Ah don’t you just enjoy all the hype and sniping that goes on when new features or standards are released. HTML5 has started things off with a bang, regardless of the actual full standard still being years away from being finalized, Web Browsers have jumped on implementing the new tags and functions. I don’t want to focus on the Audio/Video functionality of HTML5 instead for the moment lets simply have a look at some of the new tags that are part of the standard.
The Nav Tag
In HTML5 they have defined the new tag nav according to the documentation it functions the same as a div tag. The only difference is that it is used to contain navigation links and elements. The purpose behind the tag is to distinguish ad links, and other a tags in a website from the actual navigation. This tag is usefull for screen readers and similar products that assist the disabled, however the issue really comes down to why is it needed. Seriously all websites define navigation differently and I for one do not see existing developers or new ones being like oh its a navigation to go to the next page i must put it in a nav tag.
The Footer and Header Tag
Similar to the nav tag new footer and header tags have been defined. Why?? not all websites or pages will have footers and headers, and when they do for what purpose would you need to define a separate tag to define them. Once again the div tag serves the same purpose.
The Meter and Time Tags
Some additional impractical tags are the meter and time tags. These tags are supposed to be used to designate a measure and time respectively. However they behave as a span tag. I guess using the time tag the browser if it wanted could convert the displayed time into the users local time, that is if they specify the TimeZone and other information. As for having a meter tag to define a measure whether it is a percentage or a rating that is just plain impractical. If I was writing an article I wouldn’t take the time to go back though and wrap all my analytical data with meter tags.
75% 4 out of 5
The Menu Tag
The purpose of this tag for some reason I can’t fathom. It says in the specifications it is used to contain menu controls such as check boxes and etc, but for what purpose I have no clue. I can not think of a reason to use the menu tag in a website especially as the samples put list items in it, why wouldn’t you just use the ul or ol tags.
The Article Tag
The article tag is actually a good idea, imagine that. It’s purpose is to contain information that is not part of your site but instead of came from somewhere else. Have a scientific article that you are referencing a graph or data set from another source than wrap it in an article tag and it is known the content isn’t yours, combine it with the address tag and you have effectively cited the content.
Summary Wrap Up
So HTML5 has defined new tags to segregate the content on a website, including everything from headers, to articles, to sections, and even time. To put it simply … why? Everyone creates and designs their websites differently using different formats and breakdowns of contents, yes it would make it easier for the browser and the impaired but is it feasible that a normal content manager writing content would wrap their text in the tags, not at all. All the new tags are is simply more bloat to HTML serving no new functionality or benefit to the web. Of course I purposely didn’t mention the audio and video tags but I’ll discuss those later in their own article.