How HTML5 Works

HTML5 Goes Beyond HTML

By itself, HTML focuses on presenting static documents, meaning text, links and little else. Through HTML 4, the HTML standard was one in the same with the HTML syntax used to accomplish this objective. The HTML5 standard has a much broader goal to describe the content, styling and application interfaces behind a Web page when it's loaded in your browser. More specifically, HTML5 establishes a single syntax for interacting with all the elements that Web page has loaded into your computer's memory.

There's a potential point of confusion we should clarify about the term "HTML5" before we go on. There is a new version of the markup language itself called HTML5. However, that language is just one part of the broader standard that shares the name HTML5. This article is covering all the components of the HTML5 standard, of which the HTML5 language is a centerpiece.

With that distinction in mind, how does the browser load a page written according to the newer HTML5 standard and not the long-standing HTML 4 language? After all, we usually just rely on our browsers to load Web pages without worrying about the HTML behind them. The answer is simple: As long as the browser itself can support HTML5, it can handle anything you throw at it without needing to distinguish between HTML revisions.

To make this magic happen, the HTML5 standard integrates new versions of multiple technologies working together toward common goals. These goals include the following:

  • Keeping the language simple and intuitive
  • Ensuring the code is easy to read and maintain
  • Addressing pages as interactive applications rather than static documents
  • Relying on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for styling the content
  • Recognizing JavaScript as a central scripting component for Web pages
  • Embracing dynamic content from server-side technologies such as PHP and ASP

Now that you know that the HTML5 is more than the HTML markup itself, let's examine the foundation technologies in the standard.