This is something you may not already know: the internet currently runs on HTML 4. Four – one more than the Playstation 3, but three less than Windows 7. Four. However, you can now disregard that information, because HTML 5 is coming and it is here to vastly improve your web experience.
HTML 5 is designed to takeover the functionality of web plugins, such as Flash and Silverlight, and natively offer their best bits from pure HTML coding. For the common user, this means that they will experience a more instant and compatible internet experience, not broken up by the need to download or update new plugins, or limited by awkward coding (like Flash support for Macs).
It also means that there will no longer be any waiting around for a compatible plugin for your specific set-up, so you’ll no longer need to wait around for third-party developers to roll-out support for your Linux-based internet over-gloves.
Examples of the power of HTML 5 are already up all over the web, despite still being in “draft” status (and some pessimistic reports suggest that the HTML 5 standard won’t be out of it until 2020 – 23 years after HTML 4 was ratified). The New York Times has created a beautiful way of reading its newspaper online, in a style that just wasn’t possible before, while Youtube has created a HTML 5 webpage that does not use Flash at all – that’s right, streaming video (and audio) is no longer dependent on plugins either.
Other, smaller programmers have also created an array of nifty sites that exploit the power of HTML 5 – this one, for instance, pulls in twitter feeds, moves circles around that react to the the mouse cursor’s location, and plays music – all through pure HTML 5.
HTML 5 has already gained support from most of the big name browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera. While each browser’s support varies, they are all rushing out to be as compatible as possible. Even Google has canned its pet-project Gears, stating that most of its functionality will be superseded by the new HTML standard.
If you have the latest versions of any these browsers (if not, why not upgrade now?) then go out a give it a spin here.
(Image courtesy of Marjan Krebelj)