The Relationship Between HTML5 and Responsive Web Design

HTML is the markup language you use to create a Web site. Over the years, it has undergone a lot of developments and a lot of features and elements were added and removed from the standard.

HTML5 is basically the fifth revision of that standard. HTML5 simplifies a lot of things, while also introducing a lot of new features, such as being able to handle media files straight out of the code.

Although the beginnings of HTML5 has been around since 2007 and even years before, it was only in 2008 that formal work on standardizing HTML5 begun.

What is responsive Web design?

Responsive Web design, on the other hand, is a much more recent concept. Coined in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte, responsive Web design sought to remedy the issue of having to deal with different screen sizes, browsers, mobile devices, etc. It was apparent that Web site developers would have no way to keep up with the ever expanding number of screens that they have to work with, so it was the right time to come up with a set of design principles that ensured that the site would work and display perfectly on any screen.

Responsive Web design would make use of flexible and fluid elements to do just that.

Comparing and Contrasting HTML5 and Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web design generally refers to a set of principles and approaches. It points to how a particular Web site should be, in order to be functional on any screen.

On the other hand, HTML5 is a specific technology or a set of technologies.

The confusion lies in the fact that to do fully-fledged responsive Web design, you would need to use HTML5. In short, HTML5 is the “tool” that you use if you want your Web sites to be responsive. It is never a Ã?¢??one-versus-the-otherÃ?¢?? kind of thing.

Also, both responsive Web design and HTML5 share two very striking similarities:

  • Development involving responsive Web design and HTML5 are aimed at the browser.
  • Both are independent of any platform.

Both responsive Web design and HTML5 live in the browser. It does not matter what operating system, platform or device your are using, just as long as you have a compatible browser and both HTML5 and responsive Web design would work.

It is important to be clear that HTML5 and responsive Web design are not the same. They are not interchangeable. For one, it is very possible to use HTML5 with app development. This means that you can use CSS, HTML and JavaScript to develop a mobile app. On the other hand, you still can develop a responsive Web site with xHTML and HTML4.

Why DOES HTML5 makes sense for responsive Web design more than HTML4 and others?

HTML5 is maturing very fast even if some people consider it to be a developing technology. As it is, HTML5 is now ready for prime time, giving site visitors a better Web experience with its new features. Developers are also finding HTML5 much easier to use, resulting in code that is much lighter, especially when used with CSS3 and other related technologies.

The lighter and much simpler code gives rise to faster loading times. Remember that responsive Web design is aimed at smart phone users. All elements have to be flexible so that the pages, images, layout and other elements would load perfectly on any screen, be it an Android tablet, an iPhone, a Windows Phone or any other mobile device capable of browsing the Web.

As we have explained, that part can be handled by HTML4 and xHTML with no problem whatsoever. But you also have to consider that mobile broadband may not be as fast as your connection at home.

This is where HTML5 excels. The lighter code behind HTML5 Web sites can help it load faster even on slower connections.

Other HTML5 Benefits That Makes It Perfect for Mobile

Faster load times and properly displaying the Web site on any screen are not the only things that make HTML5 perfect for mobile devices. Here are some of them:

1. HTML5 can help give you better forms.

On desktops, you can get forms that make more sense and are more intuitive. It also makes it easier for visitors to fill out the form correctly. For example, if you come across a field that requires you to enter a date, a full calendar pops up, allowing you to pick any date that you want.

On mobile devices, there is an added layer of convenience with HTML5-powered forms. For example, once you get to a form field asking for an e-mail, your onscreen keypad will change from the ordinary QWERTY or input keypad you have to something with the @ sign and .com key included, making it easier for you to complete your e-mail address. Another example is the URL field, where your online keypad changes to include a www. key and a .com key.

It used to be that you would need to add complicated and lengthy codes just to achieve this. Now, it is all a matter of using the right input elements.

2. HTML5 allows you to have videos, audio and other multimedia content on your Web site.

One of the major problems of earlier smart phones is that these were not able to handle Flash, which enables most Web sites, such as YouTube, to play videos. HTML5 now allows you to embed multimedia files right into the code so no plugins or software needs to be run or installed in order to view these.

Long story short, you need to work with HTML5 if you want to make your responsive Web designing easier and quicker.

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