Since HTML's inception, it has been the "language of web", but has been practically unmaintained after HTML4 (1997). It lacked many features which a current generation user expects from the browser experience. Developers had to toil hard to achieve those and that too not without an inevitable help of plug-ins or custom created controls from different vendors.
But even then many features were just impossible to achieve because of a less supportive HTML. Features like hardware interaction with GPS or Wi-Fi devices, concurrent execution of Java Scripts, standardized client side storage support, support for animation and interoperability across browsers are a few that can be identified.
What HTML5 has to Offer?
HTML5 is a set of standards defined for developing web based applications. It might not be used by all the websites but lays the foundation for better support across modern desktops and mobile browsers. It provides many new features and advantages over the earlier versions. The following section highlights a few of them:
- Offline Storage
This new feature allows the storage of persistent app databases and one-time data (like email) on client side. Actually, offline storage is a lot like Google Gearsb" (a proprietary plug-in from Google which allows offline storage of data) without the need for plug-ins to reap its benefits.
- Video and Audio Streaming
A new Video and Audio tag is included in HTML5 with which we can play video or audio on the website without the help of any plug-in. This feature is still in budding stage and is subject to format turmoil. Famous sites like YouTube may skip Flash entirely to bring streaming audio and video, with timed playback and other neat features.
An API provided now in HTML5, which can find user's location and use it to filter one's search results, weather updates, advertisement and more. It makes your browser location-aware, either by using the available GPS device or Wi-Fi connection.
- Smarter Web Forms
Many new controls are introduced to ease web development woes which will make it easier to build web applications. There are features like wikis, drag-and-drop tools, discussion boards, real-time chat, search front-ends, and other modern web elements into any site, which work the same across browsers
- Web Workers
It introduces a new API called Web Workers using which Java Scripts can run in the background independent of UI thread.
This might be a pleasant surprise for the web developers who have worked on the earlier versions of HTML, now Flash like animation can be achieved through HTML5 without the use of any external plug-ins.
Now lets discuss these features in detail.