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I want to start out by giving you a brief overview of HTML5 and discussing why it's so important to the future of web development. HTML5 is the latest revision of HTML and it's designed to allow the creation of richer, more semantic code, as well to address how modern web applications are created. Now, the scope and evolution of this specification are little easier to understand if you know a little bit about its history and the motivation behind its development. Around 2004, the W3C was pursuing the development of XHTML2, which was to replace XHTML1 and HTML 4 as the primary markup language for the web.
Not everybody was happy with the direction that XHTML2 was taking, and a group of web professionals, corporations, and browser developers decided to begin evolving HTML outside of the W3C. They formed the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, or WHATWG for short, and started work on their own specification, which they named Web Applications 1.0. The group's primary argument was that XHTML2 did little to address the current direction of web development, and that it's lack of backwards compatibility with older versions of HTML would slow adoption.
To consider their arguments, think about how you use the web today. You might visit a restaurant using directions from Google maps, check in to let your friends know where you are, tweet about your meal, upload pictures for your friends, and then review and rank the restaurant at the end of the evening. All these activities are made possible by the development of powerful web applications. To the WHATWG, it was clear that any evolution of HTML that didn't also properly address of web applications was fundamentally flawed.
Eventually, the W3C agreed with them, and they adopted the specification in 2007, renaming it HTML5. Since then, the charter for XHTML2 had been revoked, leaving HTML5 as the sole focus for replacing HTML 4. The actual specification and what's in it continues to be one of more confusing aspects of HTML5, so much so in fact that I'll address that in a separate movie in just a moment. So, what's so special about HTML5? Well, first off, it's important to note that it retains the backwards compatibility of previous versions of HTML.
That means that implementing it won't add policies that would cause older pages to fail. It also adds new structural and semantic tags and attributes, allowing designers to make their content more meaningful. As I mentioned earlier, HTML5 focuses heavily on application development. It includes form controls, application-specific attributes, and adds support for multiple APIs. These capabilities will make it easier for designers and developers to build web and mobile applications, serve video and audio, and create interactive content.
Also, unlike previous versions of HTML, in HTML5, the specification contains explicit rules on how content should be parsed and how errors should be handled. This degree of detail is designed to enhance interoperability across systems. Although no one can predict exactly how implementations will adopt the specification, this should make the elusive goal of ensuring consistent user experiences across platforms and devices easier to achieve. Clearly, HTML5 marks a significant step in the evolution of HTML.
Even now, with adoption still in the early stages, we have seen dramatic changes in web and mobile content offering. As with any new technology, keeping pace with changes and implementations can take a lot of effort. For the short term, we're also going to be faced with the very real challenge of taking advantage of HTML5's new features while also providing backwards- compatible alternatives. However, it's certainly an exciting time to be creating web content. As an early adopter, you have an opportunity to be a part of the community that is not only using HTML5, but shaping how future web designers will use it as well.
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