But what is HTML5?!?! Let’s start at the beginning, 1991.
Tim Berners-Lee invents the Web by coming up with the Web server, the Web browser and the language of the Web, HTML. HTML was a way to create online documents that were formatted (headers, lists, paragraphs, etc.) and could be linked and related to each other. Essentially, the Web was meant to store documents that users could search and browse from anywhere in the world.
Flash forward 20 years. Now we watch movies on the Web. We play video games. There are whole applications that are accessed via the Web. All this is done on a platform originally designed to electronically publish and link academic papers. Up until a year or two ago, the Rich Internet Applications (RIA) used Flash, Java Applets, or some other browser plug-in for “special effects.”
In 2008, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) introduced a draft for the HTML5 specification. It included many aspects that were only available in an RIA plug-in. Stuff like video, animation, drawing, and other RIA aspects that were only available in Flash would now be available in the universal language of the Web, HTML. No more plug-ins to download. With just a browser, you can watch videos or play video games over the Internet.
It’s been two years and the HTML5 specification is still in draft form, on its 8th revision. It’s not close to becoming a standard yet, and there more than a few browsers that do not fully support it. But there are some big players, like Apple, Google, YouTube, and others that are betting pretty heavy on it.