Other Interesting Goodies in HTML5

Album Cover: The Future

"The maestro says it's Mozart, but it sounds like bubble gum."
Leonard Cohen / Waiting For The Miracle

Posted on June 20, 2007 12:52 AM in Web Development
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

While I'm on the topic of HTML5, I should point out some of the other interesting tidbits in HTML5 differences from HTML4 that caught my eye:

  • The aside element represents a piece of content that is only slightly related to the rest of the page.
  • The nav element represents a section of the document intended for navigation (In HTML5 I could throw in an aside element here and refer you to Autofocus).
  • The input element's type attribute will support new values such as datetime, datetime-local, date, month, week and time so that "the user agent can provide the user interface, such as a calendar date picker or integration with the user's address book and submit a defined format to the server." Imagine a standard look-and-feel to all those various calendar pickers you see on sites like Travelocity and Alaska Airlines.
  • "The a and area elements [will] have a new attribute called ping that specifies a space separated list of URIs which have to be pinged when the hyperlink is followed." No more lame redirect scripts for tracking link clicks.
  • The target attribute for the a element is no longer deprecated.
  • The input, button and form elements will have a new replace attribute which affects what will be done with the document after a form has been submitted (to avoid multiple submissions in succession, etc.).
  • The style element will have a new scoped attribute which can be used to enable scoped style sheets. Sounds interesting!
  • The strong element will represent importance rather than strong emphasis.
  • The acronym element will not be included because it has created lots of confusion. Authors will need to use abbr for abbreviations. That's probably the biggest breaking change I see in terms of the content of my website as it stands now.

There's a whole lot more I didn't cover here, so if you're at least semi-intrigued by this list, be sure to read HTML5 differences from HTML4 in its entirety.


Rami Kayyali on June 23, 2007 at 5:09 PM:

I think HTML5 is a fine idea, except that it lacks "official" support from browsers, and it's going to be very difficult to convince vendors to join the HTML5-until-sane-XHTML club.

Most vendors wouldn't want to be torn between W3C and WHATWG, specially that the latter isn't, as far as I know, registered as an organization. But I've seen things change before, wouldn't be surprised to see that again.


Jeff Schiller on June 25, 2007 at 10:19 AM:

@Rami: I think you misunderstand - HTML5 is a W3C sanctioned activity that is taking place today and the above document is a _W3C_ document, not a WHATWG document. The W3C HTML activity is going to use the WHATWG's HTML5 document as a starting point.

What do you mean "official" support from browsers? There are already support for some features in browsers today ("canvas" being the big one).


Rami Kayyali on June 25, 2007 at 4:36 PM:

Oh! I had no idea that W3C was going to use WHATWG's work. As far as I knew, WHATWG was a separate entity, only popular and authoritative. At least, that's what I understood from Tim Berners-Lee's post: http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/166.

Regarding that official support comment. Wikipedia says that Canvas was implemented by Apple first, then Mozilla, and then was standardized by WHATWG. And that was part of Web Applications 1.0, which later become HTML5.

That's why I have my doubts regarding HTML5. If the specs stray too much, they're going to have a hard time implementing them.


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