HTML and HTML5: What are the differences? HTML5's strengths

Historically, the markup language was inspired by the process of manuscript marking-up through printer instructions, taken from handwritten markups. HTML is the most famous markup language used. In the last few years, an update to this language, HTML5 was published. In this article, Hachinet will explain the difference between HTML and HTML5.

HTML and HTML5: What are the differences? HTML5's strengths


HTML and HTML5: What are the differences? HTML5's strengths

Those who are new to the world of web design may often hear the word "Markup" and wonder what it means, and how it differs from the word "code". In the past, markup languages were designed to process, define, and display text; it's a way of displaying text with style to make it easy to read on a computer.

Historically, the markup language was inspired by the process of manuscript marking-up through printer instructions, taken from handwritten markups. HTML is the most famous markup language used. In the last few years, an update to this language, HTML5 was published. In this article, Hachinet will explain the difference between HTML and HTML5.


1. What is HTML?

HTML or Hyper-Text Markup Language can be understood as Worldwide Web's official language. Most of the web pages hosted on the Internet are written with several versions of HTML. 

Through HTML, programmers can make sure how multimedia, text, and hyperlinks display in web browsers. From the elements that connect your text (hypertext) to making these documents interactive (eg forms); these are all the HTML elements.

The HTML standard was developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) in 1997. In HTML, tags are used to define the structure of the text. Tags and elements are defined with the < and > characters. There are few previous examples that mentioned tags are headings, tables, and paragraphs, etc.

The browser is responsible for rendering a web page through these tags. Then, HTML has been the only standard for web development. In the early days, all the content and style tags were packed into one big, complex language.

Over time, the W3C decided to separate the content and style of a web page because it thought it was necessary. This leads to the beginning of style sheets. Nowadays, tags used to define the style of a document (e.g. FONT) are obsolete because people prefer style sheets and only the content definition tag (e.g. H1) survives as a core element of HTML.

HTML has been updated a lot over time, and currently, the latest HTML standard is HTML5. HTML5 still is the primary markup language, but it offers more features than HTML and has removed some of the rigor commonly found in XHTML.

Every day, new features are added to HTML5, but no new version is implemented yet. The basic difference between HTML and HTML5 can be comprehended that regardless of image or sound is not the main element of HTML whereas both can be seen as a complement of HTML5.


2. The difference between HTML and HTML5

One thing for sure that no language can exist without a new version. HTML is no exception. HTML5 was released to improve the World Wide Web user experience.

The biggest advantage of HTML5 that sets it apart from other unnamed versions is that it has high-version audio and video support, which was not a major feature of previous versions of HTML. Here are some differences between HTML and HTML5.

  • SVG, canvas, and vector shapes are all supported by HTML5, while in HTML, you can only use vector graphics in another technology such as Flash, VML, and silver light.
  • HTML5 uses web SQL databases, app cache to store temporary data, while HTML only can only use browser cache.
  • HTML doesn't allow JavaScript to run in the web browser (instead it runs in the browser's interface thread), whereas HTML5 fully supports JavaScript to run in the background (thanks to JS Web worker API of HTML5).
  • HTML5 is not based on SGML, allowing it to increase parsing rules, and can be more strongly compatible.
  • In HTML5, inline MathML and SVG can be used in the text, where not supported in HTML.
  • Some obsolete elements that have been completely removed are isindex, noframes, acronym, applet, basefont, dir, font, frame, frameset, big, center, strike, tt.
  • HTML5 supports many types of form controls, e.g. datetime, email, number, range, phone number, URL, search, etc.
  • There are many elements introduced in HTML. Some of them are the most important, summary, time, aside, audio, command, data, datalist, details, embed, wbr, figcaption, figure, footer, header, article, hgroup, bdi, canvas, keygen, mark, meter, nav, output, progress, rp, rt, ruby, section, source, track, video.


3. HTML5's strengths for programmers

HTML5 can help developers have more flexibility in designing websites. Here are several powerful improvements worth mentioning.

3.1. Persistent error handling

Most browsers support parsing for incorrect HTML code structures, but many years ago there was no standard to handle this. This means that when a developer encounters a new browser, they have to manually test the HTML across browsers to make sure errors can be handled by many different architectures. So the uniformity of HTML5's error handling is a huge difference and advantage in this regard.

The optimization in the parsing algorithm used on HTML5 is an uncountable advantage. Statistics show that nearly 90% of websites may have coding errors so handling such errors is very important. Furthermore, error management also saves developers time and money.

3.2. Improved semantics for elements

To improve code errors, and enhance code insinuation, some improvements have been made to the semantic role of some existing elements. Section, article, nav and header are the new elements that have replaced most of the old div elements. This also helps a lot with error scanning, as it is much less complicated.

3.3. Increase web application compatibility

One of the main purposes of HTML5 is to allow the browser to act as an app platform. Websites in the past were less complex, but over time, the requirements have also increased. HTML5 allows developers to increase the control of website performance.

Previously, developers had to use many different methods because of server-side technology limitations and browser extensions were not available. Now, with HTML5, there is no need to use JS or Flash to run (as it used to be with HTML4) because the elements present in HTML5 are already able to execute all the functionality.

3.4. Easier to build mobile websites

Nowadays, creating a mobile version of a website can be a headache for programmers. The demographic of mobile phone ownership has exploded over the past decade, creating a real need for an HTML standard upgrade. End-users want to be able to access the web at any time with any device, so having a responsive website is essential. HTML5 has a lot of support for mobile because it can cater to these electronic devices.

3.5. Canvas element

One of the most talked-about HTML features is the <canvas> element. This unique tag made a huge impact on Adobe Flash. Even if there are many websites that still use Flash, People still prefer HTML5 more, believe it or not, Flash may soon become obsolete.

Using the canvas element, programmers can draw graphics using various colors and shapes simply by using the script (e.g. JavaScript). Also, be aware that the canvas is just a graphic container to define the image, a script needs to be executed. An example where JavaScript is used with canvas is:

3.6. The Menu element

The newly added elements <menu> and <menuitem> are interactive, specialized elements that are not often discussed in the developer community. However, these elements can be used to ensure web interoperability.

<menu> tag is used to represent menu commands in mobile or desktop applications for simplicity. Usage could be:

3.7. Data Attributes can be customized

You can add custom attributes before HTML5, but it's very difficult. For example, in HTML4, custom attributes will sometimes shut down your page completely, and they can often cause data conflicts. The data-* attribute in HTML5 fixes this. There are many uses for this attribute, but the main one is to store information about different elements. Now that custom data can be added, it also increases the developer's chances of creating a highly effective and interactive website without having to learn about the server or call Ajax.

3.8. No longer has Cookies

Local storage is HTML5's huge upgrade. In the pre-HTML5 days, if a programmer wanted to save any information, they had to create cookies. Cookies can store several types of data (not to mention, people hate them) and this gives local storage a lot of advantages over HTML5. localStorage object is part of the global windows namespace and can be accessed anywhere if desired via scripts.


4. HTML5's tips and tricks

HTML5's tips and trips can help beginners by using the HTML5 style sheets below and starting using HTML. These tricks and tips have all the common HTML tags (including HTML5). 

Difference Between HTML and HTML5


5. Advantages of HTML5 for End Users

HTML5 brings a whole new experience for both programmers and end-users. Some of the outstanding advantages for the end-user are:

  • Mobile browser is much better now, thanks to HTML5 technology, better than when web development was based on HTML.
  • Reliance on mobile websites is very high, up to 30% of users hate the application. So if a user wants to use a company's services, but doesn't want to download the application, they just need to visit the website.
  • The removal of Adobe Flash helps developers provide a better user experience. Using JavaScript and MPEG4 in conjunction with HTML5 makes life better for everyone.
  • Native audio and video element support mean that users don't have to download a bundled plugin to view multimedia on the website. Full support for media makes HTML5 the main reason it is used more than HTML today.


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