In the latest months many web companies, browser developers and professionals talked about HTML5 as it is the new evolution/revolution for the web.

Practically speaking in which way HTML5 could improve existing web applications like Office Suites (e.g. Google Docs) or Social Network (e.g. Facebook), Online Photo Editor, etc.?

  • 2
    Is this actually on topic here?
    – delete
    Jul 1, 2010 at 0:58
  • @Kinopiko I think it is on topic, I am asking what practical features HTML5 could allow to implement in a web application.
    – Drake
    Jul 2, 2010 at 12:37
  • I'm wondering why nobody mention the offline caching. (stackoverflow.com/questions/1207150/html-5-offline-caching) Jul 28, 2010 at 20:18

6 Answers 6


It could improve existing web office applications that store data by uses the "Web Storage".

Coding social networking sites could be easier with SQL Databases and Web Workers to load different parts of the page. Also support for Notifications.

Online Photo Editors could use Drag and Drop.

These are just some ideas of how to use the new features of HTML 5 in your web application.

I think you should check out HTML 5 Rocks! They have a good list of features from HTML 5 and examples on how to use them. Plus resources and information about the latest news from HTML5.

  • Thank you for the link, I found two useful guides inside: slides.html5rocks.com and diveintohtml5.org. It seems that this year the support for a good number of HTML5 features will be added to most browser, probably 2011 we will see the results in web apps.
    – Drake
    Jul 2, 2010 at 12:49
  • The new Firefox 4 beta has tons of support for HTML5. You should check it out. Jul 7, 2010 at 19:40

There are probably 5 most talked about features

  1. Web workers - allows developers to run scripts in background work so a web application can do more than one thing at a time.
  2. Video tag - An easy way to do flash free video online, we just need a standard codec
  3. Canvas - Exactly what it sounds like, a way to create an image on the fly within the browser window
  4. Application Caches - Allows applications to store stuff so that you can use them later without being connected to the internet (Read your email later after it gets downloaded, Like Google Gears was)
  5. Geolocation - Ability for the browser to relay it's location to the application

Many of these features have already been implemented in some browsers and applications. Google latitude uses geo location, Google gears was a plug-in based implementation of the same ideas as application caches, Canvas like things have been done with JavaScript.

Web workers is new and can allow for a bunch of different things to happen inside web applications. Any kind of side processing that seems to work now, will be more smooth as a single thread can be dedicated to notifications or an in-site chat or other periodic processing task within the application.



The Canvas and Web Worker Threads are the most exciting aspects of HTML5 to me. I have written some web apps that make use of those features:

GioAUTHor [sic] makes extensive use of the canvas to let you plot paths on a map and then find the shortest route from the start to the finish (via Dijkstra's algorithm in JavaScript).

JavaScript Thread Demo makes limited use of the canvas but shows the use of Worker Threads, complete with demo code. It also makes use of the HTML5 input type="range" slider control.

HTML5 Browser support is as varied as the browsers themselves. There's a nice site (in HTML5, natch) about HTML5 readiness that shows who's ready for what.


My three favorites are CSS3, Canvas and WebSockets. Combined they can provide really powerful collaboration features to any webapp. WebSockets would replace pseudo-realtime messaging with ajax polling. The few things I see it used so far is web-based chat (lame) and mind mapping webapp (looks really cool when two people are mapping some project).

  • One curiosity: WebSockets will replace AJAX completely?
    – Drake
    Jul 2, 2010 at 12:50
  • 1
    They will not replace it. Ajax, as technology, will remain. It won't be used anymore for tasks, that fit WebSockets better.
    – Eimantas
    Jul 2, 2010 at 15:21
  • Ah ok, thank you for the explanation.
    – Drake
    Jul 3, 2010 at 19:18

HTML5's abilities are mainly replacing what Flash does, with the canvas and video tags making videos, games and online image editors much easier to do without Flash.

While this may not seem like a big-improvement, Flash is a much bigger problem on non-Windows platforms than Windows.


Most bandwidth speed tests are flash based. Now they can be html5 based... It means faster page load and more accurate bandwidth measurement.

A good example is: SpeedOf.me

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