HTML5
Jun 10, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

What is HTML5 and how will it effect online learning? The iPad is really pushing it, though it's been in the pipeline for quite a while. YouTube already supports it (you can try their HTML5 player in your browser).

But what is it? It's a specification that adds new functionality, interaction, and multimedia to web pages. Here's a video overview. This info-graphic might give you a good overview. Another site defines various HTML5 flavours. Here's a list of the new HTML5 tags (and a more detailed reference). For the geeky, Mark Pilgrim has an HTML5 content detector, which he explains will help developers tell which HTML5 features the user's browser supports. There's also an all-in-one library that will do this. What can I use is a site giving detailed listings of which features work in which browsers.

If you want to try HTML5 for yourself there are various demos and showcases, but choose carefully. As Webmonkey notes, Apple's version of an HTML5 showcase detects any browser that isn't Safari and simply says it doesn't work. The other browsers will support the features just fine; Apple just fakes it to make it look like they don't. There's a Mocrosoft demo HTML5 suite which is very good and will allow you to (accurately) test any browser, though some of the examples are tweaked a bit for Internet Explorer. There's also a Mozilla (Firefox) demo area, but this works mostly with experimental versions of the browser (there are some nice videos, though).

There's a whole separate discussion taking place around video in HTML5. The W3C hasn't recommended a stanmdard because it wants a patent-free and royalty-free video standard. Companies couldn't agree. Some developers home that VP8 could be that standard. Google acquired a video company, On2, and Mozilla and Google are backing the WebM project to back VP8. I've been following Tim Bray's experiments with HTML5 video (and here's his HTML5 intro), which has a lot of code and valuable tips.

Electric Chalk looks at the impact of HTML5 on education. If you want to integrate HTML5 but don't want to spend the summer studying specifications, here are five tools to help you do this. Anyhow, all this is what I've collected on HTML5 recently; there's a lot more, but this should give you the flavour. Total: 2585
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