HTML5 is the next generation of HTML. Although the recommendations are still in progress, Ian Hickson, HTML5 specification editor, suggests
that HTML5 will reach the W3C Candidate Recommendation stage by 2012. He further recommends that HTML5 reach a W3C recommendation in the year 2022 or later, but HTML5 can already be used because much of it is backward compatible with HTML 4.01. As the major browser developers adopt it, more and more web developers will start using it. Interestingly, certain parts of HTML 5 have been added to some browser before the final recommendations have been reached.
HTML5 will offer a lot of new features beyond the current implementation of HTML; of which, one of the most interesting, is the native handling of rich media. Right now, to deliver rich media, such as audio or video, on a web site requires the developer to use lengthy code and have to rely on the viewer of the web site to have Flash or Silverlight installed on their computers. HTML5 offers audio and video support through elements, which will not only make the code for a developer much cleaner; it will also play directly in the browser instead of having to rely upon an outside program to play the media content.
Pending Fall of Flash and Silverlight?
Because web developers may have a way to avoid using Flash and Silverlight to embed media in their pages, it raises the question as to whether or not HTML5 could kill the two rich media giants? Jon von Tetzchner, Opera CEO, says
that it's not about killing Flash or any other program, but that it would be natural for web standards to evolve and then leave it in the developers' hands as to whether they deliver their rich media content through the web standards that will be present in HTML5 or using third-party proprietary plug-ins or codec, such as Flash. However, with all things considered, it does appear that the emergence of HTML5 could and would kill the need for Flash and Silverlight! When you consider the new methods for embedding media in HTML5 will make it as easy to embed a video into a page as it is to place an image into the page, it would be foolish to continue using the current method that involves a third-party plug-ins. After all, it's only human nature to use the method that provides the least effort.
An Easy Development of Interactive Web Pages
When HTML5 is fully implemented, it will make a web developer's job easier, if for no other reason than the minimization of code involved compared to the current HTML implementation. Some browsers are already supporting HTML5 capability, though that support is extremely limited. As web browsers continue to provide more and more compatibility with HTML5, you will see more and more developers turning to HTML5. While the functions in HTML5 may be targeted more to the developers, it will also benefit the browser user by limiting the amount of things required of them. Users will no longer get prompted that they need to install a plug-in to be able to view all the content of a web page, as their browser will already be equipped to handle such elements.
HTML 5 promises some exciting changes that could revolutionize the way we perceive rich media content on the web. Some proprietary technologies like Flash and Silverlight may even go under if it succeeds.