HTML 5 and CSS 3: Is it Time?

Websites and HTML 5With the explosion of smart phones and tablets, I’ve been doing a lot more reading about the new HTML 5 and CSS 3 technologies and their current browser compatibility/usage statistics for both desktops and mobile devices.

If you pay attention to website tech babble, you have no doubt heard or seen the term “HTML 5″ quite a bit.  If you aren’t one for wandering in the tech world, but you do have a website, then it’s time to start thinking about HTML 5.

In it’s loose form, “HTML 5″ is being used to include/describe three coding technologies together.

  1. HTML = Hypertext Markup Language
    HTML is a mark-up/code used for displaying websites. Most current sites on the web today are HTML v4 though it’s probably safe to say many will be moving to HTML 5 very soon.
  2. CSS = Cascading Style Sheets
    CSS is code which sets the majority of a site’s appearance including sizes, colors, spacing, fonts, etc.  CSS may also include functionality, especially with the newer CSS v3
  3. Javascript = dynamic scripting language
    Javascript is one of the most popular programming languages on the web today.

However, lumping all three technologies together when discussing building new or upgrading an existing website is not the correct approach since each has it’s own features and browser compatibility to consider.

A better approach is to examine one’s own website and determine…

  • whether new features are necessary
  • how compatible is the new feature across browsers and devices

For my own purposes, two questions I needed answered were..

  1. Should all new Whiplash Design & Print built websites be built with HTML 5/CSS 3?
  2. Should current Whiplash Design & Print client websites be rebuilt with HTML 5 to be remain relevant?

Here’s a quick breakdown of what I have found.  As of June 2012…

HTMLv5:

  • Is not scheduled to become a standard until 2014, but is already seeing wide adoption and creative use across the Internet
  • Not all features are 100% browser (desktop and mobile) compatible, especially legacy versions
  • Can be gradually implemented into an existing site
  • Has fall back features/options for presenting most content types to older browsers
  • As is usually the case, Internet Explorer lags far behind other browsers. Luckily, use of IE is continually dropping.

CSS 3 (Cascading Style Sheets Level 3):

  • Requires HTML v5
  • Does not replace, but rather adds functionality and refines definitions of CSS 2
  • Not all features are 100% browser compatible (desktop and mobile)

Conclusions

  • Existing HTMLv4 sites will continue to render fine with new browsers
  • Sites can be gradually upgraded to include new HTML 5 and CSS 3 features, as browser support increases.  This is fairly comparable to use of CSS attributes when CSS (1 & 2) were in development.
  • New sites should probably be built with HTMLv5 but in a limited fashion until more features become compatible across the majority of browsers in use.

Beginning early 2013, Whiplash Design & Print Services will begin offering HTML 5 websites and website upgrades.  More information and details will become available as the time approaches.

If you would like to have your website reviewed to learn what an HTML 5 website upgrade may entail for your website, call today.

Interesting Links:

Thanks for reading.

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