What Is HTML5?

There’s been a lot of talk about HTML5 and all of the new elements it introduces. Forms will be built and used completely differently, the structure of documents will be much more semantic, and new features will be available to website and application developers.

But, what are these semantic elements? Are they really anything new? Will they change the structure of your document at all? The simple answer is “no”. The new elements, for the most part, just make your documents easier to parse and understand (for machines and for people using assistive technology). Very few of the new elements are really all that new; they’re just the same old elements with new names for new purposes.

Semantics on the Web

As the semantics of the markup we use in the back end of our Web sites becomes more and more important, it seems that semantics in the language of our content is becoming less and less important. I see so many examples of Web sites using terms in non-traditional ways.

One of the most recent examples I’ve come across is the use of the word “calendar” throughout the Web. I don’t know about you, but for me, the word “calendar” evokes thoughts of a tabular display of dates.

Unfortunately, throughout the Web, the term “calendar” has begun to mean a simple list of events with no tabular representation to be found. Is this a false representation? Shouldn’t these be known as “event lists” rather than “calendars”?

What do you think? What other examples have you found of elements of the Web that are frequently misrepresented?