There’s HTML5 and then there’s HTML5

August 16th, 2010

I remember back in school, sometime in my second year, I read an article on A List Apart called A Preview of HTML5 and I was excited about the new tags, like <header> and <footer>. I was pretty sure <video> was going to make life a lot easier. But, really, that was it, it wasn’t a Flash killer or something to build amazing web apps, it was just a new version of HTML that would make my work a little easier. And over the last few years, I’d read articles about it and I was waiting for the day when I could start building sites using it. But then Apple changed everything.

We had a client talk to us about building them a new site and one of their questions was whether or not we knew how to build things using HTML5. It took me a minute, but I realized they didn’t mean HTML5 they way I thought about, they meant it the way Apple had been talking about it, as an all encompassing term that included CSS3 and JavaScript. And over the last six months this has pretty much become the norm, HTML5 means everything that you’d find in something like Apple’s HTML5 showcase or Google’s HTML5Rocks. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember CSS3 transitions being a part of the HTML5 spec.

So it seems that HTML5 has become a term like Ajax, which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, even though it doesn’t have to include XML. Somebody just thought it sounded cool and started using it to reference a group of technologies that the name didn’t necessarily apply to. In the case of HTML5, it seems like it’s companies like Apple and Google that have spread the use of it as a name for a group of technologies that aren’t really under it’s umbrella.

But it seems that the web design and development community have accept this use and things like HTML5 apps, which use more than just HTML5 to work, are becoming widespread. I don’t have a problem with this but I just find it interesting that HTML5 has become an accepted buzz word so quickly and it’s acceptance is so widespread. And the next time a client brings up the term HTML5, I’ll know what they mean.

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