By now I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘HTML5’ being used by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple. So what exactly is it and what does it mean to you? HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, is the foundation of almost every site on the internet. HTML 4, the last major iteration, was released in 1997 and has been used almost exclusively ever since with numerous modifications to allow it to meet the ever-increasing demands of the multi-media hungry users of the web.

But a number of these modifications haven’t meshed as seamlessly with the pre-millennial technology of HTML4, to the point that slow loading speeds and the occasional feature that simply won’t work on mobile sites are now commonly accepted by users as “just one of those things”.

This is where HTML5 now steps in. Built on the basic foundation of its predecessor, HTML5 incorporates a variety of features that enhance multimedia performance. Whereas HTML4 was forced to rely on plugins such as Flash or Sliverlight to play video content, HTML5 comes equipped with its own built-in media handling facility named canvas. There is currently some debate over which formats are best used for canvas, but generally the new ability for HTML5 to play video without needing a plugin –and thus being able to play video on devices such as iphones- has been well received.

Another big addition is HTML5’s ability to store data offline for web apps. While previously many apps required internet access to store data, and thus counldn’t work offline, now HTML5 can store user information locally. Data can then by uploaded to an online database when a connection is next detected.

HTML5 also adds a number of slick animations and interactivity features such as revolving animations, drag-and-drop functionality and the ability to animate sections of websites that would have previously required additional, memory-consuming, plugins.

So, what does this mean to someone looking to update their current website? With HTML5 web developers can drastically reduce the divide between desktop and mobile sites, meaning that users viewing your content on smartphones and tablets will see your content how you want them to see it, with no loss of functionality. Developers can also add functionality and personality to your sites without having to sacrifice loading time or alienating users on certain devices. HTML5 is also becoming more and more useful in app development, giving you a range of functions that will enhance a user’s experience and increase reuse.

Websites are currently undergoing another burst of evolution thanks to HTML5, with faster loading times, revolutionary new interfaces and more user interactivity. If you’d like to know more about HTML5 and what it can do for your site, why not contact bmore and find out?