Guest Post: What Non-Developers Need To Know About HTML5

This article is by Dian Crawford, a partner at Tilt Agency in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband also own and operate Urban Grind, a coffee shop in Portland’s Pearl District (and a favorite spot for many of the city’s tech workers).

I’m not a developer. I’ve written some lines of code in my past, but not enough to allow me to say that I have any real skills. Still, I want to know a bit about how the websites I work with are made and how the tools translate to mobile and tablet. Ive read blogs about how to build a website and these have helped with my understanding.

For years developers have used HTML, along with CSS, JavaScript, Flash and other tools to create websites. But Apple’s refusal to adopt Flash on the iOS platforms has had a negative impact on the usage of Flash and caused brand publishers to rethink the tools they use to develop websites. While Flash is great for delivering video and other interactive content on a computer, it struggles to perform on mobile. And without Apple’s support, developers have looked to other tools for website development.

Enter HTML5, which is helping to address some of the shortcomings found in Flash. For instance, HTML5 can deliver rich content across all platforms and devices via the browser. This allows developers to develop a single site that will deliver a compelling interactive experience on any device, including video, audio and location services.

The downside to HTML5 is that it’s not standardized yet. The WC3 (World Wide Web Consortium – internet standards organization) hopes to have it ratified by 2014. This means that its capabilities and the tools to achieve those are changing. But, it seems like the changes will be more additive and not require changes to existing sites.

In talking with Bob Duffy, a Software Community Manager at Intel, he said, “At the moment HTML5 is showing a lot of promise. It’s still young, and developers are just starting to embrace it, as we see more features and tools for them to leverage.”

Even with lack of finalization of standards, it seems that the current level of adoption along with support for vendors, including Adobe, is helping HTML5 take off. And the increased usage of mobile/tablet devices to access content means that mobile-friendly standards are key for site owners and developers alike.


  1. My agency ( has done some cool stuff with HTML5 for this campaign: