HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is a formatting language that programmers and developers use to create documents on the Web. HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML.

For most of us, HTML is behind the scenes and not really something we ever think about. However, you may have heard of HTML during the last couple of years as it made national news when Apple refused to support Flash animation in favor of HTML5 on the iPhone and iPad.

How does this affect me?
The booming mobile market is probably the biggest proponent in HTML5’s popularity. While Apple created a stir when they refused to support Flash on their mobile devices, the truth is that most mobile devices either don’t support Flash, or don’t support it well.

HTML5 is largely making its mark on the Internet by overcoming the limitations of Flash and older versions of HTML. Simply put, it is responsible for the enhanced features in videos, audio and graphics that are not as reliant on third-party plug-ins.

To the consumer, this means finding, downloading, or viewing content such as videos will become easier, lighter and quicker. Searching locally will become more reliable as HTML5’s geolocation feature becomes the standard.

For marketers, it means reaching more clients and ensuring a common user experience. Additionally, as more and more browsers become HTML5 compatible, it will mean less programming, fewer updates and less cost to maintain your Web presence.

Will HTML5 replace Flash?
Yes and no. While HTML5 is the future for the vast majority of our interactivity on the Web, Flash still has a niche for complex animations and video games.

For audio and video, HTML5 will largely replace Flash on the Internet as this method does not require the end user to have a third-party plugin. In large part, this has already happened.

Simple animations, image transformations, charting, drag-and-drop, geolocation, 3-D vector graphics, and simple interactivity that once required Flash to achieve are now achievable via HTML5.

Complex animations, video games, and other applications that are too intricate will still require the use of Flash.

How soon should I consider using HTML5?
Immediately. Even though it is still in development and not yet supported in all browsers, it is the future of Web development. Implementation now will require some additional code for browsers without support, but this is a common technique used for outdated browser support.

Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari are currently supporting most elements of HTML5. For Internet Explorer, limited support for HTML5 began with IE8 and was extended with IE9 – IE10 promises to bring Internet Explorer in line with the other major browsers.

Still don’t get it?
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Maybe a little too bleeding edge for most businesses, but wow!