Myth #1: HTML5 was invented because Apple stopped supporting Flash .
Apple seems to get blamed for everything, but while HTML5 has some amazing solutions for mobile, it was not created to meet the demands of the iPhone. In fact, Opera and Mozilla got together back in 2004 to try to solve the problem of a messy web, defining seven principles for good design. Their goal was simple – propose these principles to W3C as a roadmap for a sleeker, faster, better HTML standard. The principles covered aspects such as backwards compatibility, error handling, practicality, open development and avoiding device-specific profiling. It wasn’t until 2006 that the proposal was accepted, and in three short years a new spec was drafted, closed and made ready for use.
Myth #2: HTML5 won’t be ready till 2022.
Myth #3: HTML5 requires CSS3.
It makes the most sense to use semantic class names and CSS3 declarations when building something with HTML5, but it isn’t a requirement. HTML5 is just markup, so it gets along just fine with CSS2 styling, but what it does require is complete styling for all presentational elements of your design. In other words, the HTML5 spec removes attributes and tags that control the look or style of any element, and is no longer tolerant of inline styling. The browser is now the supreme governor of how your site is rendered and what rules you need to abide by when creating layout with your markup. For example, in HTML5 you need a “display:block” declaration for each HTML5 element for them to be understood properly in IE8 and earlier. In short, HTML5 needs styling to look good, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be CSS3.
Myth #4: HTML5 ruins accessibility.
On the contrary, HTML5 is built around accessibility. While drafting the spec, utmost care was taken to ensure each element works with WIA ARIA landmark roles. These roles are specialized attributes added to your tags that allow accessibility devices such as screen readers to better interpret the site’s flow and content better. Converting a site to HTML5 may ruin the accessibility if these roles aren’t understood and implemented properly, but that won’t be the fault of the markup! See font accessibility.
Myth #5: HTML5 will kill Flash.
The fact is that Flash is still used by several million websites and developers world-wide. The misconception was born, once again, from the high profile fallout between Adobe and Apple and the rapid adoption of HTML5 audio and video for application and mobile development as a result. However, though HTML5 is great for low volume video playback, full HTML5 support requires two or three times the encoding chores of Flash support and still lacks many critical features currently available in plug-in based technologies. Currently, sites like Vimeo and YouTube use HTML5 technology largely for technology’s sake, and will not be moving away from Flash too rapidly. Developer Viki Hoo points out several other reasons why Flash will be around awhile in her compelling argument here.
Myth #6: If I add the new HTML5 doctype to my site, it is now HTML5.
It will be HTML5 as far as the browser is concerned, but HTML5 is more than a doctype. It is a full set of best practices, semantics and layout elements such as <header>, <nav>,<section>,<article> and <footer> that will make your website truly take advantage of the new capabilities of the browser and validate as HTML5. Naturally, adopting the new doctype is a step in the right direction to adopt HTML5, but it is important to learn what really makes an HTML5 website HTML5 before buying into an app, theme or platform that claims it is built with HTML5. Adobe’s new Muse app is a perfect example of this myth in action. You must also take into consideration the number of elements and attributes that have been depreciated in HTML5 and review your existing markup to ensure the best chance of compatibility.
Myth # 7: I’ll get more chicks/jobs/cash/respect if I use HTML5.
Mastering HTML5 probably won’t get you voted the sexiest man or woman alive; although it seems to have worked for Bruce Lawson. It is also not enough to get your foot in the door at a lucrative digital agency. In the end, your design skills and attention to detail are what will make you successful. With that said, learning about and adopting new technologies quickly does take passion and perseverance, which are both admirable traits. Your peers will probably respect you more if you use your knowledge to help them, or can achieve something new and great.
For those who want to get their feet wet with HTML5 but don’t have much coding chops, you may like to check out Wix, who recently launched “the first full-featured HTML5 website builder” on the web. It’s basically a tool that helps you create completely custom websites without mucking about with styles, scripts and markup – unless you want to.