A while ago I published “Adaptive vs. Responsive Design: What They Are, Why They Matter,” and immediately received some follow-up questions about HTML5.
Here’s a very quick explanation:
For the last fifteen years (since 1997, actually), we’ve been stuffing all sorts of new content onto the web using HTML, a markup language based on typesetter’s syntax. It allows you to identify a main headline as H1 and a smaller headline as H2, mark text that should appear in italics using carats <i> </i> and structure a page into grids like this: <table><row><column>.
It isn’t rocket science and isn’t very flexible. So, starting the day after HTML launched, the browser folks have been working on updates.You’ll be shocked to hear that over the years they’ve introduced changes from HTML1 to HTML4. Remember when every site had blinking text? It was in HTML3 when the discontinued the <blink> command.
Now we’re on HTML5.
HTML5 cleans up a bunch of errors and discrepancies in older versions, but that isn’t why it gets people all excited. It’s because it spells the eventual end of random hacks, APIs and plugins like Flash. You can easily change the look of the page, embed audio or video and you can store things — meaning that its much easier to build things that work more like apps.
With related advances in page styling through CSS3 and the introduction of a variety of new fonts, we’re moving ever closer to a sophisticated design palette that rivals print and film, yet has exponentially more adaptability. And with HTML5’s microformats we’re also closer to digital content that both machines and people can easily understand.
Here’s a couple of examples to get you started (BTW, they work best with the Chrome browser):
Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown
Adobe’s The Expressive Web (deadlink)