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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