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How is HTML5 shaping Web experiences?

HTML5 is changing Web content management, helping website developers more easily build a rich user experience. What are some of the pros and cons of using HTML5 for Web development?

HTML5 is an important development that will become even more important. HTML5 is a set of technology standards that does two things for the Web browsing experience: It makes multimedia a first-class citizen of a Web browser and it gives programmers access to data coming in from individual mobile devices.

In the past, people have had to use Flash or different video recorders in order to display video and audio. You no longer have to do that in HTML5, since it allows the embedding of video players into Web browsers. With mobile devices, HTML5 is also going to make it much easier for developers to access location information, the device's camera -- to easily include a picture -- or the accelerometer and other sensors on the devices.

What this means for the customer is that a much richer experience will be baked into viewing and interacting with Web content. It's going to be much easier for developers to organize, build and develop rich Web experiences. In the past, many companies have had a YouTube channel, but that usually involves visual snippets that come as an afterthought. Now, video can be integrated into the flow of the content.

The knock against HTML5 is that it's slow and deals a hit to performance. There are conversations among developers debating its speed and responsiveness, but the browsers are getting better. Now that the HTML5 standard has been ratified, the browser development teams will have browsers optimized for speed and performance.

Part of the trajectory of the Web is that is seems to be self-healing. People used to complain about how slow the Internet was, how it would never work and that bandwidths weren't high enough. Now, the bandwidth needs are just exploding and it's dependent upon vendors and others to come up with the right solutions, but those are engineering challenges that we can fix.

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The most prominent benefit, IMO, is that HTML5 is making the need to bolt on other technologies obsolete. That, added to the stylistic changes still being added to CSS3 and the various flavors of JS frameworks, we are reaching a point where there is almost nothing we will not be able to do or render on the front end. There's still some hurdles to be cleared as far as mobile is concerned, but if history is any indication, we'll figure it out :).