HTML 5: What's new about it?

Precise elements and application programming interfaces

HTML 5 will maintain backward compatibility with all former versions, while cleaning up some ambiguities of the previous version of the markup language. It will also offer a number of new elements, or markup symbols, that can more precisely define the elements of a Web page. And for the first time, HTML will come with a set of application programming interfaces (API) that assist developers in setting up Web applications.

In this report:

The long road to HTML 5 

Here are some highlights: 

New Elements:

  • Article and Aside: Elements for marking the main body of text for a page and for additional sidebars of text, respectively.
  • Audio and Video: Elements for marking video and audio files. With these elements in place, application authors can write their own interfaces or use a browser's built-in functions for actions such as fast-forwarding or rewinding.
  • Canvas: An element that can used for rendering dynamic bitmap graphics on the fly, such as charts or games.
  • Details: An element that could be put in place to allow users to obtain additional information upon demand.
  • Dialog: An element that defines written dialog on a Web page.
  • Header and Footer: Elements for rendering headers and footers to a Web page.
  • Meter: An element that can be used to render some form of measurement.
  • Section: This element can be used to define different sections within a Web page.
  • Nav: An element for aiding in navigation around a site.
  • Progress: An element that can be used to represent completion of a task, such as downloading file.
  • Time: An element to represent time and/or a date.


  • An API for allowing Web applications to run off-line.
  • An API for crossdocument messaging, which allows two parts of a Web page that come from different sources to communicate information.
  • An API for dragging and dropping content across a Web page.
  • An API for drawing 2-D images for the canvas tag.
  • An API for playing audio and video, used in conjunction with the audio and video tags.
Source: "HTML 5 differences from HTML 4" ( and HTML 5 Draft (

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Sep 17, 2009 William Lacy Chicago

The new HTML5 mobile video on OGGTV, will use the new technology for new IPTV video on browsers. Since the new HTML5 access is already in use, online businesses are already using the technology before 2010, with mainly (video), and the adoption rate will climb quickly. The HTML5 mobile device apps, will climb even faster, to build-up the new mobile device industry.

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