Kilian Valkhof

Front-end & user experience developer, Jedi.

HTML5, Improving the web…when it’s done.

Web, 3 June 2007, 2 minute read

Last Friday, I attended Anne’s presentation on HTML5 at As is usually the case, Murphy jumped in right at the beginning and we couldn’t get the beamer to work. Which Anne didn’t really mind, it turned out ;) . So we looked at the presentation on a nice, large monitor.

The meat of the presentation was good. Anne had some difficulties translating it all back to Dutch, but he had a clear story (even though we showered him with questions afterwards). He also told us a new version of Opera Mini will come out soon. Awesome. (He, however, wouldn’t tell us what the improvements would be.)

About html5

Canvas is awesome, though I think I would prefer SVG with “regular ol’ DOM scripting” to be implemented across the board. Doctype’s will be greatly simplified (Know anyone that can type one from memory?) and a host of new elements will allow us to use semantic elements instead of generic elements with semantic classes. Which is good, and immensely less ambiguous.


There are some gripes I have with HTML5 though. For example, they want to add contenteditable="true". Which is pretty awesome. However, it’s just that. You can edit the text in the element with that attribute. The current plans rely on javascript to take the data and place it somewhere else so it can be sent using your favourite method. What would be much more useful is making it obligatory to assign a unique ID to editable elements, and have it automatically sent with a form submit.

Next to that, they’re also partially keeping their hands off from forms. Which is a pity. True, they are making form validation easier, and adding <datalist>, which is essentially Google Suggest but with your own suggestions and input fields. They are still keeping the display of forms up to browser vendors though. According to Anne, they feel it’s more in the realm of webforms2 and CSS3 to define that. But I think that HTML5 would be an excellent way to get form controls out of their current, “plug-in”-like form, and into clearly described html elements. Right now, when a browsers encounters a form control, it replaces it with an internal element. HTML5 plans to add API’s, why not add a form control API as well?


Apart from those two things, HTML5 only offers improvements, so I see no really bad parts. Except that it’s going to take till 2015 before we can use it, if it’s up to the W3c. And I really, really want my semantic web now. What are your idea’s on HTML5?

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  1. I have to copy doctypes from the different websites that I’ve created, and I feel stupid every time I do that.

    HTML 5 looks rather cool, but I’m an XHTML person at heart. I can’t help it :P

    It’s awesome that you get to go to these things; I have a BarCamp to attend on June 30th, but I won’t know anyone there, so I’m a bit worried about attending :(

  2. There will be an XHTML version of HTML5, XHTML5. Which is HTML described in XML, like XHTML1.0 currently is. XHTML5 offers various improvements, like inline SVG, but has some downsides as well: for one, it must be served as application/xml.

  3. I don’t think we need to rush things up, Kilian… If HTML5 is nice, we don;t even need HTML6 or something. For me that’s a reason to wait.
    My favorite HTML5 things for now are: menu, href as attribute for everything and section.

  4. @Arjan; since when is ‘href as attribute for everything’ part of HTML5? I think you meant XHTML2. Implementors don’t like both (enough).

  5. @Krijn; hmm, guess I was wrong on that…

  6. Yeah, that’s indeed the link I gave you on MSN ;)

  7. Ruben Bos

    Interesting, pity I missed out on this one!