There used to be a fairly straightforward choice for many web designers to make: Use Flash for interactivity or keep things static. Today’s websites however have far greater possibilities and, when combined with mobile and smartphone platforms, a huge array of different display choices.

So which technology is right for the job?

What is HTML5 and should I use it?

HTML5HTML5 is the in-development standard for the next major version of the HTML language. Currently, most websites use variants of either HTML4 (Characterized mainly by use of tables, and traditional HTML markup), or the newer XHTML 1.0 (essentially an interim standard between HTML4 and HTML5) characterized by self-closing tags, and separation of content from layout/design through extensive use of divs and CSS).

Amongst the major additions to HTML5 is native media features – video, audio and typography – that allow their standard use without requiring additional plugins. This ultimately streamlines their use and will allow for better performance for playback in the browser.

However, since this standard is still being developed and implemented – it should not be used as the core technology for sites that need to be accessible by a broad userbase. Currently it is still best if HTML5-specifics (<video> and <canvas> for example) are used in an enhancement role whereby XHTML 1.0/Javascript is used as a base and fallback – ie. assume that the user will not be able to use HTML5 and then enhance the site with the HTML5 features.

AJAX, Javascript and Flash – What’s the difference?

AJAX (which is a certain use or implementation of Javascript) and general framework libraries such as JQuery allow the development of websites and apps using standard HTML markup and content so that interactivity and animation can be achieved by direct client-side manipulation of the DOM (HTML code and associated resources in the page).

jQuery: The Write Less, Do More, JavaScript Library

This open and flexible approach to interactive content provides the underlying ability to generated content which is both machine-readable and search-engine friendly in addition to being rich and interactive for browsers with the necessary JavaScript support. While Flash is still a perfectly good option for providing a rich interactive experience, its use can now be limited to where it is really needed and useful – displaying or protecting graphical/visual elements which are separate from the semantic meaning or content of the page such as text, descriptions, language and website navigation etc.

Essentially, no site should now require use of Flash for its pages to ‘make sense’ or to simply function. Correct and effective use of modern web technologies and tools can allow the development of rich, flexible and engaging websites with minimal overheads, maximum platform compatibility and optimized structures for search engine indexing and rankings.

In this series, we will discuss various techniques and features of Javascript, CSS and HTML5 in more detail and feature some powerful tools and plugins that will help you create stunning websites. Stay tuned!

One Response to HTML5, AJAX, Flash or Javascript?

  1. peter says:

    good start…

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