HTML 5 shaping up nicely

Left for dead by many, HTML resurfaced half a year ago when the w3 released a working draft for the next version of this markup language. The draft was recently updated and a document detailing the differences from the previous version was released as well.

Having read through the differences document and most of the working draft, I feel genuinely excited about the potential of HTML5. They include:

  • Formal support for the CANVAS drawing API. Already implemented to various degrees in some browsers (excluding the usual suspect), the CANVAS drawing API is very useful for creating web graphics and interactions programmatically. (I recently wrote about a very interesting port of the Processing language using the Canvas element)
  • Native drag-and-drop API (finally!)
  • Formal API for editing (contentEditable/designMode). Gone are the days of 150kb+ WYSIWYG javascript libraries.
  • An offline storage API
  • Browser history API (for fixing broken behavior with modern techniques, ie AJAX)
  • Server notifications API (standardizing a technique known as COMET).
  • New attributes such as a global ‘href’ allowing every element to potentially be a hyperlink.

This partial list has enough improvements to make any sane web-developer happy. HTML is definitely heading in the right direction to retain its dominant position as the markup language for the web (its biggest advantage over XHTML being a much more user friendly error handling).

Now it remains to be seen how long it takes for this proposal to be finalized and implemented.

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