Way back in the day—a couple years ago—the internet had very many languages in which to program websites. Before that, it wasn’t even called ‘programming’ a website—you had to ‘design’ it. But that it’s called programming now sheds light on something very important and very real: the internet is now a program.
That’s thanks, largely, to the newest version of HTML, version 5. What HTML5 brings to the table is its ability to embed so many types of media—video, sound, even things like games—natively. That means you don’t need to inject some other kind of coding into it which can really bog down a computer and requires the computer to have that language (ever seen a “you need to update your flash” message?). Check out what this guy says about HTML5, starting at about 7:45.
McNamee’s story about his band’s streaming website is a great example
of what you can do with HTML5 (starts at 12:05).
The last version of HTML came out in ’99. Read that: almost 12 years ago. Since then, so many things have changed so fast you could compare it to insisting on speaking in Latin, when the world has changed so much since Latin was a widely-used language.
What you need to know about HTML5:
- HTML5 is new. It’s still not the official standard for the internet, but every major browser is taking steps to make it that way. In other words, it’s going to be the internet ecosystem you’ll live in soon.
- HTML5 is easy to learn. W3Schools, a really great internet tutorial site, has a complete tutorial for HTML5. What’s more, major web-developing applications like Dreamweaver added HTML5 support a long time ago.
- HTML5 lets you integrate, which is the future of the internet. Like McNamees says in his TED talk, websites are all starting to smash together. You see “like this on Facebook” buttons almost everywhere, and it’s pretty common to see Youtube videos embedded into other websites (see one on this page?)—back in the day, you had to just use a regular link.
- HTML5 separates form and function. A lot of people still use tags like
<font>to make websites look pretty. But HTML stands for hypertext markup language. Its function was originally simply to tag website content. This piece is the navigation menu, that piece is a link, and so forth. HTML was supposed to be pure function. Now, it finally is again: that’s why HTML5 is web programming. All the form stuff is pretty much done in something called CSS, the “form” end of things (web designing).
There’s a lot that can be said about HTML5. But what it boils down to is that if you’ve ever wanted to get into making websites, you’re almost definitely going to be using HTML5.
Web development, design and programming are where a lot of websites—and even software services—are going. Where the standard for word processing used to be something like Microsoft Word, you now have an online version like Google Docs. HTML5 is a must-know for anyone who wants to do CS.
And CS is for everyone: whether you want to be in a band, write books or poetry, display your artwork, make robots, be a dancer, or be an athlete, people would love to see what you do online. Sometimes watching live Tweets of a marathon is cool! (and whether you do any of these for fun or for work doesn’t matter, either: CS is something you ought to know.)
- An interesting web resource called “What is HTML5?” There’s a slightly funnier title on the actual page.
- The HTML5 logo produced awesomely in HTML5. Also see the W3C page on the logo.
- HTML5 Rocks—a cool website to help you get started with HTML5, with tutorials, sandbox coding and presentations.
- HTML5 Boilerplate provides a “rock-solid default for HTML5 awesome.” It’s a blank template for making your own HTML5 website, which can make things easier and is a good way to learn how to code yourself.