UMSL logo

Computer Education & Training Center

HTML & HTML5 Classes

Overview of HTML & HTML5

HTML tags

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) uses element tags to define the structure of Web documents. For example, paragraphs are enclosed by beginning <p> and ending </p> tags to indicate that they are paragraphs, while first-level headings are marked by <h1></h1> tags. Having a clearly marked structure makes it easier for a computer and, in particular, search engines, to understand a document's content.

Unfortunately, in the early days of the internet, there were limited options for enhancing the appearance of your Web pages. As a result, designers extended the HTML tags in new ways to improve the appearance of the page. For instance, table tags, "<table></table>", were often use to precisely position elements on the page or create columns rather than being used for displaying tabular data. While this strategy worked some of the time, it often depended on the screen resolution of the monitor or device used to view the page. As mobile devices of varying sizes proliferate, a clear strategy is needed to maintain the structure of Web content while also allowing for aesthetics. HTML5 is one piece of the puzzle.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the next major revision of HTML standards. HTML5 includes many new features that allow you to create dynamic Web pages and makes it easier to provide viewers with multimedia experiences. The HTML5 standard is currently still evolving, although many portions of it have already been implemented by Web developers. Like previous versions of HTML, HTML5 is being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Best Practices with HTML5

Navigational divider in HTML4.01 and earlier:

<div id="nav">...</div>

Simplified Navigational divider in HTML5:


<input type="date">

Sample Date Input

New HTML5 Date Input Field

Many of the HTML5 changes reflect the best practice of using HTML for structuring Web documents, not for modifying their appearance. Appearance issues, such as color, layout, and other visual aspects, are better handled using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

In fact, many of the changes to HTML5 are geared towards taking advantage of the best practice of "the right tool for the job." The tags that will no longer be supported are primarily those related to formatting, which is better suited for CSS anyway. The new tags that were introduced in HTML5 will either encompass commonly-used techniques that previously required lengthy workarounds, or enable more effective interaction with other technologies such as JavaScript.

New Features of HTML5

HTML5 includes many new features, such as:

With HTML5, your code will be lighter 'weight' but will do more than older versions. Your code can be clear, simple, and more effective, especially when combined with other emerging technologies such as CSS3 or a JavaScript library like jQuery.

Normally, if an HTML5 tag is not supported, it will degrade gracefully and simply be ignored by the non-supporting browsers. As a result, many developers are already shifting to HTML5, with fallback techniques included as necessary.

HTML Classes

Our HTML classes will teach you the current HTML tags in addition to introducing code from the evolving HTML5 standard. You will develop a better understanding of the essential components of a Web page as well as some sound principles of design. Not only will you learn the basics of HTML for creating Web sites, you will also learn the principles to help you make quick adjustments to code created by Web design programs such as Dreamweaver.

If you already have a solid foundation in HTML, you may want to consider our Transitioning to HTML5 class.

[HTML Class Schedule]