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New application-focused tags

From: HTML5 First Look

Video: New application-focused tags

As soon as the HTML 4 specification was released in 1999, the W3C focused on the goal of changing the syntax of HTML from SGML to XML. It was during that period that XHTML 1.0 was released and work on XHTML 2.0 started. In contrast, web designers and developers during the same period focused on how CSS and JavaScript could help them build more interactive interfaces for their increasingly more complex web applications.

New application-focused tags

As soon as the HTML 4 specification was released in 1999, the W3C focused on the goal of changing the syntax of HTML from SGML to XML. It was during that period that XHTML 1.0 was released and work on XHTML 2.0 started. In contrast, web designers and developers during the same period focused on how CSS and JavaScript could help them build more interactive interfaces for their increasingly more complex web applications.

In many instances, developers turned to authoring environments such as Flash, Flex, and Silverlight, to compensate for HTML's shortcomings. The HTML5 specification attempts to address those shortcomings by introducing several tags that will assist developers in building applications natively in HTML. Some of these tags are focused on interactivity, others give new form controls, and still others allow the formatting and markup of data types necessary for modern web applications. First, I want to talk about the meter and progress tags.

There has been some confusion about the two and even some discussions about only having one of them in the finished specification. They are, however, quite different. Here's what the specification has to say about the meter element. The meter element represents a scalar measurement within a known range or fractional value. For example, disk usage, the relevance of a query result, or the fraction of the voting population to have selected a particular candidate. This is also known as a gauge. Now here's what it has to say about the progress element.

The progress element represents the completion progress of a task. The progress is either indeterminate, indicating that progress is being made but that it is not clear how much more work remains to be done before the task is complete, or the progress is a number in the range zero to a maximum, given the fraction of work that has so far been completed. Now, as you can see, both elements are going to allow you to represent data visually, but with a few differences. The meter element is designed to display results within a determined range. It shouldn't be used unless both the minimum and maximum values are known.

The progress element on the other hand will be used when you need to display the current progress or completion of a task. So while the two elements are similar, they're clearly designed for very different purposes. Next up is the time element. The time element allows you to markup time and date information in a machine-readable way that will make it easy for pages to share information with items such as calendars, social applications, and data feeds. The HTML5 specification states the time element represents either a time on the 24-hour clock, or a precise day in the proleptic Gregorian calendar, optionally with a time and a time zone offset.

The element is intended as a way to encode modern dates and times in machine-readable way so that, for example, user agents can offer to add birthday reminders or scheduled events to the user's calendar. The time element also contains attributes such as pub date that help give further definition to the date and time. There's ongoing debate about the time element that may result in a change in the final specification. Currently, the time element can only markup time in the Gregorian calendar format, which will limit any dates before the calendar.

The time and date information is also restricted to very specific formatting requirements. Referring to April of 2001, for example, is not allowed. The details element is one of my favorite new elements, even though no browser has offered support for it as of yet. As the specification states, the details element represents a disclosure widget from which the user can obtain additional information or controls. Simply put, creating an accordion or a tabbed widget structure could be as simple as enclosing the content in a details tag.

A new summary element allows you to provide a caption or summary for the detailed content as well. Obviously, there will be a lot of discussion regarding how the information should be hidden or shown, but I am really looking forward to seeing how this element matures. While not mentioned as much as some of the other elements, the command element will be a huge addition to any application developed with HTML5. The definition for it is short and sweet. The command element represents a command that the user can invoke. Attributes allow you to customize the look of the command through the use of icons.

They allow you to change whether the command is a toggle or if it's one of a grouping of commands and whether the command should be disabled or hidden. Commands could be used to build toolbars, panel commands, or icons within an application. Now, it's not technically new, but the menu element has been brought back from the dead, so to speak. It was deprecated in HTML 4 but has found new life in defining menu structures within applications. As per the specification, the menu element represents a list of commands. Its attributes lets you specify a context menu, a toolbar, or a list of items that represent various commands.

There are of course many other mechanisms within the HTML5 specification that assist in building applications. Later on we'll examine how forms have been improved in HTML5 as well and how they can assist when developing interfaces with HTML5. By giving authors the interactive elements and controls most commonly used in building applications, HTML5 takes the radical approach of building the browser itself into an application platform. It should be quite interesting to see how this evolves over the course of the adoption of HTML5.

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This video is part of

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HTML5 First Look

50 video lessons · 73663 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 50s
    3. Who is this course for?
      1m 5s
  2. 21m 12s
    1. Exploring prior standards
      4m 26s
    2. Why do we need HTML5?
      3m 32s
    3. HTML5 timeline
      4m 24s
    4. Current HTML5 support
      4m 25s
    5. What HTML5 is (and what it isn't)
      4m 25s
  3. 27m 49s
    1. HTML5 vs. HTML4
      3m 25s
    2. New structural tags
      6m 1s
    3. New content tags
      4m 7s
    4. New application-focused tags
      5m 32s
    5. Deprecated elements
      4m 28s
    6. API overview
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 29s
    1. Content models
      5m 33s
    2. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 21s
    3. The role of ‹div› tags
      4m 20s
    4. Using ID and class attributes
      2m 6s
    5. DOCTYPE declarations
      4m 16s
    6. Character encoding
      2m 53s
  5. 41m 27s
    1. Basic page structure
      3m 40s
    2. Structuring top-level elements
      7m 30s
    3. Structuring interior content
      8m 42s
    4. Building headers
      9m 11s
    5. Checking document outlines
      5m 46s
    6. Ensuring cross-browser structure
      6m 38s
  6. 27m 53s
    1. New input types
      5m 57s
    2. Setting form autofocus
      2m 53s
    3. Using placeholder data
      4m 4s
    4. Marking required fields
      3m 24s
    5. Working with number inputs
      5m 49s
    6. Using date pickers
      5m 46s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Canvas overview
      6m 21s
    2. Adding canvas content
      8m 58s
    3. Drawing in the canvas environment
      12m 9s
    4. Drag-and-drop API overview
      6m 18s
    5. Offline applications overview
      7m 11s
    6. Video overview
      5m 45s
    7. Encoding video
      8m 23s
    8. Adding video
      5m 58s
  8. 57m 33s
    1. Geolocation API overview
      5m 50s
    2. Web storage API overview
      5m 40s
    3. WebSockets overview
      4m 16s
    4. CSS3 overview
      6m 38s
    5. Enhancing typography with CSS3
      7m 42s
    6. Using @font-face
      7m 11s
    7. Styling HTML5 with CSS3
      10m 23s
    8. Using CSS3 transitions
      9m 53s
  9. 5m 6s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 49s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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