Trends in web design and development are leaning towards the separation of style and content, for anyone embroiled in the industry this isn’t a surprise or breaking news – but it has basically become the holy grail of development – for better or worse. Through carefully crafted HTML and CSS designs and developers are able to get a clean, organized structure to the page. The problem with HTML 4 and CSS is that the rules for creating this Utopian melding of code and beauty is that they are as varied as the developers who employ them. HTML 5 works toward changing that.
Semantics is reaching the web at a slow, steady pace with the HTML 5 specs leading the way. Before you get to excited though keep in mind that HTML 5 is a long way from being completed, like half a decade long. With the implementation of new tags that take into consideration standard design elements such as <header>, <nav>, <article> and <footer> (just to name off a few) no longer will we be constrained to adding a div with an ID or Class to specify what these are. This means less code and lighter pages. The best way to illustrate this is to simply use what Lachlan Hunt has written on A List Apart.
If you tried this now, it would work (most likely in all browsers), but you would get validation errors and maybe some layout anomalies in some browsers – never mind that it’s the most logical way of going about it. For a more complete listing of the differences between HTML 4 and HTML 5, check out the W3C, as well as listing of the elements thus far.
That’s not to say that HTML 5 isn’t without its problems and turmoil, just recently under pressure from Apple and Nokia, the working group removed Ogg Vorbis and Theora from the specification. I can’t say that this is a huge surprise that these two companies would want to nix some open formats, but it is a shame that the W3C and the working group defining the specs would cave so easily. Being jack-booted thugs isn’t working out so well for the RIAA trying to decimate music sharing, and most likely it will blow up in the face of these two giants as well.
I’m looking forward to having the new spec to work with and having more options available for developing. The new specification looks very promising and the media tags are a long needed addition. And if you can’t wait that long and just have to jump into the thicket, both Opera and Webkit have experimental builds with some support.