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HTML is short for Hyper Text Markup Language and it’s the language developers use to construct web pages. HTML allows us to create structured documents by using many different tags that code and format all kinds of files, like text, sound and graphics.

HTML5 is the next major revision to the way HTML works and will have many new functions. These changes will not only benefit those that build web pages, but Internet users as well, creating a richer online experience.

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Some of the new attributes that HTML5 offers include:

Canvas element, which can render any kind of graphic or photo without the need for extra plugins.

Video element, which allows videos to be shared across platforms without the need for plugins like Quicktime.

Offline web applications, allows users to access documents, pages and applications even when they have no network connection.

There is a growing debate among the developer communities about whether the new features of HTML5 will deem Flash redundant. Adobe Flash allows developers to add animation, video and other kinds of interactive media to web pages. It’s often used for things like games and adverts that need good quality content and moving images.

Recently, there have been a few cases in which online companies have moved their loyalties from Flash over to HTML5. For example Scribd, a document sharing website spent years developing Flash but ditched the platform in favour of HTML5 back in 2010.

On O’Reilly Radar, Adobe’s Duane Nickull said there’s still a great deal of overlap between both Flash and HTML5 and both have their advantages. For instance, he said that it’s good HTML5 has a specified video tag, but yet it points a browser at a video source and expects it to work, whereas flash detects bandwith and processing capabilities. He’s bound to favour Flash over anything else, but did suggest that those building web pages need to decide which would work better for their specific needs, he added, “Adobe’s strategy is to ensure we deliver the tools that give developers choice. We love Flash and we love HTML and its peripheral technologies.”

You may certainly find developers want to adopt different technologies or overlap them depending on what their client is looking for.

However, it’s important to note that Apple devices are not ready-made to support Flash. Therefore, there may be more of a preference towards HTML5 when it comes to creating rich content that’ll work on iPads and iPhones. On the Apple website, Steve Jobs explains that HTML5 is preferred because it’s much more open than the likes of Flash.

You need to be aware of these changes and how they will impact on the way you use the Internet to display, store and promote content in the future. There’s certainly a lot of debate, but it does seem like more products and developers are favouring the use of HTML5 over any of its competitors. Although some developers may prefer the Flash platform for certain tasks and web builds, it’s important you deliver the best online experience as possible.

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