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Aug 5, 2011

5 reasons why HTML5 will be huge

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Technology is an ever-changing alphabet soup of acronyms and hype, and here at Firstpost, we’ll help you sort the buzz you need to know from the buzz you can ignore.
An update to the mark-up language for web pages, HTML, doesn’t usually elicit much excitement, but then again, it’s been a while since the last major changes to HTML, HTML4 was standardised back in 1997. The fifth generation of the code that creates the Web is a leap forward, and it’s poised to jump-start the next wave of Web innovation online, offline and on the move.
Here are five reasons why you need to watch HTML5.

1. Offline storage: 
 HTML5 brings a host of desktop like power to web applications, and one of the features that media organisations such as the Financial Times are already using is HTML5’s offline storage capabilities. That means that you can cache content or use a web app to use when you’re not connected to the Internet. An e-commerce HTML5 application could allow people to add items to buy later and then finish the purchase when they are back online.
Geolocation is one of the features being brought to the next generation Web. Marjan Krebelj/Flickr

2. Location:
 This isn’t part of HTML5, but geolocation is one of the features being brought to the next generation Web. If you use Safari, Chrome of Firefox 4 and newer, then you might have already seen a pop-up asking if you want to allow a website to access your location. That means, it’s not just your mobile phone that knows where it’s at anymore. Modern Web browsers can also access location on desktop computers or other non-mobile devices based on location information connected to WiFi hotspots. Businesses could deliver deals to you based on your location. You could get weather and traffic information based on where you are at without having to enter your location. Privacy-sensitive features are also being built into the specification to help keep your information and you safe.

3. Advanced graphics:
 Canvas is a new Javascript graphics library that brings a lot a host of animation effects that previously were only available via Adobe’s Flash. If you’d like to get a sense of the power of these applications, you can already play simple games all based in the browser. If you want to see the power of these graphics elements and other features of HTML5, check out this presentation all created using the new mark-up language. It’s like PowerPoint with nothing more than a web browser.

4. Multimedia:  
Good bye plug-ins. We all remember the bad old days when to play audio or video on the web, you often ran into a message saying that you needed this plug-in or that plug-in. It got better when Adobe’s Flash became the dominant way to play multimedia on the web, but now, HTML5 can easily allow audio and video playback without any plug-ins at all.

5. WORA – Write once. Run anywhere:
The first generation of the Web was strictly about desktop computers, and the mobile web was a horrible experience. Until smartphones raised the bar for the mobile Web, there were literally hundreds of different mobile browsers. It made it extremely difficult to develop sites for mobile. With the rise of tablets and smart TVs, the Web is ready to conquer new devices. In the past, new devices meant new browsers, which meant a real headache for developers. With HTML5, browsers are much more standardised from the mobile Safari browser in the iPhone to the browser in Android handsets. Hitachi, Samsung and LG all use HTML5 browsers based on the Webkit technology that is the basis of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome.
There were only 109m devices in 2010 that were HTML5 capable, but that is expected to jump to 2.1bn mobile devices by 2016, according to research by ABI Research. This is a huge opportunity, and while HTML5 won’t be finalised until 2014, that’s not stopping forward-looking companies

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