There's a new protocol for websites that aims to take out the need for proprietary plugins such as Adobe Flash Player. Introducing, HTML5. Before you go Googling just what any of that means, let's take a look at just what exactly HTML5 is. We'll also get a look at what Twitterers are saying about HTML5 with a new site that embraces the future of web protocol, named HTML5 Canvas.
The acronym "HTML" stands for "hyper text markup language". Basically, if you view the source code of any website, you'll see a bunch of gibberish tags that instruct your web browser how to display the site to you. For example, <img> means "image", and there are other parameters set out by the language of HTML to specify height and width. The tag <a href="http://blahblahblah.com"> is how you make links out of images and text. What is meant by saying "a href" is basically "hyperlink referrence", and the address in the quotes is what you want to link to.
The current version of HTML used in most websites is limited in its capacity to display objects that have Flash video in them. If you go on YouTube, you'll see a text box just under the description that has what is called an "embed" code. If you take any of those embed codes and look inside them, you'll find that a website is creating a space for the video, tagged with <object>, and then calling on YouTube to stream the video into the new website.
The problem with this is that the videos coming from YouTube, until very recently, required that the browser have a plugin from Adobe in order to handle the video correctly. By developing a web protocol that handles flash automatically, browsers will be able to display images and video correctly without any other help from plugins. This might seem like a "so what" moment for many of you that aren't web developers, but when you consider that most cell phone browsers don't have support for plugins, you start to see the significance of this development.
If all this seems exciting to you, then you'll have a good time checking out the buzz about HTML5 on HTML5 Canvas. The site is a graphical interface that collects tweets related to HTML5 and displays them to you with swirling colors. Each dot is a separate tweet, and the dots will do fun little dances for you while you read. Of course, it is just a small example of what HTML5 can do, but for developers, the fun has just begun.