HTML 5 the future happens now

Beside my university lectures I read a lot about HTML5 the past weeks. I want to share some findings with you.html5-topper.png

So what is all the fuss about HTML5, it is like HTML 4 just newer, right? Wrong.

HTML5 is a set of technologies including JavaScript, CSS3, HTML and techniques like AJAX, enabling the developers to make apps that behave like desktop applications. It's able to make native use of your hardware (e.g. sensors on your mobile phone), play videos and audio without the need of 3rd party products like flash, develop offline applications and, imho most important possibility, build applications that work on every HTML5 compatible device or every device that can run a Webrowser. Desktop PC's, Laptops, PDA's, smartphones, Apple, Microsoft, Linux. The boundaries for cross-platform applications are falling with HTML5 technology. If you want to look at a nice picture to visualize the core HTML5 improvements, take a look at 'WTF is HTML5? and why we all should care'. I like it. To get a more impressive inside, take a look at the Chrome Experiments website.

I went through all the recommended websites on http://www.w3.org/html/logo/ and I want to present some delightful sightings.

 

Internet Explorer compatibility

Internet Explorer, the most commonly used Webrowser (~60% of users), does not support HTML5 and CSS3 in a full extend. Newer Versions will do of course, but what is with all these IE 6,7 and 8 users that still exist?

Here is a solution to the problem: Google Chrome Frame is kind of a plugin for older versions of Internet Explorer that is especially designed to support these old browsers with HTML5 functionalities. All you have to do as a developer is to add a meta tag to your website and your IE users are just 2 clicks away from the HTML5 experience and your web-application can still be cutting edge and state-of-the-art. It also reduces your development and testing time, since you don't have to write lots of extra code for these (in web-developers mind) forsaken browser family from Microsoft.

If you don't like the idea of letting IE users install extra software (in fact in some situations, e.g. workplaces or internet cafés, the user just can't install extra software) there is another solution to this issue. Modernizr is a lightweight javascript library that supports you with easy manageable fallback possibilities for browsers that do not support your used techniques.

 

Frameworks

Yes, of course there are JavaScript frameworks like prototype, jQuery or mootools for modern looking websites. But that is not what this is about. SproutCore is a JavaScript Framework that enables you to take advantage of modern AJAX techniques and like the website states: "[...] it moves your business logic to the client [...] and is freeing up your servers (and server engineers) to focus on what’s most important in a cloud application: delivering users’ data as quickly and reliably as possible.". It also provides you with nice looking control elements. Take a look at the SproutCore demos.

If you are more into mobile application development and can not decide if you want to develop for Android or iOS, why not doing both? Sencha Touch is a framework that enables you to develop mobile applications for Android and iOS Systems in one go. No need to learn and program objectiveC or other C languages. Just do it with HTML5 technologies. Best thing: Your apps will also run in any modern webkit browser as long as they do not depend on hardware sensors in a mobile phone. 

 

More Examples, Links an Tutorials

If this it not enough for you and you want to get some more insides and "get the party started", take a look at these sites:

HTML5 Rocks is a side with a HTML playground to play a bit with the new possibilities to gain ideas and make yourself an opinion and view. There are also tutorials and examples of HTML5 applications.

The Tripwire Magazine wrote an article about HTML5 Tutorials and Examples and you have 30+ Links to Examples, Tutorials, CheatSheets and Experiments here. You have some time to work through all that, haven't you? ;)

 

Have fun building the future of the web and mobile applications!


Tim Wahrendorff
21.01.2011
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