Web Development

Beginner’s Guide to HTML5

HTML5 is the newest hyper text markup language for websites from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The first draft was made public in 2008, but not much happened until 2011. In 2011, HTML5 was released and people started writing about it and using it, but the support in different browsers was still poor. Today all major browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, IE) offer HTML5 support, therefore the newest HTML technology can be used at its best today.

HTML5 works with CSS3 and is still in development. W3C plans to release a stable version next year, but it still looks like this is a long shot. Since its release, HTML5 has been in continuous development, with the W3C adding more and more impressive features, therefore it seems quite unlikely that HTML5’s development will end soon, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

HTML5 is the successor of HTML 4.01, released for the first time in 1999. The internet has changed significantly since 1999 and it seemed like the creation of HTML5 was necessary. The new markup language was developed based on pre-set standards:

  • New features should be based on HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript.
  • The need for external plugins (like Flash) needs to be reduced.
  • Error handling should be easier than in previous versions.
  • Scripting has to be replaced by more markup.
  • HTML5 should be device-independent.
  • The development process should be visible to the public.


HTML5 is not yet an official standard, and no browsers have full HTML5 support.

But all major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer) continue to add new HTML5 features to their latest versions. 


  • New Elements
  • New Attributes
  • Full CSS3 Support
  • Video and Audio
  • 2D/3D Graphics
  • Local Storage
  • Local SQL Database
  • Web Applications

HTML5 was created to make the coding process easier and more logical. You will see a bit later that many syntaxes are now deprecated and soon to be kicked out through the back door. The unique and impressive features HTML5 comes with are in the multimedia department. Many of the features it comes with have been created with the consideration that users should be able to run heavy content on low-powered devices. The syntactic features include the new <video>, <audio>
<canvas> elements, but also integration of vector graphics content (what we knew before as being the <object> tags). This means that multimedia and graphic content on the web will be handled and executed easier and faster, without the need of plugins or APIs.There are a bunchload of new syntaxes added, but below I will name and describe the most important.

  • <article></article> – this tag defines an article, a user comment or a post, so an independent item of content
  •  <aside></aside> – the aside tag marks content aside from the page content, which for example could be a lateral sidebar
  •  <header></header>,  <footer></footer> – you won’t need to manually name IDs for headers and footers, as now you have a pre-defined tag for them
  • <nav></nav>  – the navigation can now be placed in the markup in between the nav tags, which will automatically make your lists act like navigation
  • <section></section> – this is another important new syntax, as it can define any kind of sections in your document. It works pretty much like a div which separates different sections.
  • <audio></audio><video></video> – these two obviously mark sound or video content, which will now be easier to run by devices.
  • <embed></embed> – this new tag defines a container for interactive content (plugin) or external application
  • <canvas></canvas> – the canvas tag is quite exciting, as it allows drawing graphics via scripting (mostly JavaScript, but some others can be employed as well)

The following tags from HTML 4.01 are now removed from HTML5, therefore browsers do not offer support for them anymore. This means that it is a good idea to go back to your HTML pages and check for them, as they might disrupt the design in the latest browsers.

  • <acronym></acronym>
  • <applet></applet>
  • <basefont />
  • <big></big>
  • <center></center>
  • <dir></dir>
  • <noframes></noframes>
  • <tt></tt>


What’s Next?

Know more about new elements in HTML5

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About the author

Sandeep Likhar

Sandeep Likhar from Indore India, Blogger, eBook Designer and Founder of LetsDnD. Having five years of experience in industry as a Digital Publishing Expert and eBook Converter providing services to Authors, Publishers and distributors worldwide. Proficient in converting books into various formats HTML, epub, mobi, word, PDF including all major online platforms iTunes, Kobo, Kindle, Createspace, B&N, Smashwords and more.

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