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Web Developer Basics: Differences Between HTML4 And HTML5

Jan 21, 2011, 15:18 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Fiedler)

"Now that we've seen how to use some of the newer whiz-bang features of the draft HTML5 standard, it's time to take a few steps back and take a look at some of the other differences between HTML4 and HTML5.

"This article is intended to be a useful overview, not an exhaustive reference, but remember that things are still and always changing. The complete, up to date list of all the technical differences may always be found on the W3C's site. You also may want to refer to this document for the actual details of the HTML5 specification itself.

"The first thing you should know is that, perhaps for the first time, the development of a language standard is acknowledging the real world. In order to keep file compatibility with the current standard - which is technically HTML 4.01 - the brave decision was made to separate the way the web browser renders files from the way we, as developers, must write them. So the browser, or "user agent", must still process HTML4 constructs like the center element, because there will still be millions of files on the Internet that happen to use it. But we won't be writing any more HTML with center; it's simply being dropped from the language (use CSS instead). This compatibility goes both ways: older browsers can (and will) simply ignore HTML5 code without screwing things up."

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