Although it’s not part of the HTML5 spec, CSS3—the next major revision of the Cascading Style Sheets standard—is often associated with HTML, and Gubbay suggests that this is the best place for most designers to begin exploring the new web technologies.
CSS3 introduces another feature called Media Queries that promises to be a godsend as more web content is viewed through smartphones and tablets. It automatically detects the user’s screen size and orientation, and then lets you define CSS styles optimized for those dimensions. This means that a single web page can automatically configure itself for a desktop computer or smaller devices, as long as the browser supports CSS3. Click here to view a website that includes a brief tutorial and links to examples.
Scalable Vector Graphics
Although CSS3 enables relatively simple Flash-like animations, it “can’t really go the full spectrum” of interactive rich-media applications, Gubbay says. However, web developers seeking alternatives to Flash will have two other options: the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format and HTML5’s .
SVG is not a new technology. Based on XML, it was first proposed as a web standard in 1999. However, leading browsers were slow to provide native support for SVG, so a plug-in was required to view the files. The current version of Internet Explorer still requires a plug-in, but Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera now have at least partial SVG support built-in.
If these technologies catch on, he expects that application-development frameworks will eventually emerge to make coding easier. These are collections of software “building blocks” that take much of the grunt work out of programming, and he sees them as important enablers for HTML5. For example, a developer won’t have to worry so much about supporting specific browsers, because the framework will “abstract out the underlying differences,” he explains.
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