIs like Geolocation and web messaging are associated with HTML5 but are actually defined in their own specifications. So those are a few of the highlights of the differences between HTML5 and HTML 4. In our next series of movies, we'll focus on some of those differences in greater detail starting with the new structural tags in our next movie.
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