HTML5 Rundown: When To Use It

HTML is the fabric of the internet. For web designers and developers, being able to write it as well as keeping on top of it is a much needed skill. As such, I thought it’d be topical to talk about the changes to the language have occured and will occur in the next few years. The main reason for discussing it now is  that support is just now becoming more widespread throughout the browser marketplace and thus usable by increasing numbers of users. Having said that, with the spec set to become a W3C recommendation in around 2022 and the prevalence of IE6, it’s sure to be a long wait until you cam be certain that all your visitors will be able to interact with all the new elements in the intended way. With that over with, I just wanted to suggest some circumstances on which it makes sense to look forward and build sites using the next generation of  markup. So, let’s go ahead and dive in head first!

You’re just learning

If you, like me, consider yourself a budding web developer and want to make it a future career it’s well worth keeping both eyes on the changes in technology so that it will be easier to adapt later down the line. If you start off learning standards compliant, forward-thinking markup, it will be far easier to move with the times without slipping into habits of bad coding.  You should apply this thinking to other technologies such as CSS3 and Javascript libraries. One counterpoint that’s also equally crucial is that, if you will be creating websites for public consumption anytime soon, you must always have cross-browser support and usability in mind over perfect markup.

It’s right for your audience

A website owner ought to always be looking at who’s viewing the website and consider the constraints that they are working under. For example, if your statistics tell you that 90% of visitors to your site are using Internet Explorer then it’s probably not the brightest move to change all your code to HTML5 because you will alienate those people on what will most likely be on a permanent level. In general, you need to analysis your users and use the data gained to decide whether the change you wish to make will work for your market.

As we’ve  seen, there are no strong rules about when is a good time to alter your code but you just have to think about what’s really the right choice for your market.