While HTML4 and CSS2 are solid technologies and will remain the front runner until a broader adaptation of HTML5 and CSS3 compliant web browsers take place, HTML5 and CSS3 should still be a main focus in web development and design. First let’s take a look at what HTML5 is and what browsers currently support it.

HTML5 is a markup language for creating web content to be served to end user web browsers. It is the successor to HTML4, which is the current web standard.  Its major benefit is its improved support for multimedia and styling while keeping it easy to create and modify by web developers, as well as being cross compliant to web browsers without the need for patches.

In particular, HTML5 adds many new simple tags that can be used to create clean and multimedia rich content. Some of these include: <video><audio>, <canvas>, and <blockquote>. HTML5 also adds the ability to integrate SVG content (for 3D and animated elements). This allows web developers to easily include multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to use complex JavaScript libraries and APIs. Another vary appealing feature of the new technology is a CSS3 feature called “@fontface”, which allows any font that is referenced on the web server to be used in your html document without the need for the client to have the font installed natively.


Here are a list of the browsers that support HTML5 features and also figures on their usage based on older browser technology:

Browser Compatibility charts for CSS3 and HTML5

Browser Usage Statistics

Now you might be thinking to yourself that it would be pointless to invest time and resources into a technology that a good majority won’t be able to fully utilize. I’ll explain why I feel you should start using HTML5 and what benefits you can except to see from it.

As stated above, HTML5 strives to eliminate the over-use of JavaScript and “band-aid” technology and simplifies creating dynamic and data driven web sites and web applications. It sets the cross browser standard for things like server communication (see WebSockets), embedded video and multimedia, file access, offline database storage, and most importantly greatly improved performance. All of these things can be accomplished using simple HTML markup. Yes, HTML5 is a great new and easy to use technology but the downside is that with the lack of user adaptation to new compliant web browsers, you will have to also create content that is HTML4 and CSS2 compliant. This might seem like double the work and not justifiable, but I foresee a rapid growth in the number of users for compliant web browsers, and as that number grows, your website will be ready to provide clean, standard, and appealing web content that is faster and more anesthetically pleasing, all with less effort in updating and maintaining.

Here are some resources you can use to get information on how to use HTML5 and CSS3, and how you can create content that is also compatible with older web browsers:

Dive into HTML5

HTML5 and CSS3: The Technology You’ll Soon Be Using

W3C HTML5 Reference

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