HTML 5 Markup Language

There are two major specifications competing to replace HTML 4 and XHTML 1. They are XHTML 2.0 and Web Applications 1.0, also known as HTML5. These coding languages take different approaches and will no doubt have different outcomes in terms of the future development and design.


XHTML 2 is a bold step forward intended to create an architecture that will become the host language to many other W3C technologies already in use. XHTML 2 is based solely on XML, a technology that most believe will enable the Web to reach its full potential. XHTML 2 is driven by how markup should be used, rather than by how markup is currently used.

HTML 5 is an extension of HTML4 and XHTML 1. Working within the confines of HTML 4 and XHTML 1, HTML 5 has devised new solutions to address some of the faults found in HTML 4 and XHTML 1. HTML5 can be also be served as HTML or XML. Unlike XHTML 2, HTML 5 is influenced by how markup is currently used throughout the web. Both HTML 5 and XHTML 2 are at the stage of working drafts. Both specifications are expected to change, and several years will most likely pass before they become standards.

What’s New in HTML 5

html 5 HTML 5 introduces new elements that will partition a Web pages content into sections (represented in the above picture). These section elements will help search engines and other web technologies to better process a sites content. For example the new HTML5 dialog element represents a conversation containing dt elements which identify the speaker, and dd elements which represent the speakers’ quotes. Other enhancements include Improved web forms handling, for example the input element which is being enhanced to support email, url, date-related, time-related, and numeric data types. This means more validation can occur on the client side instead of on the server. The <canvas> element allows image scripting on the fly and users will also be able to edit and interact with sections of a web page directly. HTML 5 also supports a new “data” attribute which you can add inside elements to store arbitrary bits of information, to be later parsed. HTML 5 will redefine how web developers mark up content. It will provide a better way to describe the content displayed on a web page, enable more complex content types, improve media and web application support, and increase the interoperability of HTML documents. View a showcase of websites using HTML5.

HTML 5 Shortcomings

HTML 5 is a reaction to the slow progress made by the W3C in delivering a replacement for HTML 4 and XHTML 1. As a result, the process of developing HTML 5 can seem a-bit rushed, and many feel that the spec came out of nowhere and is being fast tracked. Even some of the main stakeholders directly involved feel the time lines and milestones for developing the spec are completely unrealistic. Since every one of us is a stakeholder in this process because the Web belongs to everyone, only an honest and open debate can ensure that the best spec emerges. The development process for HTML 5 is more open than XHTML 2. Everyone is welcome to participate in its development at the HTML 5 mailing list.

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  2 comments for “HTML 5

  1. Avatar
    June 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I’m voting for xhtml 2 (strict).
    XML is the way to go… content, behavior and style all separated. Ya gotta keep em seprated…

  2. Dylan Wagstaff
    June 14, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I agree style seems to convey a sense of emotion and although behavior is far more closely related to style than content is, I believe it is far to complex to be combined with style.
    A Hypertext Markup Language should be Extensible and although HTML5 offers XML, a pure XML language via XHTML 2.0 just makes me wonder about the possibilities.

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