The HTML5, the next version of the language used to create web pages, has drawn attention for its ability to display video within a web browser without plug-ins like Adobe Flash. However, ultimately a series of lesser-known features may have a far greater impact on how users experience the Internet.
Experts say that HTML5 does behind the scenes-such as network communications and storage features of browser-can make pages load faster (especially on mobile devices slow), make web applications work much better, and even allow browsers to read older websites more easily.
Bruce Lawson, who preaches about open Web standards Opera Software says that for Web sites running Internet functions for which it was originally designed, developers must perform complex coding tasks easily, can end up making mistakes and introducing applications to fail.
The group working on HTML5, says Lawson, was assigned the difficult task of making the specification was more tolerant than their predecessors, so that the oldest web sites or miscoded work better in browsers authorized to implement HTML5. They also wanted to extend the specifications and to support modern trends, such as rich internet applications. "The foundation of HTML5 is relentlessly pragmatic," he says. "It is designed to reflect what people are really doing."
Experts point out a feature called Web Sockets as an example of the improvements that the HTML5 can provide. Sockets provides a Web site an application programming interface (API) that opens a permanent connection between a page and a server, so that information can pass between them in real time. Normally, the browser must make a request each time you want an update.
The effect is like going from having a conversation via email to switch to using instant messages, said Ben Galbraith, who co-founded the web development site Ajaxian.com, and is the director of relations with Palm developers. With email, each message is sent as a single event, while instant messaging allows conversation flowing and is establishing permanent connection.
In the past, Web developers have managed to develop different ways to keep browsers and servers in constant communication, although Galbraith describes the techniques as "clever hacks" that are complicated to implement and do not scale well. Web Sockets, he says, promises an easy way for developers to create web pages that change in real time, something increasingly important with the proliferation of more data sources in real time, such as instant status updates from users social networks. Users would benefit from web applications with real-time feeds and a run smoother and with fewer errors.
The HTML5 could also help make web applications work better when the devices are disconnected from the Internet or intermittently connected, as is usual with smart phones, said Alon Salant, co-owner of Carbon Five, a company based in San Francisco that specializes in creating web applications. A feature called Web Storage allows applications to store more data in web browser, recover smarter, and control how browsers have certain parts of pages to speed loading.
Galbraith is also excited about several features of the new version of CSS, designed to work with HTML5. These features make Web pages more responsive to user input and allow high-quality graphics-areas in which web pages are usually not good. The HTML5 allows developers to integrate animation window on a page, but Galbraith said that the new CSS functionality would have a better performance.
Chris Blizzard, Mozilla evangelism director, points out the importance of the parser of HTML5. The parser reads a browser trademarks used to build a page and look for ways to show it on screen. Blizzard says this is one of the most important parts of the specification. His intention is to make the browser more interoperable, particularly in the way they handle poorly written code. Instead of letting each browser maker decides how to handle imperfect code, the parser specifies what should be the responses to the errors. This should give users a more consistent experience, regardless of the browser you are using, he says.
While the HTML5 seems to present a long list of big changes, says Lawson, the main objective is to provide a simpler way of doing so developers are already doing today, making it less likely to make mistakes. Lawson said: "The greater simplicity, greater robustness and therefore the greater the end-user experience-that's how I see it."