HTML5 is a standard for structuring and presenting content on the Web. It incorporates features such as geolocation, video playback and drag-and-drop. HTML5 allows developers to create rich internet applications without the need for third party APIs and browser plug-ins.
HTML5 is still under specification, and is currently in the Working Draft stage in the W3C, but many aspects of HTML5 are now stable and can be implemented in browsers.
There are a number of simplifications to the syntax of HTML introduced in the HTML5 specification.
The <doctype> for an HTML document has changed from its verbose DTD reference to a much simpler format, simply stating the document is an HTML document type:
This change allows HTML5 to be fully backward compatible with previous versions of HTML.
The <meta> tag for a document allows you to set the character encoding using the simple charset attribute, replacing declarations such as:
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=UTF-8”>
Other Encoding Options You can also set the encoding of the document by setting the Byte Order Mark at the start of the file, or by setting the HTTP Content-Type header at transport level.
Embedding Scalar Vector Graphics (SVG) Both SVG and MathML elements can be directly embedded into your HTML5 document utilizing their syntax features.
The following table presents an overview of the new elements that have been added to HTML5.
|<aside>||A piece of content that is somehow related to the rest of the page|
|<audio>||Audio media content|
|<canvas>||A component for rendering dynamic bitmap graphics on the fly. e.g games|
|<command>||A command that the user can invoke: a button, radio button or checkbox|
|<datalist>||Together with the new list attribute for the <input> element can be used to make combo boxes|
|<details>||Additional information or controls that the user ca|
|<embed>||Used for plug-in content|
|<figure>||A piece of self-contained flow content referenced as a single unit from the main flow of the document|
|<figcaption>||Caption for a <figure>|
|<footer>||Footer for a section; may contain information about author, copyright information, etc.|
|<header>||A group of introductory or navigation aids|
|<hgroup>||Header of a section|
|<keygen>||A key pair generation control for user authentication in forms|
|<mark>||A run of text in one document marker or highlighted for reference purposes|
|<meter>||A measurement, such as disk usage, when the minimum and maximum values are known.|
|<nav>||A section of the document intended for navigation|
|<output>||Output such as a calculation done through scripting|
|<progress>||Represents progress of a task such as downloading or performing other expensive operations|
|<rt> <rp> <ruby>||Enables Ruby annotation markup <rt> gives an explanation of the Ruby annotation <rp> is what the browser should show if it does not support the <ruby> element|
|<section>||A generic document or application section|
|Used to specify multiple media resources on elements such as <audio> and <video>|
|<time>||Date and time definition|
|<video>||Video media content|
The following section presents an overview of the attributes that have been added or changed in existing HTML elements.
The following global attributes have been added for use across a number of elements.
|contenteditable||Indicates that the element is an editable area|
|contextmenu||Points to a context menu provided by the author|
|data-*||All author defined attributes need to be prefixed by data-, preventing clashes with future versions of HTML|
|hidden||Indicates that an element is not relevant|
|role aria-*||Instructs assistive technology|
|spellcheck||Enables spell check indicators if content can be checked|
The input element’s type attribute now has these new attributes: color, date, datetime, datetime-local, email, month, number, range, search and tel.
HTML5 has removed the use of presentational attributes such as align, background (for body), bgcolor and border, as they are better handled in CSS.
Presentational Elements HTML5 has removed the use of presentational attributes such as align, background (for body), bgcolor and border, as they are better handled in CSS.
The following elements have been removed from HTML5 because they are more effectively represented using CSS: basefont, big, center, font, s, strike, tt and u.
Other elements have been removed because they have a negative effect on usability and accessibility. These include: frame, frameset and noframes.
This last set of elements has been removed due to their lack of frequent use. They also caused confusion at times: acronym (use abbr for abbreviations), applet (object replaces its use), isIndex and dir (use ul instead).
<canvas>, is probably the most dramatic element to be added to HTML5. It allows graphics on the client’s browser to be dynamically updated.
The <canvas> element has the following attributes:
|height||The height of the canvas, specified in pixels. Default is 150|
|width||The width of the canvas, specified in pixels. Default is 300|
The following code snippet shows how to access the Canvas and retrieve its graphical context.
var canvas = document.getElementById(“documentCanvas”); var context = canvas.getContext(“2d”);
Currently the only valid context for the Canvas element is 2D. There will probably be a 3D context in the future. The Context object has the a number of different methods. These include transformations, compositing, state, coloring and shape methods.
When creating shapes and paths, transformations are applied to coordinates. Transformations must be performed in reverse order.
Changes the transformation matrix to apply a clockwise rotation expressed in radians
Applies a scaling transformation, where x represents scale factor in the horizontal direction and y represents the scale factor in the vertical direction, specified in multiples
|context.setTransform(m11, m12, m21, m22, dx, dy)
Resets the current transformation matrix to the identity matrix, then the given transformation matrix is applied.
|context.tranform(m11, m12, m21, m22, dx, dy)
Transforms the context by multiplying the current transformation matrix with the matrix described by m11 m21 dx m21 m22 dy 0 0 0
Applies a translation transformation to the context where x is the distance along the horizontal and y is the distance along the vertical, specified in coordinate space units
A context has a stack of drawing states including:
The following methods can be used to manage state:
|Context State Methods|
Pops the top state on the stack and acts as an undo action and restores the context to that state
Pushes the current state onto the stack
All drawing operations are affected by the global compositing values.
|context.globalAlpha [ = value]
Returns or sets the current alpha value applied to rendering operations. Values outside the range 0.0 (fully transparent) to 1.0 (no transparency) are ignored.
Returns or sets the current composition operation from the list below:
Returns or sets the current style used for filling shapes. Can be a string containing a CSS color, or a CanvasGradient /CanvasPattern
Returns or sets the current style used for the stroke of shapes. Can be a string containing a CSS color, or a CanvasGradient /CanvasPattern
To create the appropriate CanvasGradient object use either the createLinearGradient() or createRadialGradient() from the Context object. The resulting CanvasGradient object has the following method available:
Adds a new stop to the gradient at a point between 0.0 and 1.0, each representing each end of the gradient. The color parameter must be a CSS color
To create a CanvasPattern object use the following method:
Creates a new CanvasPattern object using the given image.The image is repeated in one of these specified directions:
The following line styles can be applied from the context:
|Line Style Methods|
The ending that will be placed at the end of the line. Either butt, round or square. Initially set to butt
The corners that will be placed where two lines meet. Either bevel, round or miter. Initially set to miter
Width of the line, in coordinate space units. Initially set to 1.0
Maximum allowed ratio of the miter length to half the line width. Miter length is the distance from the point where the join occurs to the intersection of the line edges on the outside of the join. Initially set to 10.0.
There are four global shadow attributes that affect all drawing operations:
The size of the blurring effect, initially set to 0.
The color of the shadow, initially transparent black. Specified as a CSS color.
The distance that a shadow will be offset in horizontal and vertical distance
Three methods are available to create simple shapes, or rectangles:
|Simple Shape Methods|
Clears the pixels in the specified rectangle that also intersect the current clipping region to fully transparent black, erasing the previous image
Paints the specified rectangle using the defined fillStyle
Draws the outline of the rectangle path using strokeStyle, lineWidth, lineJoin and miterLimit attributes
The context always has a current path, which can have zero or more sub-paths. These are used to create complex shapes.
|Complex Shape Methods|
|context.arc(x,y,radius, startAngle, endAngle, anticlockwise)
Creates an arc described by the circumference of the circle in the arguments, in the given direction
Adds a point to the path that is connected to the previous point by an arc
Resets the current path
Adds a point to the path that is connected to the previous point by a cubic Bezier curve
Constrains the clipping region to a given path
Marks the current subpath as closed, and starts a new subpath
Fills the subpaths with the current fill style
Adds a point to the current subpath that is connected to the previous point by a line
Creates a new subpath with the given point as its first and only point
Adds a point to the current path that is connected to the previous one by a quadratic Bezier curve
Adds a new closed subpath to the path, representing the given rectangle
Creates the strokes of the subpaths with the current stroke style
Returns true if the given point is in the current path
The following attributes and operations are available for manipulating text:
Returns or sets the current font setting in the CSS font property syntax
Returns or sets the current text alignment settings. Acceptable values are start (default), end, left, right or center
Returns or sets the current baseline alignment settings. Can be one of top, middle, hanging, alphabetic (default), ideographic or bottom
Renders fill for given text at a given position. Text is scaled to fit maxWidth if provided
|context.strokeText(text, x, y, maxWidth)
Renders stroke for given text at a given position. Text is scaled to fit maxWidth if provided
|metrics = context.measureText(text)
Returns a TextMetrics object with the metrics of the given text in the current font
Returns the advance width of the text that was passed to the measureText() method
There are three image functions available to draw an image on the Canvas:
|context . drawImage(image, dx, dy)
context . drawImage(image, dx, dy, dw, dh)
context . drawImage(image, sx, sy, sw, sh, dx, dy, dw, dh)
Draws the given image onto the Canvas. The image attribute must be one of <img>, canvas or <video>
In order to manipulate pixels, you must first create an ImageData object using one of the following methods:
|ImageData Creation Methods|
Returns an ImageData object with the given dimensions in CSS pixels
Returns an ImageData object with the same dimensions as the imagedata parameter
Returns an ImageData object containing the image data for the given rectangle of the canvas
The ImageData object has the following properties:
A one dimensional array containing the data for the ImageData object (as a CanvasPixelArray)
Actual dimensions of the data in the ImageData object
The following method is used when you want to utilize the ImageData object:
|context.putImageData(imagedata, dx, dy, dirtyX, dirty, dirtyWidth, dirtyHeight)
Paints the data of the given ImageData object onto the Canvas
In place of third party plug-ins like Flash, HTML5 provides a standard way to include video with the <video> element.
Video Formats Currently supported video formats are ogg with Thedora or VP8 video and Vorbis codec, and mpeg4 with H.264 video and AAC audio codec.
The video element has the following attributes:
|autoplay||Specifies that the video will start playing as soon as the content is loaded. Value of the attribute should be “autoplay”|
|controls||Specifies play button and volume widget controls will be displayed. Value of the attribute should be “controls”|
|height||The height of the video player, specified in pixels|
|loop||Specifies that the video will play in a continuous loop. Value of the attribute should be “loop”|
|preload||Specifies that the video should load when the page loads. Ignored if autoplay attribute is used. Value of the attribute should be “preload”|
|src||The URL of the video to play|
|width||The width of the video player, specified in pixels|
The following example shows how to specify a video for a page with two different formats. This is for wider browser support. Note that you can specify a message to display within the video tag for browsers that do not support the tag.
&l;video width=”800” height=”600” controls=”controls” autoplay=”autoplay”> &l;source src=”http://mysite.com/movie.ogg” type=”video/ogg” /> &l;source src=”http://mysite.com/movie.mp4” type=”video/mp4” /> Your browser does not support the video tag. &l;/video>
The <audio> element allows the embedding of audio media directly into your HTML page, rather than using third party plug-ins.
Audio Formats The three supported audio formats are MP3, Wav and Ogg Vorbis.
The audio element has the following attributes:
|autoplay||Specifies that the video will start playing as soon as the content is loaded. Value of the attribute should be “autoplay”|
|controls||Specifies that the play button and volume widget controls will be displayed. Value of the attribute should be “controls”|
|loop||Specifies that the audio will play in a continuous loop. Value of the attribute should be “loop”|
|preload||Specifies that the audio should load when the page loads. Ignored if autoplay attribute is used. Value of the attribute should be “preload”|
|src||The URL of the audio file to play|
The following example shows how to specify an audio file for an HTML page.
<audio controls=”controls” autoplay=”autoplay”> <source src=”http://mysite.com/audio.mp3” type=”audio/mpeg” /> <source src=”http://mysite.com/audio.ogg” type=”audio/ogg” /> Your browser does not support the audio tag. </video>
As opposed to using cookies, client data can be stored in two ways—either using longer term localStorage or with single session based sessionStorage. Cookies have traditionally passed data on every server request, but in HTML5 data is passed, only when requested.
Session storage should be used only when you require data for a single session. The sessionStorage object is used for this. Any attribute can be written to within this object:
Writing the data is as simple as the following:
sessionStorage.username = “James”
Retrieval of the same attribute:
document.write(“Welcome back“ + sessionStorage.username);
Local storage should be used when you have more persistent data with no time limit. Data can be accessed using the same approach shown above using the localStorage object.
Data Access A site can only access data that it has previously stored. This prevents cases where different websites can access other site’s data.
HTML5 defines a number of new event handling attributes. They are listed here.
The following events are applicable to all media elements such as audio, video, embed and img.
|oncanplay||Media can start to play, but might has to stop for buffering|
|oncanplaythrough||Media doesn’t need to wait for buffering|
|ondurationchange||Length of media has changed|
|onemptied||Media resource becomes “empty” due to a loss of network connection or other errors|
|onended||Media has reached the end|
|onerror||Error occurs during loading of media|
|onloadeddata||Media has loaded|
|onloadedmetadata||Meta data of media, such as duration, has loaded|
|onloadstart||Browser starts to load data|
|onpause||Media has paused|
|onplay||Media is about to play|
|onplaying||Media is has started playing|
|onprogress||Browser is retrieving media data|
|onratechange||Playing rate has changed|
|onseekend||When seeking has ended (media seeking attribute is no longer true)|
|onseeking||When seeking has begun (seeking attribute is true)|
|onstalled||Error retrieving media data|
|onsuspend||Retrieval of data stopped before completion|
|ontimeupdate||Media changes playing position|
|onvolumechange||Media volume changed|
|onwaiting||Media stopped playing but should resume|
The following new window events are applicable to the <body> element:
|onafterprint||Document has printed|
|onbeforeprint||Document is about to be printed|
|onbeforeonload||Before the document is loaded|
|onerror||Error has occurred|
|onhaschange||Document has a change|
|onmessage||Message is triggered|
|onoffline||Document goes offline|
|ononline||Document goes online|
|onpagehide||Window is hidden|
|onpageshow||Window is visible|
|onpopstate||Window history changes|
|onredo||Redo is performed|
|onresize||Window is resized|
|onundo||Undo is performed|
|onunload||User leaves the document|
Mouse events can happen with any element on the page. The main changes include support for drag and drop.
|ondrag||Element is dragged|
|ondragend||Drag operation is completed|
|ondragenter||Element is dragged to a valid drop target|
|ondragleave||Element leaves drop target|
|ondragover||Element dragged over drop target|
|ondragstart||Drag operation has begun|
|ondrop||Element is dropped onto drop target|
|onmousewheel||Mouse wheel is rotated|
|onscroll||Element’s scrollbar is being scrolled|
The following new event attributes are applicable to form elements, but can be used across other elements:
|oncontextmenu||Context menu is invoked|
|onforminput||User inputs data into form|
|oninput||Element gets user input|
|oninvalid||Element is invalid|
The global navigator object has access to the Geolocation object, which has the following API:
|getCurrentPosition(in PositionCallback successCallback, in optional PositionErrorCallback
errorCallback, in optional PositionOptions options)
Asynchronously attempts to obtain the current location of the device. If successful, the
successCallback is invoked with a new Position object
|long watchPosition(in PositionCallback successCallback, in optional PositionErrorCallback
errorCallback, in optional PositionOptions options)
Immediately returns a long representing the id of a watch operation, and asynchronously
handles the watch operation which tracks the position of the device
|clearWatch (in long watchId)
Stops the watch with the supplied identifier. If no such watch exists it simply returns
The PositionOptions object has three attributes:
|enableHighAccuracy||A hint that the application would like the best possible results, which may lead to slower response times or higher power consumption|
|timeout||Maximum length of time in milliseconds that is allowed to pass from the call to getCurrentPosition or watchPosition until the successCallback is invoked|
|maximumAge||The maximum age of a cached position that the application will accept|
The Position object has two attributes:
|coords||The geographic coordinates along with their associated accuracy. The Coordinates object has attributes (as double) for latitude, longitude, altitude, heading, speed, accuracy, and altitudeAccuracy|
|timestamp||The time at which the Position was acquired|
The PositionCallback and PositionErrorCallback interfaces have one handleEvent method each. PositionCallback accepts a Position, while PositionErrorCallback accepts a PositionError.
The table below illustrates when each major browser gained support for key HTML5 features. The numbers indicate the browser’s version when support for each HTML5 feature began.
|Canvas Text API||9.0||3.5+||4.0+||10.5+||5.0+|
|Drag and Drop||6.0||3.5+||4.0+||-||5.0+|
http://caniuse.com and http://html5rocks.com are excellent resources to view the compatibility of HTML5 features across a range of browsers.