A Web Site’s Owner Guide to HTML 5

Html 5 is the next evolution of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), which is what allows browsers to display web sites through a browser. Originally…
  • Joel Holtzman
  • Magento Development Lead
  • April 5, 2012 Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Html 5 is the next evolution of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), which is what allows browsers to display web sites through a browser. Originally HTML was served as a way for browsers to display text and images so people can enjoy a truly interactive experience on the internet instead of using the command line and using only text-based communication between one computer and another.

Unlike the predecessor, HTML 4, HTML 5 comes equipped with powerful tools that take user interaction to a whole new level and allow websites to do things that one could not dream of doing a few years ago. This article will detail what HTML 5 is capable of, why websites need to embrace it and what you can do to make your website more interactive and more user-friendly.

What Can HTML 5 Do That HTML Predecessors Could Not Do?

When the internet was first popularized in the mid 1990’s, since most internet users had limited bandwidth capability, people could not enjoy music and video the way they can today. Around the year 2000, this changed thanks to Flash which is a technology that runs YouTube, many of the games you see on Facebook as well as a host of other web sites and web technologies. Flash allowed users to share media, which grew in size and complexity, once DSL and Cable Modems were introduced into households.

Unfortunately, in the beginning, it was hard to convince people to install a plug-in that was needed in order to run flash so many people would pass on the opportunity. Later in the decade, with the creation of  YouTube and online gaming, more people would find themselves adding the plug-in to their browser so they can enjoy the power of flash. Unfortunately, with the advent of the iPhone & iPad, users of that technology would not be able to use Flash since iOS (the operating system for the iPhone & iPad) was not compatible with Flash.

“We Have Something Better”

Apple believed that there was a technology that would allow people to share media, interact with websites and create online games without having to depend on Flash, its plugins all while dealing with the fact that Flash is a resource hog. That solution was HTML 5.

HTML works natively with mobile phones as well as the major internet browsers. While there are differences in how some browsers interact with audio and video, you will be surprised to see what HTML 5 is capable of. Here is a list of what the future holds for websites who adapt to HTML 5 technology:

Drag ‘N Drop Interactivity

Before HTML 5, if you attempted to create an online album of photos you would have to upload all of them at once. This can be time-consuming for somebody who has a lot of photos to upload. With HTML 5, all you have to do is open up a folder on your hard drive and drag them into your browser window.

The drag ‘n drop interactivity allows a web developer to make sure that any file received (one or multiple files at once) can be recognized instantly. This means you can have audio, video or images added to your website or 3rd party website’s album without manual upload anymore.

Here are some great examples of what is possible with HTML 5:

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Easy Audio & Video Play Not Requiring Plugins Like Flash

HTML 5 comes with ‘tags’ (commands within html) that allow your browser to play audio or video without needing a Flash plug-in or any other plug-in. This means any website you create that shares audio can be shared with other users whether they are on a Mac, PC, or Smartphone.

Improved Form Fields

With HTML5 you can offer improved form field types such as date time, range (where they can choose a value from 1-20), email, phone number and more. This will allow for improved form validation and easier inputting of data for web visitors.

3d Graphics/Video Games

HTML 5 supports a technology called Canvas that allows you to create 2D/3D graphics. Users don’t need to download a 3rd party plug-in and this technology makes it possible to create flash like intros as well as viral video games that will work natively on iPhones and iPads. While HTML 5 and Canvas is not yet as sophisticated as Flash, with the advent of JavaScript 3D rendering engines and other freely available open source software, HTML 5 is slowly making a name for itself in interactivity. Check out this link to see what is possible with Canvas/Html in conjunction with a JavaScript library that helps render 3D graphics.

What This Means For You

With mobile phones becoming a major part of our online experience, as well as with the success of social media web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is important to find an easy to way to add interactivity to your website, connect with 3rd party websites and make sure that your pages render properly on mobile apps. HTML 5 allows you go give your website more means to interact with your visitors, improve their buying experience and add a level of style to your website that was not possible for those small businesses who could not afford to spend money on expensive flash intros or flash websites. HTML 5 gives you many of the animation and interactive possibilities of flash while greatly reducing the computer load of your visitor. There more you can do to make your pages load faster, work smarter and keep them motivated to come back, the more likely you are to find success with your website.


Take the time to see what HTML 5 can do for you by visiting the following resources (Some of these demos work better in certain browsers) to get an idea of where the future of the web is going as well as where it is now. Consider the benefits of a more interactive and intelligent shopping cart and the benefits of exploring ways to connect to social media and create a viral tool (such as a graffiti app or even an html 5 game) that will bring more and more visitors to your website without you having to spend on advertising. As HTML 5 grows in support you will not want to get left behind

If you would like to learn how we can improve your website through HTML 5, please “contact us” today.

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