The HTML 5 specification is a work in progress, it will not reach final W3C recommendation status until 2022, as estimated by the editor Ian Hickson, though the official W3C estimate for completion is 2010. In any case, there are already browser implementations for many parts of the proposed HTML 5 specification, so it is worthwhile to learn about the new possibilities offered. Considering the current competition in the browser market, it is possible that the adoption of HTML 5 will be faster than expected.
A while ago, Jacob Gube wrote a guest post at RWW about 5 exciting things to look forward to in HTML 5. These are:
- New "semantic" HTML elements, e.g <nav>, <article>, <header> and <footer>. This would make it unnecessary to use the generic <div> element, together with class or id attributes, to build common parts of a web page. It would also facilitate search engines to better understand the contents of a web page, e.g. which parts are more relevant.
- Improved forms handling with validation.
- APIs for <video> and <audio> elements, allowing playback, for example. In November last year I wrote about the open source Ogg Theora video codec, which is a good choice for the <video> element.
- The <canvas> element for drawing to the screen.
- User editing of web pages (wiki-style) via the
All details can be found in the latest HTML 5 draft recommendation (currently as of January 24th, 2009).