As you probably know the W3C has more or less finalized the HTML5 specifications draft as the world is looking forward to embrace the 5th major revision of the Worldwide Web language. There will be definite changes in web browser technologies, rendering methodologies, media streaming, mobile applications etc.
The HTML5 revolution will also change the way your blog platform works and probably the way you blog as well. Definitely, there will be changes for related online businesses around the blogosphere. In this post, let’s try to understand HTML5 in brief.
I am not going to do a HTML4 vs HTML5 comparison study here but would like to emphasize on the major changes that HTML5 is bringing in. In short, the following is the summary of features that HTML5 boasts (of course, I am yet to really experiment with coding part of it):
- HTML5 will be a self sufficient language that avoid the need to have browser plugin based rendering technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight etc
- The HTML5 code would actually reflect the structure (XML) of the page and hence there will be minimal inline styling and tags such as div will be used for demarcating clear logical sections. Moreover, there will be more realistic elements such as section, article, header, footer than finer granular elements
- Powerful vector graphics support via HTML tags and this is part of the DOM (Document Object Model). No more Flash like technologies required for graphics
- HTML5 inherently will support audio, video element types and hence there is no need of an embedded media player object and umpteen number of file types
- Powerful GeoLocation APIs to exactly pinpoint the location from where the user is browsing – even when browsing from a mobile phone
- No applets and ActiveX objects required in your browser and hence lesser security threats
- Offline caching features to support offline browsing (mainly meant for enterprise mobile applications)
- HTML5 offers backward compatibility HTML4
In short, a more powerful Web language is in the offing that can really wipe out Adobe Flash. As you probably read recently, Apple has already said that they will NOT support Flash in their mobile platforms.
How can HTML 5 change blogging?
First of all, there will be major changes to your WordPress (or Blogger) platform itself to support the HTML5 rendering. I am not sure when these platforms will start changing, but I expect it to happen within an year from now as browsers start supporting HTML 5.
Theme developers will find it exciting to develop their more structured themes in order to help integrate content seamlessly into styles. The amount of code to be written will surely reduce and debugging time will be lesser as well due to highly structured blog content as rendered via HTML5. There are already some themes available with HTML5 support but I personally believe that having blog templates alone in HTML5 may not be sufficient unless WordPress reorganizes the content editing features better.
Bloggers will find it easier to integrate content such as Video, Audio into their blogs. Moreover, providing powerful blog post support content such as graphics, diagrams, charts etc will become very easy with HTML5 support that’s provided by blogging platform. This should make bloggers’ life easy. And providing unique and customized content for readers based on their location will be another easy possibility via geo location identification (well, that’s too much to ask from WordPress though)
And hopefully, the bloggers will be provided with a much more simplified blogging platform interface so that they can really focus on what they are good at i.e. blogging.
I also have some concerns. I am not really sure (or understood) what will happen to the HTML 4 tags that you have written into your blog posts. Due to backward compatibility most of it should get rendered properly however, it depends on the WordPress team as to how proper migration can be guaranteed. The last thing bloggers want is re-editing all their posts.
HTML5 Browser Support
At the moment, Microsoft seems to be leading the pack in terms of HTML 5 browser support with the Internet Explorer 9.0 pre-releases already showcasing HTML5 support. Safari 4.0, Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome already have the HTML 5 Audio and Video support. Geo-location APIs are already supported by Firefox (and not other browsers as I understand).
Looking at the way things progress, we should see almost all leading browser applications having 100% HTML5 compliance a few months from now.
As a programmer (and blogger), I am truly excited about the changes that HTML5 is bringing in. I am hopeful that, soon I will be able to write some HTML5 code around themes or plugins in order to experiment with the same. The HTML 5 draft specifications will be soon becoming the recommendation from W3C and that will form a major landmark for the web for years to come.