The buzzword “HTML5” came and went a few years ago, but the standard itself wasn't made final until the end of 2014. In the five-plus years it took the “second coming of this Web stuff” to be fully realized and ratified, we got deep into the changes, examined how early adopters pushed HTML5 to its limits, and surfaced more than a few hard truths about the limitations of the spec.
Of course, the lag time is to be expected. For all the talk about the pace of innovation on the Web, we’re still dependent on several aging protocols that could cripple the Internet. When any misstep could break the Web, or at least more than a few websites, you have to move slowly. Thus, this is the perfect time to start thinking about the next iteration of the HTML spec.
Granted, many of the ideas in HTML5 are still new and are slowly making their way into websites, but anyone who has worked with HTML5 can already see room for improvement. Consider this a call to action: What do you want to see in HTML6? Which new tags and features could make developing for the Web simpler, quicker, and less error-prone? What new features would make websites better, faster, slicker, or simply more fun?
Here are 10 proposals for a better HTML6. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
HTML6 proposal No. 1: More control over the video object
We may never resolve the battle over the compression codec, but we can live with it. Different compression algorithms may take more work to implement, but they offer competition. What would be nice would be more control over how the video frames are painted on page. The current version fills a rectangle with a sequence of frames from a video and gives us control over a text track with annotations, subtitles, and whatnot. Some clever people have started using this to sync the annotations with the other DOM objects. But how about better callback hooks and synchronization mechanisms? How about the ability to mix DOM with video, for instance?
HTML6 proposal No. 2: Browser-sizing of imagery
How many pixels does a photo need to look good on a screen? It varies from mobile to laptop to desktop. Even the size of the window changes the minimum resolution. But the HTML standard
<img> tags get only one SRC, which points to one image file that may have too many or too few pixels for efficient rendering. If it has too many, the browser must downgrade the image to display it, wasting all that network bandwidth and time. If it has too few, it looks cruddy. A better HTML protocol could suggest a desired width or height for the image, and the server could deliver the optimal resolution.
HTML6 proposal No. 3: Pluggable languages
The HTML4 recommendations suggest that someone might use types like
text/vbscript, but does anyone actually use these? Microsoft has deprecated
text/vbscript with IE11, and it’s doubtful many people at what used to be Sun have worked with tcl in recent years.
It doesn't need to be this way. Google is pushing Dart slowly, and the Web page for the version of Chromium with a real version of Dart includes this ominous warning: “Do not use Dartium as your primary browser, and do not distribute Dartium to users!”
HTML6 proposal No. 4: Pluggable preprocessors