What is HTML?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is comprised of tags, and those tags are the basic structure and formatting elements of a webpage. For example, if you wanted to display an image on a webpage, you would use the <img> tag, as in:

<img src='http://domain.com/image.gif' />

Likewise, if you wanted to make text bold on a page, you would use the <strong> tag, as in:

I am <strong>bold text</strong>


What is HTML5?

At the time of this writing (February 2012), the current version of HTML is 4.01. HTML5 is simply the newest version of HTML, but it is still being developed. Major goals of HTML5 include making HTML code easier to read and staying up to date with the latest multimedia formats. It also aims to define the processes for dealing with syntax errors, so that invalid code will be handled the same by all web browsers.

HTML5 has actually been under development since 2004, however it began to get more attention in 2010 when Apple released a statement discussing how Adobe's Flash will no longer be required to play video and other content from the web.

What is different about HTML5 vs HTML4.01?

New Tags

HTML5 offers several new tags, such as:

  • <video>
  • <audio>
  • <canvas>
  • <section>
  • <article>

Some tags are geared for showing content in browsers without the need of 3rd party plugins. Other tags hope to make HTML code easier to read. For example, instead of using the standard <div> and <span> tags, you can use more descriptive tags, such as:

  • <nav> (A website's navigation)
  • <footer> (The footer of a web page)
  • <audio> and <video> (A replacement for the <object> tag).

Dropped Tags

HTML5 also drops several tags who's purpose can better be accomplished through CSS. Several dropped tags include:

  • <font>
  • <center>

New APIs

Besides adding and dropping tags, HTML5 also specifies several scripting APIs, such as:
* Drag-and-drop
* Cross document messaging (previously disabled due to security concerns)
* Web Storage (similar to cookies but with several advantages)
* Geolocation

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