HTML5 – New Old Semantics

We are sure that you’ll agree that HTML is one of the best web inventions of all times. The hyper text markup language is actually the cornerstone of modern web that appears to be a unique and self-sufficient phenomenon.

When HTML5 was being developed its developers have faced the few important issues that were to be solved with the help of HTML5. And one of these problems was creating a really explicit and extensible semantics. Now the tricky part is that the old versions of HTML were also being designed with the versatility in mind – with loads of various tags that were considered absolutely essential but have eventually proved themselves to be totally useless. The approach in the HTML5 has been changed according to the needs of today’s Internet.

HTML5 New Tags

The task that had to be accomplished by the developers was to create the richer and meaningful semantics for HTML5 version – plus the fact that new solution was supposed to be flexible, strongly efficient and of course to correspond to all modern web standards. Now here comes the list of the new tags that will available in HTML5.

  • <article> tag defines an article
  • <aside> tag defines content aside from the page content
  • <audio> tag defines sound content
  • <canvas> tag defines graphics
  • <command> tag defines a command button
  • <datalist> tag defines a dropdown list
  • <details> tag defines details of an element
  • <dialog> tag defines a dialog (conversation)
  • <embed> tag defines external interactive content or plugin
  • <figure> tag defines a group of media content, and their caption
  • <footer> tag defines a footer for a section or page
  • <header> tag defines a header for a section or page
  • <hgroup> tag defines information about a section in a document
  • <keygen> tag defines a generated key in a form
  • <mark> tag defines marked text
  • <meter> tag defines measurement within a predefined range
  • <nav> tag defines navigation links
  • <output> tag defines some types of output
  • <progress> tag defines progress of a task of any kind
  • <rp> tag is used in ruby annotations to define what to show browsers that do not support the ruby element.
  • <rt> tag defines explanation to ruby annotations.
  • <ruby> tag defines ruby annotations.
  • <section> tag defines a section
  • <source> tag defines media resources
  • <time> tag defines a date/time
  • <video> tag defines a video

Let’s just hope all of these will really be “alive” and useful tags, not just something we think is awesome today.

The Healing by HTML5 – Old Tags, Long Gone…

Now do you remember those old times when HTML3 was a sort of a miracle that could only be seen in Netscape? Yeah, it was the dawn of the Internet era. Of course we must never forget our history but it is a normal thing when we have to say good bye to some good old things (especially when they’re not that good and no one really cares about them anymore).

So, HTML5 developers have recalled some of the tags that only the HTML geeks remember and since those tags are so much obsolete they were excluded from the new HTML – which by the way we would like to thank the HTML5 developers for. After all these old tags are in fact so old that in 20 years our kids are likely to think that they were used by William Shakespeare in his sonets. Anyways, take a last look at the following archaic tags, the only chance to see them again is by visiting the Internet and HTML museum (is there a museum like that by the way?).

  • <acronym> tag defines an acronym.
  • <applet> tag defines an embedded applet.
  • <basefont> tag specifies a default font-color, font-size, or font-family for all the text in a document.
  • <big> tag is used to format the text one size bigger, and can be in relation to your <font> or <basefont> size, if you’ve specified either one.
  • <center> tag is used to center text.
  • <dir> tag is used to list directory titles.
  • <font> tag specifies the font face, font size, and font color of text.
  • <frame> tag defines one particular window (frame) within a frameset.
  • <frameset> tag defines a frameset. The frameset element holds two or more frame elements. Each frame element holds a separate document.
  • <s> and <strike> tags define strikethrough text.
  • <tt> tag is used for “typetype” text, or fixed-width typewriter-type font. Other than the different type style, it has normal font characteristics
  • <u> tag is used to underline text.

Most of these tags are obsolete (even though to some of you they may seem slightly similar to the versatile new ones). Some of these old ones were used in early versions of popular browser versions but today most of them are just useless, and some of them can be placed with CSS functions (for example different fonts and text tags).

The Big Deal About the <DIV> Tag

Replacing the <div> tag with new tags is one of the main achievements of HTML5 in terms of semantics. The HTML4 <div> tag was (and still remains) one of the major tags used in HTML code but it was semantically weak because of how useless it is when it comes to specifying different sections of the website structure. The new HTML5 tags – such as <article>, <aside>, <nav>, <figure>, <header>, <footer> – will be very much more useful and comvenient because these tags give the opportunity to specify all major parts of the website and clarify the major structure. This means that you can easily navigate through the code even if your middle skilled coder or rookie – not to mention the fact that the search engines will be crazy about the websites pages so conveniently structured.

So What Do We Have?

There are many discussions about new tags and their semantic values and of course some people claim that semantics and visual representation have nothing in common – because semantics means more complicated coding and creates new field for some new HTML issues. But this is just one side of it all because we still believe that the new tags, along with the HTML5 semantics in general, are aimed at raising level of communication and cooperation between the web audience and the technologies that keep the web going.

Again – what we’re trying to say is that, as cool as HTML5 looks and feels, it takes a lot of efforts and a little bit of witchcraft to forecast what the web is going to be all about within the next 5 years or so. Today these new tags and semantics approach really do look awesome and we totally love it, let’s just not forget that things have changed in order for us to be able to take advantage of them, the new features have to be used by us, the huge web community – that’s the only way for something that’s simply new to become new and useful.

In case you want to know more about HTML5 please feel free to check out our previous awesome related entry – HTML5 vs. Flash – the battle for developers.

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