Tech Forecast: HTML5


Photo courtesy of Social Media SEO

By Dan Licht (@thedvl)

In a few weeks, I’ll be writing about my thoughts on Flash and its capabilities and limitations. Today well look at what might be the technology to supplant it: HTML5.

A new version of HTML? Whats the big deal about that? Can that really make a dynamic, visually engaging offering like Flash unnecessary?

Well, yes. In fact, thats kind of the whole point. HTML5 may take the place of technologies like Flash, because it looks like it will make HTML not need those technologies anymore.

HTML stands for hypertext markup language. Its what exists behind the words of the Web to make them appear the way they do. It, more than anything, is the structural skeleton of the design of the Internet.

That may be well and good, but there have been new versions of HTML coming out since it was invented in 1990. Why is this latest update so groundbreaking? Is it that big of a deal to not need new “plugins like Flash anymore?

Well, to begin with, if youre interested in making money, it matters quite a lot. Charles Arthur put it very succinctly on the Guardian Blog recently, when he said: “If designers can do things with HTML5/CSS3 that they used to need Flash for, then blocking out the messages that help to pay for some ads becomes much more difficult because it’s all just HTML.

Also relevant for monetization is the fact that text in HTML5 remains readable by search engines, unlike (as youll remember we discussed) Flash text. HTML5 = better SEO = more $.

Moreover, its a dream come true for mobile use. HTML5 enables a richer mobile web experience for the user – and across platforms, without requiring new versions for each type of mobile platform – and it does all that with a much cleaner cross-platform back end for the developer.

Finally, tacking on to that cleanliness thought – it makes things possible that used to involve hard downloads. Provided that your computer or mobile device is new enough to know how to read HTML5, there is none of the downloading required with Flash or mobile apps in order to make pretty things possible. It just works.

Again, it comes down to the fact that HTML, although it was evolving, was joined along the way by add-ons like Flash that could plug into it, and that could then do things that it couldnt. This system of improving web experiences did work, but it was rather like the Weasley familys home, The Burrow, in the Harry Potter books – there were odd new bits added on and stuck there, structurally implausibly, as the needs arose over the years.

Am I implying that HTML5 is magic? Not if you liked ad blockers. Not if youre nearing the end of a giant and expensive project that uses XHTML or HTML 4 or Flash. But yes, it has potential.

For more on HTML5, check these two links out:



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