Copyright © 2010 by Jeremy Keith
All rights reserved
Publisher: Jeffrey Zeldman
Designer: Jason Santa Maria
Editor: Mandy Brown
Technical Editor: Ethan Marcotte
Copyeditor: Krista Stevens
A Book Apart
New York, New York
c hapter 1
A Brief History of Markup
c hapter 2
The Design of HTML5
c hapter 4
Web Forms 2.0
c hapter 5
c hapter 6
Using HTML5 Today
When Mandy Brown, Jason Santa Maria and I formed A Book
Apart, one topic burned uppermost in our minds, and there
was only one author for the job.
Nothing else, not even “real fonts” or CSS3, has stirred the
standards-based design community like the imminent arrival
of HTML5.Born out of dissatisfaction with the pacing and
politics of the W3C, and conceived for a web of applications
(not just documents), this new edition of the web’s lingua
franca has in equal measure excited, angered, and confused
the web design community.
a unique ability to illuminate HTML5 and cut straight to what
matters toaccessible, standards-based designer-developers.
And he does it in this book, using only as many words and
pictures as are needed.
There are other books about HTML5, and there will be many
more. There will be 500 page technical books for application
developers, whose needs drove much of HTML5’s development. There will be even longer secret books for browser
makers, addressing technical challengesthat you and I are
blessed never to need to think about.
But this is a book for you—you who create web content, who
mark up web pages for sense and semantics, and who design
accessible interfaces and experiences. Call it your user guide
to HTML5. Its goal—one it will share with every title in the
forthcoming A Book Apart catalog—is to shed clear light on a
tricky subject, and do it fast, soyou can get back to work.
html is the unifying language of the World Wide Web.
Using just the simple tags it contains, the human race has created an astoundingly diverse network of hyperlinked documents, from Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia, to personal blogs
and websites dedicated to cats that look like Hitler.
HTML5 is the latest iteration of this lingua franca. While it isthe most ambitious change to our common tongue, this isn’t
the first time that HTML has been updated. The language has
been evolving from the start.
As with the web itself, the HyperText Markup Language was
the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee. In 1991 he wrote a document called “HTML Tags” in which he proposed fewer than
two dozen elements that could be used for writing web pages.
Sir Timdidn’t come up with the idea of using tags consisting
of words between angle brackets; those kinds of tags already
existed in the SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)
A B R I E F H I S TO RY O F M A R K U P
format. Rather than inventing a new standard, Sir Tim saw
the benefit of building on top of what already existed—a trend
that can still be seen in the development ofHTML5.
There was never any such thing as HTML 1. The first official
specification was HTML 2.0, published by the IETF, the
Internet Engineering Task Force. Many of the features in this
specification were driven by existing implementations. For
example, the market-leading Mosaic web browser of 1994
already provided a way for authors to embed images in
their documents using an tag. The imgelement later
appeared in the HTML 2.0 specification.
The role of the IETF was superceded by the W3C, the World
Wide Web Consortium, where subsequent iterations of the
HTML standard have been published at http://www.w3.org.
The latter half of the nineties saw a flurry of revisions to the
specification until HTML 4.01 was published in 1999.
At that time, HTML faced its first major turning...