HTML5 – The Torch Bearer for Future Web Applications

HTML5 is the latest version of the common markup language HTML and is a coming together of HTML, JavaScript and CSS3. The foundation for this new web standard was laid in 2004 and launched after 4 years, in 2008. Initially, it was supported by Firefox web browser, but today, almost all the popular web and mobile browsers support HTML5.

Major benefits of HTML5

HTML5 has changed the way the world of web functions. It brings forth some new features, which enhance web development. For instance, HTML5 consists of new elements, attributes, full support for CSS3, audio/video support, 2D/3D support, web storage facilities, local SQL databases and web applications.

If we talk about the benefits associated with HTML5, it makes third-party plugins and media players redundant, offers better storage options, performs better error handling, replaces scripting with more markup, has more semantic tags,  and provides cross platform compatibility. These benefits in turn, offer a better user experience and interaction and allow developers to write easy-to-understand codes for even the most complex web apps. This makes HTML5 a technology, which is popular with both users and the developers.

Such benefits make HTML5 popular with developers and users alike.

All these features and benefits point out to just one thing and that is – how HTML5 is giving web apps a new direction. Let us go through two highlighted features of HTML5 and understand why HTML 5 is hailed as “web technology of the future”.

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Storage capabilities:

HTML5 uses JavaScript to store and access data. It has storage capabilities, which are way more advanced than regular cookies. Let us look at two main storage objects in HTML5:

  1. Local Storage Object – It stores data infinitely. You can access this data after weeks, months or even after an entire year, which means there is no expiry data for the data.
  2. Session Storage Object – It stores data for one particular session. The data automatically gets deleted when the user closes the browser window.

HTML5 storage options are more secure and faster than cookies, store more data and do much more. For instance, they allow storage of 5-10 MB of data, while cookies can store only up to 4KB of data. And although they can store a large amount of data, there is no effect on the websites’ performance/speed. Another case in point is that a web page in HTML5 can access data stored by itself. The data is stored in key/value pairs and web server can’t access data directly. This factor makes HTML5 web pages more secure.

Support for multimedia and graphic:

HTML5 makes the web even more dynamic with its multimedia and graphic support across various platforms. For instance, it has various media elements like <audio>, <video>, <canvas>, <track>, <embed> etc. which helps make a web app come alive. Out of these, the Audio/Video and Canvas tags are of utmost importance.

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Audio/Video- HTML5 has a number of tags and attributes for supporting multimedia. For instance, the audio/video tags allow you to embed audio and video in your webpage directly, without the help of a third-party media plug-in or Flash.

Canvas – Canvas is a rectangular area and each and every pixel of this canvas can be controlled. In HTML5, there is a special <canvas> tag which allows developers to develop numerous graphic web apps. They can use it to represent simple diagrams, attractive user interfaces, charts and graphs, embedded drawing applications, display animated graphics and even develop web based game apps!

Personally, I think that it is the most exciting part of HTML5.

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So what does it hold for the future?

HTML5 is capable of bringing the following changes to the table in the near future.

  1. It will be used as an alternative to Flash even on websites
  2. Web content will become more interactive and feature-rich
  3. Be ready to welcome better online games
  4. Online apps may take the place of native apps
  5. There will be stores for web apps (just like the Google Chrome Store)
  6. There will be more device and platform agnostic apps

To conclude

HTML5 is still a work in progress. We can’t say for sure, where it will be 10 years from now. However, from the points mentioned above, I definitely think that it will change the face of web development in a huge way.

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