HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the language used by browsers to render webpages. The most recent version, HTML4 was released in the late 1990s. It is made up of a number of tags where are placed around text and images to identify the rolls they play in the webpage.

<h1>This is a headline</h1> tells the browser that this text is a level 1 headline and so it will be larger in typeface and bold, and run the full width of the container it is in.

[example of an h1]

<p>This is a paragraph</p> tells the browser this a paragraph. It will default to the base typeface and font-size of the browser and will be naturally spaced from other tagged its. It will also normall run the full width of the container it is in.

[example of a paragraph]

There are tags that displayed images, that construct tables, with rows and cells, and that create unordered and ordered lists.

HTML5 For Developers

HTML5 is the latest version of HyperText Markup Language, officially released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2011. It is recognised by all major, modern browsers, though may not be by older versions of some browsers.

It’s development came about by identified certain stands that were not being met by HTML4:

  • new features should be based on HTML, CSS, DOM and JavaScript
  • the need for external plugins (e.g. Flash and Java) should be reduced
  • error handling should be easier
  • scripting should be replaced by markup
  • the language should not be dependent on device
  • a public development process so people can see what’s going on

There are a number of new tags available, all bent on making code cleaner and more logical. Some of these inherently define differents areas of the webpage: <header>, <footer>, <article>, <section>, and <nav>.

There are special tags like <audio> and <video> which mean the browser is no longer reliant on an external plugin to render these.

The tags are also meant be used to better organise sections of pages. So, while <header> and <footer> will identify these areas of the page itself, they can also be used to identify header and footer areas of sub-sections on the page.

HTML5 allows pages to be more directly encoded for character sets beyond the basic Western alphabet, so if your website requires a multi-lingual design which uses non-Western characters or enhanced Western characters, this has become easier to achieve.

HTML5 For Everyone

But why is HTML5 important to someone who isn’t writing code?

Because the code follows better standards and is more efficient, browsers will load pages faster and require less bandwidth in order to do so. Also, less reliance on plugins will mean less browser-overhead (and not having to ensure that your plugins are all up-to-date).

This cleaner, more efficent design also leads to improved SEO, since search engines can read and interpret content better.

Together with CSS3* (the latest coding for Cascading Style Sheets), HTML5 is prime for being used in responsive website design, the latest trend in assuring that your website will be capatible for any type of viewing device your audience intends to use.

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