Wrap Your Head(er) Around HTML 5
If you have landed here, it's likely you are trying to get a bead on the next best thing since tabbed browsing. You also, like me, may have looked for explanations around the web and come up frustrated. One of the best ways I learn about new specifications and software is by seeing them in action. If I can see it built from the ground up and what it's supposed to do, I get a better handle on the concepts at hand.
Note: If you would like to see some examples of HTML 5/CSS 3, try this site.
This tutorial at net tuts+ lays out in very clear terms what is new in HTML 5 while showing some styling tricks to
get CSS 3 to work some magic in select browsers. From the doctype declaration to rounded corners (a long-time struggle for designers) to
making striped lists & required fields in forms – it's all so much easier. For the average user, everything can look a lot prettier and
function more cleanly, not to mention the interactive capabilities.
But, I must say that all is not shiny and happy in code-land. I won't candy-coat it. Your browser is just not ready for it. Even though Apple can boast one of the most compliant browser engines, Safari, too, is
not fully compliant yet. And if you are a PC user being stubborn, Internet Explorer may never fully support the new standards (IE doesn't
even support older CSS standards). Nor can Firefox fully implement the new functionality. Sorry Mozilla, you lead the exodus from IE for me but
you just haven't kept up.
Here is a browser break-down with a link at the top of the article to test your favorite browser. As you can see from the table on Rakaz, Chrome & Safari are neck-and-neck. That's because the 2 programs are using the same engine to make them work and their developers are trying to stay relevant.
Since I knew what the example site from the aforementioned net tuts+ tutorial was supposed to do & look like, I tested it in various browsers. Lo & behold, it is almost entirely broken in IE and half-broken in FF 3.6. Chrome & Safari - both, by the way, available for Windows, with Chrome & Konqueror on Linux, my dear PC users – showed the rounded corners, image drop-shadow, etc. like champs.
My take-away from this search for the great web hope: HTML 5 is fancy and friendly to code, but not very useful at the moment. Safari, Opera and Chrome barely break 15% of worldwide usage. Web designers can wish that everyone becomes an early adopter or that the browsers that lag will catch-up, but wishes & horses, as the saying goes.
HTML 5 will not carry us out of the Age of Flash. CSS3 can't shave all of our corners yet. That is, unless you start experimenting with Chrome or Safari. You might like it. It's pretty easy to- nah you
say? You can't blame a coder for trying.