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Like HTML, HTML5 is a markup language that not only structures web content in a text-based way, but can also mark it semantically. HTML5 should replace the document standards XHTML, HTML4 in the long run and offer more functionality. Flash applications can be omitted if a website is programmed in HTML5.
HTML4 markup language has been used since 1997 as the standard for creating documents according to defined specifications. These specifications were not modified significantly until 2009, and since then, the World Wide Web has changed enormously. The internet is no longer about just passive consumption, but thanks to the further development to Web 2.0, the internet offers users the opportunity to actively create and publish content via social media. In order to keep pace with the rapid developments, the W3C consortium developed XHTML in 2009. However, this new markup language was not completely compatible with HTML, and harder to create.
In 2004, at the same time, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, or WHATWG for short, produced the first drafts of HTML5. Two years later, the World Wide Web Consortium also showed support for a more contemporary markup language such as HTML5. This development went against the XHTML favored by the W3C. However, in 2007, both organizations could agree on a common further development of HTML5, and since 2009 HTML5 is "officially" treated as successor of HTML4.
The goal was to establish HTML5 as a recommendation of the W3C.
By using HTML5, websites and apps should become more versatile and powerful. The following points outlines the aspects that distinguish HTML5:
- New possibilities for server communication
- Semantic tagging of content with structured data for the expansion of the semantic web
- Storage of data locally in the client, in order to be able to work with it also offline
- Stronger focus on multimedia content: Videos and sound files can be better integrated
- Optimization of display options with graphics in 2D and 3D
- The markup language is designed for cross-device use.
- Offers web designers more creative freedom
- Shorter loading times and more possibilities for optimizing speeds
New features compared to HTML4
Since the standard HTML4 has been converted to HTML5, all already known elements are also contained in the new markup language. Rather, new functions and elements have been added to the existing version. Here are three examples:
- When specifying the document type definition, it is no longer necessary to pay attention to upper and lower case. The references on the version also no longer apply.
- HTML5 offers new structural elements. With the help of section, nav, article, aside, header and footer, a website should be structured more clearly. At the same time, the naming also provides information about the content of the respective element.
- With the elements figure and figcaption, images or captions can be marked with HTLM5.
Benefits for SEO
The exact impact that the use of HTML5 will have on search engine optimization has not yet been determined. However, certain conclusions can be drawn from the current developments. HTML5 should improve usability, as it reduces the loading speed of the page, and the content can be displayed across all devices. This could eliminate problems with mobile optimization, for example.
For crawlers, the additional markup elements as well as the structuring elements offer even better possibilities to assign web content more precisely. By eliminating Flash, bots can completely crawl websites without major hurdles.