World Wide Web Consortium released the first working draft for HTML 5 this year in January. It is a fifth major revision of the HTML we all use every day. When HTML 5 is expressed in XML, it is called XHTML 5. The current version of HTML is 4 which developed in 1999.
Apple, Opera, and the Mozilla Foundation – major browser vendors – came together as a group called Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WhatWG) to build up an updated and upgraded version of HTML. W3C took note of these developments and started its own next-generation HTML effort with many of the same members.
This new version HTML 5 also goes under the name Web Applications 1.0 and it would be immediately familiar to existing HTML programmers. There are no namespaces or schemas. Elements don’t have to be closed. Browsers are forgiving of errors. A p is still a p, and a table is still a table. At the same time, we would come across some new and confusing elements. Our div remain, but now HTML includes section, header, footer, and nav as well. em, code, and strong are still present, but so are meter, time, and m. img and embed continue to be used, but now there are video and audio too. However, closer inspection by the html programmer would reveal that these elements aren’t that different. This can also be an effort to make HTML more developer friendly; the datagrid controls seem similar to those of ASP.NET in name and possibly functionality too.
It was explicitly designed to degrade gracefully in browsers that don’t support it. It provides real benefits to programmers today while promising even more for future page visitors.
But remember that HTML 5 is still a draft and this draft may not be finalized for years, work on HTML 5 continues. Perhaps it will be in our browsers in December 2010.