Whether you are new to HTML5 and web development or are a seasoned pro, odds are, you may find yourself with a few unanswered questions concerning the latest iteration of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) favorite markup language. In today's article, we've gathered some of the most frequently asked HTML5 questions and will seek to remove the smoke and mirrors surrounding them.

HTML5: Frequently Asked Questions

In the following section, we will be looking at some common HTML5 questions and discussing certain concepts that may seem foreign to fledgling web devs - but never fear: by the end of our post, even the newest of webmasters will be tossing about phrases like web workers and HTML semantics as if they were the markup maniac Tim-Berners Lee himself!

What Web Browsers and Mobile Browsers Support HTML5?

This is a tricky question that most people tend to answer with a simple: all modern web browsers and mobile browsers support HTML5. While that is technically true, the reality is that HTML5 support is offered in current versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, as well as on Android and iPhone platforms. However, not every browser supports all the features of HTML5. For instance, there is presently a lack of mobile support for HTML5 "drag n drop", though the API works well in most desktop applications.

What are Web Workers?

If you have ever visited a website that partially loads and then lags for seemingly forever, odds are, you have encountered a site with a piece of Javascript that is hanging in the background. Many websites try to overcome this hindrance on page load time by loading the Javascript as the last item on the page or through other methods. To help combat this in a more legit way (by making it a non-issue), HTML5 introduced web workers. Web workers allow a Javascript to run in the background of a website without affecting the page load in any way. While the script loads, you can still interact fully with the website, clicking on buttons or scrolling up and down the page. The issue with current Javascript code is that it can only execute one script at a time. Web workers overcome this by providing concurrency or "multi-threading" - the ability to run more than one script at a time.

What is HTML5 Web Storage?

You may have heard terms like local storage and session storage tossed about - both of these phrases refer to a specification known as Web Storage. Originally standardized by the W3C and part of HTML5, Web Storage has now moved to its own specification. In simple terms, it can be defined as a simplistic, client-side database that allows web applications to store information in the browser (versus locally). Web storage differs from traditional cookies in several important ways. For starters, cookies are limited in their storage capacity - they can only store around 4KB of data in the browser. Using web storage, however, you can store upwards of 10MB - depending upon the users preferred web browser. Using the local storage type of Web storage, you can also store information without having to worry about expiration dates - something that you very much have to worry about when using cookies.

What is Semantic HTML

Semantics, in terms of HTML, refers to a new set of HTML5 elements that give specific meaning to their contents. They are used to allow search engines and applications to understand the importance of certain information in our documents. More clearly stated, a semantic element tells the browser what type of content it contains, whereas non-semantic elements do not. For example, a

gives no information about the content contained within its opening and closing tags, making it non-semantic. The
tag, however, tells you exactly what it is - a form, and is, therefore, semantic. The same can be said for tags. To make websites easier for machines to understand - and to make document layout more defined for developers - HTML5 introduced some new semantic elements, including: , , , , , , , , , , , , and . As you can see, most of these new semantic elements describe their intended contents pretty well. The element, for instance, is used for blog posts, articles, or user-generated content (think forum posts). Similarly, the and elements are used for supporting images in articles and their related caption - the same concept newspapers have been using for decades.

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