How HTML5 Works

Web Application Technologies

Earlier, we determined that HTML5 is approaching Web content not as a set of documents, but as a network of Web applications. As such, your browser isn't just a place to process the content you download. It's also a portal to additional software residing on remote Web servers. In the HTML5 standard, this remote software is consistently available to support your interactive Web experience.

So what kind of software are we talking about? Two widely used examples are Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) and Active Server Pages (ASP). These are Web development languages that assemble content on demand from the server side. For example, when you answer a poll question on a Web site and get back a graphic showing how the votes have been distributed, there's probably some PHP at work on the page. You won't see PHP or ASP code itself, even if you view the source of a page. Instead, by default, you'll only see the dynamically assembled HTML and JavaScript produced by the server before it's loaded in your browser window.

Another server-side technology that can support HTML5 Web pages is database software. For example, both MySQL and Oracle can store and manage large amounts of data and keep it secure from unauthorized queries. A Web application can accept credentials and access that data as needed, responding to queries and allowing the app to retrieve the requested information.

With the flexibility of the Web and the ever-expanding features of technology like HTML5, it's possible that more Web applications will call on server-side software for support. The growing field of cloud computing already depends on this client-server relationship through the Web. HTML5 is ready to accommodate this relationship from the client side.

Now that we've looked at the technical aspects behind HTML5, let's look at some highly publicized applications of HTML5 that have helped establish its reputation.