2011 Trends in Computing : HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript = HTML+

One of the big trends, and one that will clearly dominate going forward, is the tag team match up of HTML5 and CSS3 + JavaScript.

  • HTML, HyperText Markup Language, is the means for describing the content and structure of a document. HTML5 is the replacement for HTML4 came from the W3C in 1999. HTML5 includes features like new structures, support for video and audio, local storage, SVG, canvas, Geolocation and Web Sockets
  • CSS, Cascading Style Sheets, is the means for describe the look and formatting of a document. CSS level 3 has been under development since December 15, 2005. It includes features for border effect, transformations, gradients, backgrounds, animations, transitions, media queries, web fonts and multi-column layouts.
  • JavaScript is an implementation the ECMAScript language. As such it is used to describe the behavior of a document. Current usage takes advantage of it being a prototype-based object-oriented scripting language that is dynamic weakly typed and has first-class functions.

So what’s new that makes this a new and still emerging trend? A combination of :

  • New mobile devices (Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad, Android phones & Tablets; plus RIM, WebOs and others) makes it a desirable way to support them all.
  • New Browsers (FireFox, Safari, Opera, Chrome and IE) which makes it practical to deploy.
  • Maturity in the Technologies which allow for archiving results not previously possible.

This is not your Father’s Web! Heck, this isn’t your Teenage Cousins Web. This is Web on steroids, hopefully with the roid rage. Neither is it like the previous generation of rich Internet applications (RIA’s). Web++?

Why are those trends making HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript more important?

Mobile devices are the big growth area for computers, whether as a persons primary device or in addition to a Laptop or Desktop. Called them Handtop? or just mobile. But developing sites and applications on 2 or more platforms is way too hard, and usually not necessary. Adobe Flash is not available on iOS devices, is a huge battery and processor drain, plus being deeply user unfriendly. Also doing a end run around App stores lets not worry about unclear policies, and you get to do either Zero Deploy Web apps or Progressive Rolls-outs of your app.

All the current modern Browsers (FireFox, Safari, Opera, Chrome) and the Internet Explorer 9 beta are supporting these (or most of) HTML5 and CSS3 and have vastly improved the functionality and performance of JavaScript in the client. And their are some clever tricks to get around obsolete but not yet dead platforms from holding you back, like Google Chrome Frame and HTML5 Shiv

The Maturity in HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript technologies is evident in the toolkits and frameworks which make development easier and sometimes almost magical. I’m a big fan and user of jQuery, a cross-browser JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML, plus there are many toolkits to help you enhance the new HTML5 + CSS3 features to the point where they can replace replace Flash and Thick Clients.

The finally thing that makes this a trend is that your going to be hear a lot of this in the more technology press.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) unveiled a new logo for HTML5, labeling it as “an all-purpose banner for HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and other technologies that constitute an open web platform”, and that’s going to be the successor phrase to the much hyped “DHTML”, “Web 2.0″ or “Ajax” phrases. Although it is not with out its controversy the new logo and the brand will be useful in moving forward with full support for open standards in Browsers and adoption by Web Sites and Applications.

Apart from learning HTML5+ :), what next: better browsers, more devices, more open web, and improved support for all aspects of the HTML5+ technologies! How about wrapper app for iOs and Android apps when you don’t mind going through the app store (or standard Mobile Safari/Chrome hooks to the hardware)?

Update (the next day) : I continued to read and think about the HTML5 “controversy” like what Jeremy Keith, Bruce Lawson and CSSquirrel, WASP have to say, and in particular light of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) announcement. I think I agree with Jeff Croft on his view ins On the term “HTML5” (written back in August), which boiled down to “sometimes we just need a word to rally behind.”.

I do have a (very humble) suggestion for W3C and WHATWG to adopt the term “HTML+” meaning HTML plus a collection of open web standards. (or even HTML5+ = HTML + CSS3 + SVG + WOFF + JS )

More : from the Moble JavaScript folks at Sencha comes Our Top Ten HTML5 Wishes for 2011 which includes :

  • Sustained effort to move more -webkit effects into CSS3
  • CSS3: A Richer Effects Toolbox
  • High Performance position:fixed for mobile
  • GPU Acceleration
  • Deeper Device Access
  • Better debugging tools for mobile browsers
  • Web sockets stabilization
  • IE9 With Complete CSS3 Support
  • A HTML5 codec armistice
  • A Reboot for WebSQL standardization

April 2011 Update : Tech Evangelist Joey deVilla has Dzinepress’ Ultimate Collection of HTML5 Tutorials and Useful Links grouped them into easy to eat bites: Introductory Stuff; Site Design; Forms; Drag and Drop; Canvas; Video; Storage; Mobile

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