Web publishers and affiliate site developers who plan on incorporating more multimedia features to their websites should be getting themselves acquainted with HTML 5. This new markup language is designed to provide better multimedia support for today’s graphic and video heavy sites.

Not everyone is using HTML5 yet and, in fact, many browsers don’t fully support it yet. That said, it’s almost certain to see widespread adoption, especially on smart phone and tablet browsers. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2013, HTML 5 will be operating in over a billion smart phones.

Why HTML 5?

HTML 5 was originally designed to help combat the need for proprietary plug-ins and APIs needed for graphical content. It’s hoped that, within a few years, web users won’t have to download applications like Flash and others when visiting sites with multimedia content.

One of the language’s biggest supporters was, not surprisingly, one of Flash’s most vocal critics, the late Steve Jobs. Though he’s been dead for almost a year, he can rest easy knowing that Adobe, the company behind Flash, has officially endorsed HTML5 as the defacto standard for web media.

Even with these high level supporters, it’s still a bit soon to be writing off Flash. It’s still the power behind every video on YouTube and until YouTube’s owners, a company called Google, decide otherwise it’s likely to stick around.

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HTML 5 Features

So what does HTML 5 have to offer besides better video support? Here are some of the top features you’ll run into:

  • Location Sharing – HTML 5 features an API that makes location sharing a lot easier. This makes sense for a language that’s aimed at smart phones and other GPS enabled devices.
  • Offline Support – Applications developed in this language are going to be a lot easier to use when the device is offline thanks to better database support.
  • Canvas – Creating a space within a page for animation and video will be a lot easier thanks to the Canvas feature.
  • Video and Audio Tags – Obviously multimedia is the driving force behind HTML 5 so it’s not too surprising to find that <video> and <audio> tags were included.

HTML 5 Limitations

Like anything, HTML 5 does have some limitations that might give developers pause before proceeding.

  • Browser Support – Not every browser supports it yet and getting end users to update isn’t always easy.
  • Data Storage – That same data storage that we talked about earlier is also pretty limited and can offline app can present some real synch-up challenges.
  • Video Support – Multimedia is called multi for a reason. There are so many video formats out there that supporting all of them is going to be impossible.

Finally

Given the trend towards mobile apps, the move towards HTML 5 seems inevitable and the sooner you familiarize yourself with it, the better off you’ll be.

Are you using HTML 5? Tell about your experiences on our Website Design and Development Forum.


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