HTML5 Website Builders
By Norman Brauns
Have you wondered what it takes to build an HTML5 website, or what the differences are between HTML5 and previous versions of the language? These guidelines and tips give you the foundational knowledge you need to decide how to proceed with building your website. Learn why it's important for your website to use HTML5, and discover the tools and hosting providers for creating and hosting your HTML5 website.
HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language,” and it's the core language for structuring and presenting content in Web browsers. When you a request a Web page, the Web server sends back an HTML file that is in turn rendered in the browser window.
HTML files can be either flat or dynamically generated. In the case of flat HTML files, the website's HTML pages are built individually and copied to the Web server when ready. This is the easiest way to create a website, these days, most sites are built by database-powered Web applications, or content management systems like WordPress or Drupal. Websites powered by a database back end store all the site's raw contents—such as blog entries and text—in a database. When a visitor requests a particular page, the website retrieves the page's data from the database, builds the HTML on the fly, and sends it to the browser.
The Rise of HTML5
HTML5 is the latest specification for the decades-old HTML Web programming language. Due to changing Web usage patterns over the years, the language has expanded significantly to allow for richer interactions and display elements. Initially, the early Web consisted of text-based pages and sparsely placed images, but today's websites are fully interactive, immersive experiences with video and social functionality. The HTML language has been updated over the years to incorporate these evolving features and capabilities.
So what can an HTML5 website do that a legacy HTML website can't? The list would fill a whole book, but some highlights include improvements to make Web experiences more dynamic and interactive, including the ability to display advanced in-browser animations and expanded control over device inputs or sensors such as webcams. Some of the most profound and important changes in HTML5 deal with how the language treats the content itself; HTML5 lets you define the intent of your content, rather than just assigning formatting or styling to it.
In HTML5, tags can define specific types of content blocks, so anything between the respective tags is treated as that type of content. For example, in the past, building navigation elements required extensive styling and directives to format them correctly. Now, you only need to use one set of nav tags to define navigation elements. Similarly, inserting content between article tags lets you automatically style article contents.
The most widely lauded feature of HTML5 is its compatibility across a broad range of devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Websites and apps built with HTML5 offer the same or a comparable experience regardless of what type of computer or device they are viewed on. In the same vein, HTML5 works the same on all mobile device operating systems, including iOS, Windows, or Android. Many mobile app developers solely utilize HTML5 for this reason—instead of building for either iOS or Android, they can develop in HTML5 and have their app available to all devices at once. This means developers don't have to learn vendor-specific languages like Objective-C (iOS) or Java (Android).
HTML5 Website Builders
HTML5 builders are useful for creating entire sites as well as specific website functions. Many Web hosting vendors offer their own HTML5 editors through cPanel or other website management consoles. Customers logging into their accounts can access these tools directly via their administration consoles. Additionally, companies like Wix and SquareSpace offer free HTML website creator tools built into their workflows for easy website creation.
Generally speaking, most Web hosting providers that offer tools for simplified Web page authoring comply with HTML5 specifications.
Certain HTML5 builders are designed for specific purposes or are intended for building individual components of a site, rather than the entire website. For example, Animatron is a free HTML5 website creator that specializes in making sophisticated animations without coding. Similarly, Tumult Hype is a free HTML5 website builder that helps individuals create rich Web interfaces.
By using an HTML5 builder to craft your website, your visitors can enjoy an optimal web experience, regardless of what device and platform they are using. HTML5 is the most up-to-date specification for the language, so most websites are already using it or are migrating their sites.
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