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HTML5: 9 ways it will change the web

How the new standard will ease development

HTML5 is a standard that's become a talking point recently when it comes to the web.

However, you may be surprised to learn the push to create a fifth official version of the HTML specification began six years ago.

And that's just the first half of the story because the latest implementations, while nice, are far from standards. The HTML5 demos from Apple, for instance, are impressive, but they only run well on Safari.

That's how slowly committees can work. The browser creators and other stakeholders have a big collection of ideas for improving the browser and the web, and these are gradually coalescing into a fifth generation for the standard. But agreement takes time. Many of the new tags and JavaScript functions exist already as experiments on some of the browsers, but interoperability and standardisation are still to come. That's why the Flash groupies joke about HTML5 being a time machine to take you back to 2000.

While the jokes may sting and waiting for more general adoption is tiresome, it would be a mistake to simply ignore HTML5. There are not only powerful companies behind it, but there's also the standard process of technological development. The software - both browsers and tools - tends to absorb all of the orbiting extras, incorporating them into the main standard.

HTML5 will change many aspects of life on the web. It will not displace Flash or Shockwave: One glance at the games on Miniclip.com, such as Jet Ski Racer, shows how much ground the HTML5 committee must cover. But HTML5 will still remake the web and enable basic websites to do much more - from tracking our location to storing more of our data in the cloud.

HTML5 tags will displace plug-ins for simpler jobs, at least some of the time, and it will open up advanced capabilities to a larger audience. It might even make the web more secure, more efficient, and more adaptable.

To see where this new standard may take us, I collected the opinions from a number of developers, programmers, and designers. Here is an unordered list of ways that the web may change as HTML5 is gradually adopted and standardised.

NEXT PAGE: Reducing the importance of plug-ins

  1. How the new standard will ease development
  2. Reducing the importance of plug-ins
  3. HTML5 will help scrap cyborg data
  4. Chattier widgets

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