HTML5: What It Means for You

HTML5 and CSS3 are clearly the future of the web. At first, they’re most likely to gain traction on mobile devices, and anyone creating content in that realm should be learning about these technologies. But even if you don’t see an immediate need to take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3, this is a good time to begin educating yourself. “I think in general, following blogs and staying on top of what’s going on and what’s being implemented is really key,” says Paul Gubbay, vice president of engineering, design & web at Adobe.

If you’re targeting a specific platform such as the iPad, “you should be able to get a decent amount of information about what you’ll be able to do,” he says. On the other hand, “if you’re dealing with multiple platforms, then you really need to keep in mind that a direction you’re taking is going to work across the platforms that you care about. You don’t want to go in one direction and find out it just sucks somewhere else.”

He also advises web designers to keep an eye on the HTML5 frameworks that are beginning to emerge, such as Sencha Touch, which enables development for mobile devices.

What you shouldn’t do, he says, is simply follow the spec and wait for the W3C’s formal recommendation. “If you could do this really cool thing that you could never do before, and all the browsers support it across all the devices you care about, you’re going to do it.”

Whatever direction these technologies take, he promises that Adobe will support creative professionals even if it means working outside of Flash. This includes web developers who currently rely on Flash and ActionScript, as well as graphic designers who are not so technically inclined. For the latter group, “that could be with tooling that makes it more accessible for them to do interesting things through a GUI, so they don’t have to know too much about the underlying details,” he says. Or it could be tools that make it easier to export the appropriate content from Illustrator and Photoshop. “All those things are in the bucket of areas that we’re looking at.”

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Stephen Beale has been writing about computer technology since 1983. He’s the author of seven books on computer applications in the graphic arts and a former news and reviews editor for Macworld.  He’s currently editor of a website for public relations professionals in health and medicine.



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