The state of HTML5 is an odd one. The W3C, the organization responsible for defining the language and all its particulars, has released its first public working draft for the new version of the web language but doesn't expect it to reach its final stage — the recommendation — until 2022.
That's not a typo: 2022. That's just a little over 11 years from the date of this writing.
However, the competition for browser marketshare is intense and none of the major browser organizations are waiting for one year much less 11. Numerous features are being implemented as currently specified. Though this is exciting for designers, it also adds elements of instability and confusion. Until standards are established, designers will have to carefully implement any new features and do so with eyes wide open to the risks and downsides.
Consequently, some features of HTML5 work today in some of the browsers. Unfortunately for the designer, implementation is not at all consistent across the board on pretty much any of the new elements. The goal of this lesson is to clear up the confusion and point the way forward for web designers willing and excited to blaze the trail.
The vast majority of the tags in the HTML5 language have been carried over from the previous version and are fully cross-browser compatible now. All the basics — text, images, links — are in place and work as before. Most other major structural elements like tables and forms can also be ...