HTML5 Just Turned 18

November 5th, 2014 | By José Magalhães | 3 min read

HTML5 just turned 18, and today we are celebrating. But what is so special about HTML5? What can we expect from HTML5 in the future?

Shortly, HTML5 is one of the most future-proof technological advancements there is. In a world full of mobile devices and with the rise of AI, the capability of HTML5 to develop intuitive cross-platform user experiences within web applications and browsers makes it the present and the future.

HTML5 short story

It took six years after the first draft of HTML5 to finally get the standard specification complete and released, as confirmed by W3C. Six years of back and forth, bug squashing, and proliferation of features among all the major browser players. Once again, what’s so special about HTML5?

It’s the first cross-platform technology that runs in almost all conceivable devices, from laptops to wearables, cars, home appliances, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

There are few to no boundaries to where HTML5 can reach. If there’s a browser, you can run it, and even if there’s no browser, it’s possible to run it behind web views and other browser-like solutions.

HTML5's Contribution to web development

When it comes to web development, we all know the hell that has been since the beginning of the century, and we are not talking about the year 2000 bug. We are talking about numerous browsers to support, each with its own custom APIs to engage with and its own limitations and bugs.

Thanks to HTML5, we can find the same APIs across different browsers, giving us simple interfaces to engage with the device’s hardware and protocols to transmit data all over the web. All done with JavaScript, and it is urgent to understand JavaScript security risks and how to protect JavaScript code.

In spite of many attempts to replace JavaScript, one of the most loved and hated languages in the industry, with HTML5, we can say that JavaScript is the official HTML scripting language, and that won’t probably change in the years to come.

Moreover, JavaScript can even run on the server side with Node.js, and certainly, other engines are yet to come. It will be interesting to see some of these new APIs outside of the browser as well.

What to expect from using HTML5

  1. real-time communication through WebRTC and WebSockets;

  2. Persist data;

  3. Create threads through WebWorkers;

  4. Play complex 3D games thanks to WebGL;

  5. Check the device's network and battery status.

The possibilities are endless, like an 18-year-old. Besides these great new APIs, there are some new HTML tags that give semantic value to your content, making it possible for search engines to better crawl and classify it. Screen readers will also be able to give a far better experience to the visually impaired.

What to expect from HTML5

With the rise of full-fledged HTML5 applications, we can replace our old software, which required us to download a setup package and then install it on a single computer, probably leaving us the dirty work of installing it on other devices and syncing the information.

We’re also talking about the cloud because since the applications run on the browser, most certainly the data won’t be stored on your computer (though there are APIs for it), and you’ll be able to sync all your work across devices with no effort and no extra applications.

Without relying on dreams, we can foresee a future where there won’t be operative systems (per si). You will just boot directly into a browser, and everything will be there at the click of an URL. The downside is that you must be willing to trust your service providers with your privacy and sensitive information.

Time has proven that a lack of standards can be a pain, though it makes changes possible. If we were afraid of facing the standards, we would probably be stuck with HTML4 forever. It took a long road to get us where we are.

We can say that it only takes one step to have an application on multiple platforms, with a single code base. Now we can say that growing pains have finally paid off, and HTML5 adulthood seems promising.


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