HTML is back! It never really left us but it never really did anything with itself after hunkering down in its parents basement eight years ago watching Star Trek reruns. But Apple, Opera, and the Mozilla Foundation came a knocking one day and decided to give HTML some money to go to night school and learn some new tricks.
Some new additions I’m really excited about are the section, header, footer, nav, and article elements. Instead of writing <div id=”header”> or <div class=”entry”> I can now write <header> or <article> respectively, improving the readability of HTML and saving me from early carpal tunnel. There are also new elements for embedding audio and video, a measurement element for numeric values in specific ranges, a time element, and a few others rounding out the additions. But there are also changes to current elements that might take getting used too. The <a> element without an href attribute now represents a placeholder link. The <b> <hr> <i> <label> <small> and <strong> elements are also slightly changed with HTML 5 no longer handling the presentational attributes that were in HTML 4, and are now handled exclusively by CSS.
CSS has been getting some new tricks too. Multiple backgrounds, border images, RGBA colours, to name a few. But when will we see any of these improvements adopted by the masses? Unfortunately, not for a while. In the end it depends on Internet Explorers time table to supporting HTML 5 and CSS 3, one would hope IE8 due out in a few years would cover these standards, but they haven’t been known for standards compliance in the past. Hopefully though, the IE team will do more for standards in version 8, because HTML 5 enables clear, simple markup that makes things a lot easier for pros and rookies alike.