>So I started looking at some of the new things available with HTML 5 by going through the slideshow found at Html5Rocks.  There’s some pretty cool stuff coming.  I don’t think it is that far away.  But it is definitely not immediate.  To prove that, just go to the site with IE.  The main HTML5Rocks site works in IE but the slideshow doesn’t.

The slideshow should work fine in IE once IE9 comes out.  But why do we have to wait?  Mozilla and Google managed to update their browsers to start supporting HTML 5.  Why can’t Microsoft do the same?  Why must we wait for IE9 (and then for adoption of IE9) before we can start taking advantage of many of the features of HTML5?  Seems to me that a position like that just slows down adoption of these great capabilities which will make development easier.  Making it even more ironic is that word is already starting to get out about how to add support for HTML5 to ASP.NET MVC (http://www.deanhume.com/Home/BlogPost/asp-net-mvc-html5-toolkit/29).

But I digress; I meant for this post to be about the new capabilities coming, not about Microsoft taking so long to support them 🙂

So, here are my favorite features coming with HTML5:

  • The new input types for date, time, email, color, number.  Yes, many of these aren’t yet supported.  And the richest support is only in Chrome.  But when these come, it will be nice.  It will make validation easier and it will make things more consistent across web sites.  At least, once everybody starts accommodating the new types.
  • Easy, easy ways to add audio and video to your site with the new audio and video tags.  
  • The new CSS selectors will make lot’s of things easier.  And no more jQuery to get different backgrounds on alternate table rows!
  • The TextStroke, Opacity, Rounded Corners, shadows and Gradient support is fantastic. Especially the gradient support.  I always hated the “hack” of using a 1px wide image to get a gradient color in a background.
  • I can see the local storage changing the game a lot.  Today, if I have a multi-page “wizard”, I have to send and save the data on the server between pages.  With this capability, I could store the data locally and send it once when the user has hit a Save button making my process use less bandwidth and be a bit more crash proof.

I see no reason not to start using these features today.  Modernizr is a javaScript library that lets you know what features are and aren’t available in the current browser.  It extends that knowledge into CSS as well.  For example, if you want to have one background style if gradients are supported and a different one if they are not, you can code:

    .cssgradients { /* Gradients supported by browser */

    .no-cssgradients { /* gradients not supported by browser*/
    This does mean some extra work when creating your scripts and your styles.  But it also means that you can take advantage of these new features and gracefully degrade them as necessary.  So the question becomes is the extra effort worth it?
    I think it is.