HTML5 Basics

The days when website development was a pain in the neck are gone. Today’s professional web design software enables you to create web templates in an instant click. 

Read our quick guide on HTML5 and learn how it differs from the previous versions.


Hypertext Markup Language revision 5, or simply HTML5 is the latest programming language of browsers developed to display and modify web pages. HTML5 gives format and interactivity to a website and intends to solve compatibility problems that affect the old standard, HTML4. 

In 2007, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) bounded with WHATWG to realize their ambitions in HTML evolution. Together, they formed HTML WG to create HTML5. HTML5 was made public on 22 January 2008. The objective was to improve the language readability and make it a complete platform, functioning without XHTML’s rigidity. 

HTML Basics
HTML Basics

HTML5 incorporates two other kinds of code which are JavaScript and CSS, all rolled in one; but the plan for underlying website structure is first defined in HTML code. The code has an extended markup and improved APIs with support for the latest web browsers. Additionally, Drag and Drop integration eases the process of setting up a website requiring little programming skills. This also allows HTML5 to be used on handheld devices in an attempt to create mobile versions of a webpage.

One of the biggest differences between HTML5 and previous versions is the ability to connect things on the Internet. It’s just that now, we’re starting to realize the great potential of HTML; with the advent of audio and video elements, additional software like browser plugin has become the thing of the past. There’s more. As mentioned above, HTML5 is cross-platform, which means it can be useful for writing web apps that are highly functional offline.

The main changes include:

  • Introduction of
  • The need for additional tools while creating HTML5 website is reduced to a minimum (with an exception for Adobe’s Dreamweaver, which gained an HTML5 pack in 2010)
  • Extended markup (article, aside, audio, bdi, canvas, command, datalist, details, embed, figcaption, figure, footer, header, hgroup, keygen, mark, meter, nav, output, progress, rp, rt, ruby, section, source, summary, time, video and wbr)
  • Flexible parsing and compatibility
  • Device independence and better content adaptation

Semantic Markup

The major update to HTML5 markup is new tags. Their advantage lies in the ability to describe the intent of the containing markup in a clear-cut way. This means that pages that contain inherent content will be better displayed in search engines and easily interpreted by the client. Therefore, the ultimate goal of tags is to give a build-in meaning to the code which in turn delivers a more applicable website. 

HTML5 also supports Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) in text/html, a comprehensive dialect of XML used to describe both structure and content. It is just now, website owners can update their sites, rather than bringing on outside Flash programmers.

The result is that the latest version of the program is now considered a highly functional tool available for web content, and you’ll hear more about HTML5 than ever before. Further, the audio and video elements function more like an element that drops the link into a page. It always was and always will be about interconnection. As noted earlier, the audio and video files that play in a browser would play natively in the HTML5-enabled handheld device. 

JavaScript APIs

If the large portion of improvements goes to markup upgrade, the rest is represented by the new JavaScript APIs. According to W3C, HTML5 intends to replace APIs in older HTML4, XML, and DOM Level 2 documents. Sure, this isn’t anything technically new, but it is something that’s happening more due to the introduction of HTML5 multimedia elements and the extension of hypertext allowing the provision of these elements. Programmers are now able to throw it on a content-sharing medium like YouTube or Vimeo. 

Browser Wars

In the early days of the World Wide Web, browsers were poised for growth. Each browser vendor, in an attempt to compete for dominance in the usage share, struggled to implement advanced features using proprietary APIs. Microsoft and Netscape at the time were creating features that would compete with the other browser. Sometimes their attempts would have ended up in the creation of two identical sites for the two main browsers or they would simply focus on supporting only one browser and limiting access to the website. 

The rising influence of the Web Standards Project had decided the war at a stroke, as they introduced standardized APIs. 

Browser wars
Browser wars

The following are two platforms that provide actual browser support tables and usage share statistics for modern web technologies. 

  • Modernizr: is a JavaScript library that detects HTML5 and CSS features available in the user’s browsers.
  • The website attempts to match different capabilities with different web browsers. If you need to know if an area of HTML5 will work for your target users, this website will help you make that decision.

Though HTML5 is an evolving standard, the latest versions of big-name browsers support it. But they don’t all support the same things. Chrome has the highest level of compatibility with the software, and generally supports a broad selection of HTML5 features, with Maxthon and Opera following afterwards. 

How to build a responsive HTML5 website

The gives a simple, short, and clear explanation for HTML structure and scripts. The excellent Google Web Fundamentals Program has both demos and code samples for web developers. The process does not differ radically from methods followed with previous versions of HTML; it begins with defining HTML5 doctype and head sections layout that requires conscious determination.

Note that the first line, the HTML5 doctype, is required when using the new HTML5 elements. Proceed with metadata. Define the document title, character set, scripts, and other meta information. These are the parts of the webpage that inform other search engines what a site is about, what the keywords are, whether search bots can index it etc. Set up the <head> element for metadata. It is important to add the following two declarations to the CSS

A programmer should also be considering a design that would work on all kinds of devices.

When working with web design, it is helpful to consider both the designer and programmer perspectives; it benefits the analysis of the small modifications regarding both parties vision. Also considering the user encourages a user-centered design.

The Header Element

As you could have noticed, the names of the HTML5 tags have inherent meaning e.g the

element indicates the page header. The header often contains one or more heading tags (up to h6). The following is an example of these tags being used in the section of your page: 


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Not long ago,

elements were the only option for structuring block-level pages. In order to use these elements, developers would apply id and class attributes e.g.,

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