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Is Now the Time to Prepare for HTML5?

It’s coming. The fifth revision of the HTML standard will be finalized by the W3C in 2014. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start benefiting from HTML5 benefits ranging from platform compatibility, cleaner code, and enhanced user interactivity today. With more and more users surfing the web from mobile devices, it makes sense to start using a language that caters to tablet and smartphone users. Here are five reasons you should start preparing for HTML5 so you can stay ahead of the curve.

Browser and Device Interoperability

The biggest headache for web developers is designing sites that will view correctly on all browsers. Throw mobile devices into the mix, and it’s become a nightmare. Not so with HTML5. The main thrust of the new HTML standard is “build once, run anywhere.” By building your site to HTML5 standards, you’re guaranteed mobile users of both old and new devices can access your content. Considering how rapidly the mobile market is growing, it makes sense to adapt to HTML5 so these new mobile users can visit your site.

No Flash, No Problem

You’ve heard it countless times. Flash is buggy, it uses up too much battery life, and not everything supports it. Apple cut a swath through the Flash community by denying Flash compatibility with iOS, leaving many websites out of the mobile loop. This can all change with HTML5. New video and audio tags were designed for HTML5 to be as simple as the old image tags. Instead of using Flash or Silverlight, developers can use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to render video content, embed multimedia content, and include interactive elements. These new elements are said to perform better too, providing silky smooth playbacks at a fraction of the power consumption.

Enabling the Disabled

“Inclusivity” is the theme of HTML5, but this goal goes beyond simply browsers and devices. What about the blind or the deaf users? They’ve been kept out of the loop for too long and now HTML5 hopes to change that. The Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) enables developers to add attribute identifiers or roles to different elements of HTML code. These identifiers mark common regions of the page, such as Title, Header, Footer, and Nav, so disabled users can understand how to navigate your site better.

Squeaky Clean Code

The current HTML may function well enough, but ask any developer and they will all agree – it is not a pretty language. And beauty does make a difference here. If a new developer needs to understand old code, it can be a time-consuming headache trying to comprehend all those scattered tags. HTML5 gives this code a makeover, eliminating ugly, complex code and replacing it with short and concise elements. Another advantage of cleaner code is that it will translate into SEO improvements since HTML5 is more readable to search crawlers.

New Ways to Interact

What separates a boring website from an effective one? Users want to do more than simply sit and read a screen, they need interaction to pull them in and hold their interest. HTML5 comes with the ability to recognize common tablet gestures, like swiping and zooming that can be included in your site. New web storage can mimic the client application experience within the browser by allowing up to 10 MB of storage on the client-side – far more than your normal cookie. The LocalStorage API enables apps without third party plug-ins while Session storage is tied to the life of the Http session. Also, a new Geolocation API enables JavaScript to define objects that grab geographical data to determine where a device is being used.

HTML5 represents a shift towards client-side web development that will benefit you. With HTML5 running on just about every browser and device easily, features for battery-powered tablets and smartphones, and simpler, easier-to-read code, HTML5 is well worth the investment for even small and medium-sized businesses.

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DocsInk
Wilmington, NC

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