NEAUG October Meeting – HTML5

NEAUG PresentationWhat is a NEAUG?

Glad you asked, it stands for New England Adobe Users Group. I (FirstTracks Interactive Director – Matt Nelson) have been a regular attendee and supporter of this group for the past 5 years. These meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month up in Brattleboro VT at Marlboro College, they feature a great group of local technical professionals who are passionate about website development and design. If you are looking for more information about attending and upcoming topic discussions you can find them on their website at

This month featured a few interesting topics, HTML5 and Usability Testing Methods. Here is what I took away from the first presentation on HTML5…

What is HTML5?

In a nutshell HTML5 is the next version what what all of today’s modern websites will be built on. HTML5 is a community effort to create a more standardized implementation of website development. To that end, this will mean lots of new design and development opportunities for website creators like us here at FirstTracks to build much more rich Internet application destinations that are lighter, faster, extremely dynamic, and do it without the need for heavy script frameworks or 3rd Party plugins like Flash or Silverlight. (Special shout out to Steve Judd for coming up to give the presentation.)

What will straight HTML5 allow you to do easier?

  • Naming convention standardization for webpage programming. Giving specific tag names for common elements such as <header>, <hgroup>, <nav> etc.
  • New and exciting ways to use the “rel” attribute on link tags allowing you to call specific actions, instances, and functions through link identification.
  • Microdata tools. Allowing you to apply attributes to pieces of information on your website that will allow you to customize how things appear in Google searches for instance.
  • New form field types allowing the developer to have instant in-line validation based on the properties of that new field type such as email form fields for instance.
  • Audio + Video Inclusion – this is the big one creating a standard video and audio format that can be fed as long as the file type is supported, plus provide developers new hooks and ways to style the display and use of those elements (look into the WebM video format stuff and for audio MP3 is the standard file format.)

What does the future of HTML5 hold?

In my opinion HTML5 is still at least a year away from being used in main stream website development projects. The browsers that support this new technology are still not at a place where I would feel comfortable rolling out a new website programmed with these techniques, especially within the Hospital and Assisted Living industries that a lot of our clients are apart of. Yes you can make HTML5 work with older browsers, even the always fun Internet Explorer 6, but the extra time spent on those efforts may not yet be worth the investment cost to the client, especially if you are working within frameworks that you have already developed and tested. HTML5 has a very bright future, and I am excited to see it continue to evolve it’s standardization and functionality offerings. Hopefully in the next year or so wider browser support will be made a little bit easier so HTML5 can hit the main stream.

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