HTML4 and XHTML1 have served us well for years. But like anything man-made, these technologies also have their weaknesses. However, it is now hoped that HTML5 will resolve many of these.

Some of us may still remember the flashy, colorful sites of the good old nineties. Incredibly, some of these sites have survived, with their frames (which infuriate all users and programmers) and their inability to adapt to different screen sizes. Flash intros were the next big thing – for a long time, ‘Skip Intro’ was the most clicked term on the web. But these are also a dying breed, especially since Apple decided its iOS would limit Flash technology or not support it at all. Right, so we know these issues can now be resolved easily with HTML5. But there are a few more things to consider.

Responsiveness: a major concern
From a 27-inch monitor in the office to a little smartphone screen – to display sites attractively on all possible devices, new specifications are essential. Developers have been working toward this for years and, in the form of HTML5, look to have found a long-term solution. It will allow more people to access web content from any device.

Two versions were in the race to succeed the old version of HTML: XHTML2.0 and X/HTML5. The problem with XHTML2 is that it was defined according to how developers envisioned markup language should be – not in line with how markup languages are now used in reality. This means that the programming in XHTML2 must be absolutely clean – meticulous attention to detail is key. In contrast, HTML5 is just a small step forward – but an efficient one. In principle, it sways within the borders of HTML4 and XHTML1 but provides good solutions to the various problems of markup languages. It is heavily based on current web browser technologies without deviating from how markup languages were used until now. This brings several advantages: more precise semantics, new ways to communicate with the server (connectivity), the ability to store data locally on the client side, better efficiency when working offline, easier integration of multimedia content, and new and creative graphics and effects, which opens up new ways to create more sophisticated designs.

HTML5 - the benefits

What’s new in HTML5?
What remains is the separation of the site description in three areas: HTML5 is responsible for the markup (i.e. the content page), CSS is responsible for layout and presentation, and JavaScript controls the behavior of the page and its elements. This structure hasn’t been changed. CSS3 can easily adapt the appearance of websites to desktop applications and it relieves JavaScript of design tasks that it often had to perform in addition. HTML5 brings important innovations and extensions to HTML: new form elements, drag and drop, offline storage, geolocation and local storage, better cooperation with CSS3 and JavaScript. Above all, HTML5 is compatible with older standards such as HTML3, HTML4 and XHTML, which were used to program websites, but it can also create true web apps, i.e. online applications that are very similar to desktop programs, as well as eBooks, which are also based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Advantages of HTML5
HTML5 offers many advantages: new possibilities for designs and effects, new tags for easier navigation of screen readers, 13 new input fields for forms, integration of mathematical formulas, access via JavaScript with new and self-defined attributes, and local/session storage instead of good old cookies to give HTML pages a memory without relying on server-side applications. Rather than still using tables to implement layouts (this should have been avoided in the first place but was done anyway…), CSS styling is becoming more important. One commentator made a good point online: fortunately, HTML5 doesn’t require too much additional knowledge to create a clean page design. The extra time should therefore be used to learn more about CSS.

More information about HTML5 can be found at or

HTML5: the benefits.

Sandro Bertschinger

He didn't find computers very interesting for quite some time. An Amiga 500 as a games machine was the high point at that time. Computers began to move into his focus with the advent of the internet and the possibility of building cool websites. In 2001, he crossed paths with an internet company by coincidence.