More than four years ago, Steve Jobs declared war on Flash and heralded HTML5 as the way to go. You could be forgiven if you thought the HTML5 standard — the follow-up to 1997’s HTML 4 — has long been set in stone, given that developers, browser vendors and the press have been talking about it for years now. In reality, however, HTML5 was still in flux — until today. The W3C today published its Recommendation of HTML5 — the final version of the standard after years of adding features and making changes to it.
As a user, you won’t notice any changes. Chances are your browser already supports most HTML5 features like the <video> element and vector graphics (unless your employer forces you to use a really old version of Internet Explorer, that is). Other important new features that HTML5 has brought to the web over the last few years are things like the <canvas> element for rendering 2D shapes and bitmap images, support for MathML for displaying mathematical notations in the browser, and APIs for everything from offline caching to drag-and-drop support.