It’s not HTML5! But that’s ok.

Web 2.0, AJAX and now HTML5 – all buzz words that have got non-developers a little bit more excited about web development and me using a lot more /facepalm.

As a developer you know what these buzzwords mean and can read between the lines when asked for an HTML5 site. They don’t really want a site full of offline-storage, data-* attributes, video and audio elements but you can give them one that is progressively enhanced and standards compliant.

What is HTML5?

A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTMLw3c HTML5 overview

HTML5 is the next revision to the HTML specification and gives us a new doctype to validate against. As well as adding new elements and attributes, it also makes updates to and omits some existing elements and attributes.

HTML5 also encompasses some APIs that can be used to create web applications, such as drag and drop, history and offline storage to name a few.

That is it. The newest bundle of web standards.

What isn’t HTML5?

CSS3 is not HTML5.

Javascript frameworks are not HTML5 – although you’ll be using Javascript to make use of the new APIs, so I agree here the boundary is blurred.

Geolocation is not HTML5 – I always thought it was, but I can’t find it in the actual spec. Please prove me wrong.

Why Apple isn’t helping

Apple have created something that they call their HTML5 showcase and while they explain in the small-print that it also demonstrates CSS3 and Javascript, that is not what the general public hear.

Because HTML5 is boring to the average man on the street. Most people just don’t care about data-*, new input types, attributes like hidden and all of the other goodies on the horizon. Only serious front-end engineers care about what the revised language is really going to bring. So they have to cover up the fairly dry gajillion-page HTML5 spec with a teeth-melting layer of proprietary CSS3 icing just to hold our attention.

Technology media isn’t helping

Are Google’s bouncing balls HTML5?

So it’s Google’s 12th birthday, and happy birthday to them. Today they released a bouncy ball doodle to celebrate, which is quite cool and very well done. But contrary to the many many messages on Twitter (there’s too many to link to!) and reports of online magazines, it’s not HTML5. Ian Devlin

…apparently you don’t even need to use any HTML5 for the tech media to declare your efforts HTML5…

Adding <!doctype HTML> does not make you an HTML5 expert

I recently looked at an online CV of someone claiming to write HTML5. The evidence? A <!doctype html> and page full of div elements (divs are in the HTML5 spec, but you know what I mean), no new attributes or aspects of HTML5

It doesn’t really matter that people don’t fully understand what they mean when they say HTML5. It’s more important that we, as developers, continue to give clients standards compliant and accessible sites and applications no matter the version number of HTML.

Use your inner pedant only for good.

Further reading