Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I attended the .WEB day of GIDS (The Great Indian Developer Summit) 2011 edition.

Among many talks, there were two focusing on HTML5. One by Scott Davis (of and Venkat Subramaniam (of .  Scott's talk was more on the conceptual and capability side of HTML 5.  Venkat focused more on the implementation and initiating newbies to HTML 5 coding.

Before these discussions, I would not have been able to say much on the capabilities of HTML5. It was more of a buzzword before, however, now its more of another technology holding lot of promise.   I think that should say a lot for the two speakers, that within two sessions, they have been able to lift the standard of know how around a cutting edge technology from buzzword to daily use.

Both these talks, put together were able to provide a rather complete picture. Enumerate the benefits, major improvements, new tags which are bringing in so much functionality to native HTML without need of any third party libraries, plugins etc.

Of course its cutting edge today, since not all browsers support all of the HTML 5 specification. The specification is huge in itself anyway.  As one of the speakers put it, the HTML 5 spec is a combination of HTML plus all of CSS 3 plus a lot of RIA functioanlities based on JavaScript libraries.  One can say that html5 is rather heavy from browser engine side, however, it intends to provide all the features across the browsers (eventually).   Since its a huge spec, not all browsers implement it  ** completely and ** uniformly.

There would be a time when all the browsers (at least the leading ones) would implement it completely (or almost all of it), but till then, the developers would have to live with polyfill (polimorphically backfill) the html5 functionality for non supporting browsers.   A javascript library at is a big help in implementing this transparently.

As Scott very aptly put it, "We'd program for the faster animal in the herd, and allow the rest of the slower ones to polyfill. As and when they catch up with the fastest one, need for polyfill will automatically go away".

From what I see in html5 spec (what ever part that I have come to know), it looks very very interesting and powerful.  Lots of current functionality that is implemented today with the help of third party libraries/plugins is going to be implemented natively.

And, let me not forget to mention the one single most important innovation that is coming through with html5, semantic web.  Its not really a set of tags or something similar, rather a concept.   There are tags available in spec, which actually indicate the semantics (meaning) of the content. For example, there is a tag called

. This tag wont do much on its own, but when someone is reading the code, or for that matter the parser program is going through the code, the tag name already says that its a footer.  The tag name actually means something.  This also paves way for future improvements on the implementation side.

Perhaps a separate post for html5 possibilities for mobile applications, a huge area in itself.


  3. -> this is a unique one, a complete book on html 5, which is available free of cost, completely online.  One of the finest resources for html5.
  5.  -> javascript library for polyfill

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