As complicated as the Internet appears to be, the underlying fabric is actually pretty simple when you get right down to it. Dig into the source code of your favorite webpage, and you’ll find a relatively uncomplicated, though cluttered tag soup. However, the lack of universally adopted standards has hampered the progress of the web in some ways. As a result, web designers and developers are understandably in favor of unifying standards. That’s where the next-generation markup language known as HTML5 comes in. Its simplicity belies its raw power, as it’s poised to revolutionize the future of web design.
The Demise of Flash
Many casual observers link the shift towards HTML5 and CSS3 to Steve Jobs’ now-famous anti-Flash blog post. What few realize is that Adobe never really expected Flash to become the lingua franca of web video. The numerous limitations of Flash have been well-documented, and the notion of Rich Media that’s browser-independent and plugin-free has been gaining momentum for years. Royalty-free standards have the potential to introduce a new kind of web experience that’s leaner, more responsive and more flexible than mere Flash elements.
HTML5 & CSS3: the Solution to Our Problems?
The best and worst thing about the web is that it’s uncompromisingly decentralized and uncoordinated. Aside from the HTTP protocol, it’s tough to get everyone to agree on much of anything. HTML5 and CSS3 as content presentation standards aim to change that. In a nutshell, they allow popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari to natively display advanced graphics, media and interactive features without third-party plugins like Flash. Frequently used in conjunction with the jQuery framework, these standards are capable of producing surprisingly sophisticated webpages that in many cases rival Flash without over-taxing the end user’s CPU.
Pros, Cons and Considerations
Current Trends & Practical Implementations
As with any open web standards, HTML5 and CSS3 are a constant work in progress. However, a promising adoption rate bodes well for the future. HTML5 video in particular has been gaining some serious traction on popular social media sites like Youtube. You can already see impressive examples of HTML5 in action on TheWildernessDowntown.com, Universeries , Lost World’s Fairs and some Online School formats. Even Adobe has gotten in on the act with its The Expressive Web demo showcase. Nowadays, developers on a budget can churn out mind-blowing web animations with HTML5 development platforms like Sencha and Adobe Edge. In addition, frameworks like Modernizr and Initializr have made the development process a whole lot easier.
The Future of the Web
It has become increasingly clear that the Internet of tomorrow will be exponentially richer, expressive and open moving forward. The general consensus in the web development community is that using standards like HTML5 and CSS3 for front-end user interfaces is ultimately a good thing in the long run. The rapid growth of the mobile sphere in particular is accelerating the adoption of HTML5 on a variety of sites. For both developers and average users, a future web based on HTML5 seems like a safe bet.