HTML5 – Pros, Cons and Some Lesser Known Points

While a lot of non web designers probably don.t know about HTML5 or why it’s important, web designers have been excited about it for some time. There are plenty of positives that this “new” and revamped language gives us for web design and web development.

  • Offline Support: There are certain features that come along with HTML5 that allow you to store more offline information (more so than cookies / cache) which is a huge plus for mobile application developers. This will allow useful applications to continue to function even when there is no available internet connection.
  • Canvas and Video: These features make it easier than ever before to add images (not really too big of an issue before) and video (big issue before) to a web page and make it cross browser and mobile compatible.
  • GeoLocation API: It isn’t really part of HTML5 but since HTML5 is associated mainly with mobile device use, GeoLocation goes along with this discussion quite nicely. Developers can now more easily integrate user-specific location based information into an app and do things like that “cool” augmented reality stuff people have been talking about. That’s how it’s possible to point your iPhone or Android device at a street and have it tell you where the closest coffee shop is (ever wondered why your iPhone asks to use your “Current Location”?).
  • Advanced Forms: Now your mobile browser can handle some of the background stuff that is required to make sure information that you enter in an online form is accurate (form validators) instead of having to run additional scripts to do it. This really will speed up load times and increase that user experience stuff.

That being said, HTML5 sounds great and all developers should stop what they are doing right now and start using it shouldn’t they? That’s not necessarily the case. HTML5 is not yet supported by Internet Explorer (I know, shocking right?) and in addition to that, there are few other “deal breakers” that will hold HTML5 up from being completely integrated into all platforms right away.

  • The biggest issue is the acceptance (or lack thereof) of microformats across multiple browsers. HTML5 uses a slew of new tags that add new “semantic richness” to a web document but does not fully utilize microformats (class attributes, etc.) which makes HTML5″s backwards compatibility non-existent. Being a graphic designer on the web, this is a bad thing.

Most of the other negative points start to get sort of complicated and difficult to explain so for now, I’ll leave it at that. It is important to know that HTML5 is still a good thing — it’s just going to be a bit before it is completely integrated into every developer’s day to day routine. As mobile internet browsing continues to grow, however, it will very soon have its place..

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