Learning HTML5

October 15th, 2010

Since my job switch I have had a bit more time to actually sit and start learning about HTML5. I had heard about some of the big changes that make the news, but I haven’t had the chance until now to sit down and see what is really changing. I like what I have learned so far.

To start out I have been reading through Dive into HTML5. It’s been a pretty good run down of not only the changes, but some web history as well.

I am of the generation of web coders that learned to code in XHTML rather than regular HTML. One of my concerns going into this was that I might have to relearn what I know. Luckily that is not the case. It looks like HTML5 is an expansion and betterment of coding standards rather than a redo. I can keep on coding with my XHTML habits and it will still be valid HTML5 code. Like anything in coding, there are a few changes that I will have to learn, but I don’t have to relearn all the habits I have developed so far, which is a relief. On top of that, it simplifies some of the more obscure parts of coding a page, like the doctype. I’m all for anything that makes it more straightforward and logical.

Admittedly I have not gotten too far in this process yet, but I like what I am seeing so far. I think the thing I like the most semantics wise is the addition of the header, nav, and footer elements among others. This is much nicer than having to assign names to everything, it’s just built right in. This change makes the whole document more intuitive and logical. It makes me happy.

Since I’m still just a baby coder there’s plenty that I haven’t done yet and have left to learn anyway, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I haven’t done much work with Flash, but based on what little I have done and more importantly, what I’ve heard, I’m looking forward to learning more about the new multimedia features that are supported by HTML5. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but hopefully soon.

The most annoying thing right now (and a big reason why I haven’t actively made time to learn this) is compatibility with older browsers. Luckily there are plenty of smart people out there who have developed solutions for this, but it can be frustrating coding the same thing in different ways just to make sure older browsers will render it. No surprise, Internet Explorer is the worst of these.

Supposedly IE9 will be much better and support most HTML5 features. I downloaded the beta just the other day, but haven’t had much time to play around with it. If it’s anything like Windows 7 then maybe there is some hope. What I have heard so far has been good.

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