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HTML vs HTML5: What's the Difference & Which One to Choose?

05th Sep, 2023
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    HTML vs HTML5: What's the Difference & Which One to Choose?

    During the early days of World Wide Web, HTML acts as the core foundation of multiple website development operations. But with the coming of HTML5, HTML has drastically changed in response to the rapid development of modern technology and also the rising standards of contemporary web design. When it comes to HTML vs HTML5, a plethora of new features and improvements has totally changed how the web pages are nowadays organised and used by multiple users. 

    Static web pages gave way to dynamic, multimedia-rich experiences during this phase. In this comparison, we will delve into the fundamental comparison between HTML and HTML5, examining the technological advancements that have ushered in a new era of functionality and interactivity for web development. 

    What is HTML?

    The body and the content of webpage can be created using HTML. The many elements of a webpage can be defined with the help of HTML, using numerous tags and attributes that are provided.

    It enables them to format content that web browsers can read, allowing users to view the content the developer intends to be seen by the general public. Online HTML course will help you learn more about the HTML format and gain skills to design complex layouts and organize CSS for large applications.

    What is HTML5?

    The latest version of HTML is HTML5, which brings with it multiple tools and capabilities that make the web-dev experience much more easier and appealing for use.

    With the plethora of developments included in the new version, namely HTML5, it brings along with it many improvements, such as its support for having multimedia elements easily in webpages, such as audio and video, as well as improvised capabilities to structure the page and also developed form controls. It is intended to make it possible to create more dynamic, interactive, and multimedia-rich websites and applications.

    HTML vs HTML5 Comparison Table

    What is the difference between HTML and HTML5? Let us find out in the below table:

    Multimedia Support
    Limited multimedia support
    Native audio and video support
    Semantic Elements
    Limited semantic elements
    Enhanced semantic elements for better structure
    Basic form controls
    Advanced form controls (e.g., date picker, range slider)
    Limited graphics support
    Canvas and SVG for rich graphics rendering
    Offline Storage
    No offline storage capabilities
    Provides offline storage capabilities
    No built-in geolocation support
    Supports geolocation capabilities
    Limited compatibility with modern browsers
    Better compatibility with modern browsers
    Mobile Support
    Limited mobile device optimization
    Enhanced mobile device optimization
    Limited JavaScript APIs
    Extended JavaScript APIs for enhanced functionality

    Now let us have a look at the multiple HTML and HTML5 difference parameters closely.

    HTML vs HTML5: Multimedia Support

    HTML, the predecessor to HTML5, had very limited multimedia support. It relied on some external plugins like the Adobe Flash to be able to handle various multimedia elements such as audio and video. This dependency on third-party plugins made the multimedia integration very complex and also sometimes unreliable. 

    But, with the development of HTML5, the support for multiple multimedia elements was introduced. It includes built-in audio and video tags, thereby removing the need for any external plugins. Developers can now smoothly embed audio and video content directly into web pages using the <audio> and <video> tags, specifying the source file and optional controls. 

    Furthermore, HTML5 provides additional multimedia elements features like autoplay, loop, and responsive scaling. This advancement in multimedia support has greatly simplified integrating and manipulating audio and video content, making web development more streamlined and accessible. Here, Web Development course will help you master essential web development skills like HTML, HTML5, CSS, and more.

    HTML vs HTML5: Semantic Elements

    When it comes to structuring web pages, HTML has a very limited semantic element set. These semantic elements provide meaning to the structure and also content of a webpage, thus making it more accessible and search engine-friendly. HTML5 has significantly enhanced this feature through the introduction of a range of improved semantic elements. 

    These elements, such as the tags: 

    • <header>
    • <nav>
    • <section>
    • <article>
    • <aside> and
    • <footer>

    Provide much clearer and more meaningful organization of content. Additionally, the semantic elements also improve accessibility by providing better cues to assistive technologies and screen readers. Using HTML5's semantic features, today’s developers can develop well-structured and also semantically meaningful web pages, enhancing user experience and optimization of search engines. 

    HTML vs HTML5: Forms

    Forms play a very crucial role in gathering the user’s input on web pages, and HTML5 brings some significant improvements to form handling compared to HTML. While HTML provided some basic form controls like text fields, checkboxes, and radio buttons, we now have advanced form controls that enhanced the user experience manifold. 

    HTML5 introduces new input types such as:

    • Email
    • URL 
    • Date 
    • Time 
    • Number and 
    • Range

    Thereby allowing for more precise input validation and also better user feedback. Moreover, HTML5 has brought the "placeholder" attribute, which enables developers to provide hints or also examples within form fields, improving usability and a better experience altogether. 

    Another notable feature is the addition of the "required" attribute, which ensures that certain form fields must be filled out before the form can be submitted. 

    HTML vs HTML5: Graphics

    Graphics play a very vital role in enhancing the web pages' visual appeal and also interactivity, and HTML5 has introduced multiple advancements in graphics rendering compared to the older HTML. 

    While HTML had limited graphics support, HTML5 provides two powerful options: 

    • The <canvas> element and 
    • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). 

    The <canvas> element present in HTML5, allows a developer to dynamically draw multiple graphics, animations, and also visual effects using the famous JavaScript. 

    On the other hand, SVG is also a markup language that is used to define vector-based graphics using XML. It enables a developer to create multiple scalable and also resolution-independent graphics, ensuring that visual quality is in sync across different devices and screen sizes. 

    HTML vs HTML5: Offline Storage

    One of the prime developments that came with HTML5 is the capability to provide offline storage capabilities. Unlike the older HTML, which used to heavily be dependent on online connectivity for its data access and storage, HTML5 now allows the various web applications to be able to store data locally on the user's device, making it much more reliable when needed. This is possible with the use of newer technologies, like Web Storage API and also the IndexedDB API. 

    HTML vs HTML5: Geolocation

    Geolocation, which is the ability to determine a user's geographical location, is a very important feature in many of today’s web applications with the coming of globalization and localization. HTML5 has thus implemented built-in geolocation support, whereas HTML did not have native geolocation capabilities. 

    With the help of HTML5, today’s developers can smoothly access any user's location information through the use of the developed Geolocation API. This API allows the web applications to propose a request for permission from the user to grant access to their device's location information, such as the latitude and the longitude coordinates. 

    By using this data, the developers can provide very precise location-based services, such as helping in finding any nearby stores or also displaying localized content. Geolocation opens up a plethora of possibilities for creating personalized and location-aware web applications. 

    Further, It enables the rapid development of many location-based marketing strategies, tracking user movements, as well as delivering some customized experiences based on geographical information. 

    HTML vs HTML5: Compatibility

    Compatibility is also a very crucial factor when developing any website or application that needs to work across multiple browsers and platforms. HTML5 offers a much-improved compatibility and capability compared to the older HTML. While HTML had various levels of support and inconsistencies across working with other browsers, HTML5 was designed and developed with smoother compatibility in mind. 

    HTML5 has introduced a very standardized set of optimized features and also specifications widely adopted by many and also supported by multiple modern browsers, thereby reducing any cross-browser compatibility issues. This implies that a developer can write the HTML5 code confidently, knowing it will smoothly work consistently across major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. 

    HTML5's improved compatibility allows for a very seamless user experience, without any restrictions on the browser or platform used. It also makes the development process easier by reducing the need for any browser-specific workarounds or polyfills.

    HTML vs HTML5: Mobile Support

    As mobile devices continue to dominate the internet usage market, providing an optimal user experience on all smartphones and tablets has become of utmost importance. HTML5 offers a very smooth and enhanced mobile device optimization compared to the older HTML. While HTML had capabilities to provide limited mobile support, HTML5 was strategically and specifically crafted to cater to the needs of the rising mobile industry. 

    HTML5 comes with capabilities of responsive design principles, thereby allowing the developers to craft websites and also applications that be adapted seamlessly to multiple screen sizes and orientations. It brings with it features like some media queries, which enable a developer to apply precise styles based on the designated device's screen size. 

    To add to this, HTML5 had also introduced touch events, which allow the user a much better interaction with devices having touchscreens, enabling gesture capabilities like swiping, pinching, and tapping. Lastly, HTML5 also supports features like device orientation, accelerometer, and geolocation, allowing for more optimal and engaging mobile experiences. 

    With today’s HTML5's improved mobile support, a developer can craft multiple mobile-friendly websites and also applications that promise to deliver a very consistent and optimized user experience across a plethora of various devices, enhancing usability and user satisfaction.

    HTML vs HTML5: APIs

    HTML5 has brought to the game an extensive set of optimized and developed JavaScript APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) as compared to the older HTML. While HTML has a very limited JavaScript APIs selection to choose from, HTML5 has extended the capabilities of web applications manifold by providing a very wide array of APIs for improved functionality. 

    These optimized APIs have capabilities to cover various areas such as the multimedia, graphics, communication, storage, and much more. For example, the HTML5 Web Audio API allows a developer to programmatically craft and thereafter manipulate any audio content, allowing for a greater interactive audio experience. 

    The WebSockets API facilitates for a real-time communication between a web server and a designated client, thus enabling any bi-directional communication and dynamic updates. 

    How are they Similar?

    Along with the differences between HTML and HTML5, they have shared several similarities while serving as the preferred markup languages for structuring multiple web pages. Here are some of their key similarities:

    Syntax: Both of the markup languages use a very similar syntax with implementing tags(thought HTML vs html5 tags may differ a bit in terms of backwards compatibility), attributes, and elements to define the design and the content of a web page.

    Basic Tools: The markup languages provide a set of basic capabilities, such as the headings, the paragraphs, the types of lists, the images, the hyperlinks, and also form controls.

    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): HTML and HTML5 work hand-in-hand with the famous CSS to control the layout and styling of a web page. CSS can be thus used in all the versions to modify the appearance of a web page and also its design.

    Browser Interpretation: Both the markup languages are read and rendered by multiple web browsers and thereafter display the content accordingly.

    Accessibility: Both versions support a plethora of accessibility features, allowing a developer to craft many web pages that include and are accessible to users with disabilities.

    While the modern HTML5 introduces a significant number of enhancements and also new features, it still maintains backward compatibility with the older HTML. The existing HTML pages can also be rendered and thereafter displayed correctly in any HTML5-compatible browsers. This thus ensures that a smooth transition is present and also allows a developer to gradually implement any new features without abandoning their existing codebase.

    What Should You Choose Between HTML vs. HTML5?

    Now, the question comes what should I learn HTML or HTML5? When it comes down to making the decision of choosing between the older HTML and the modern HTML5, the decision depends mainly on the precise requirements of a designated web development project.

    If you are working on a rather simple and basic website, which will need only some basic features and also compatibility with the older browsers is crucial, you should probably be sticking with HTML. 

    However, if your prime goal is to build a very modern, interactive website with the implementation of multiple multimedia elements, offline storage, geolocation, and many other advanced features, HTML5 is definitely the preferred choice. 

    HTML5 will significantly improve your multimedia support experience along with the semantic elements, forms, graphics, offline storage, geolocation, compatibility, mobile support, and also be capable of having many modern APIs. It provides a much more robust and also future-proof platform for crafting many dynamic, engaging, and mobile-friendly web experiences.

    In most cases, choosing modern-day HTML5 is a preferred choice, as it offers a much wider range of updated features and also capabilities and aligns with the ever-developing standards and expectations of the modern web development environment.


    Both markup languages represent a very different stage of the ever-developing evolution of web markup languages. HTML can be defined as a server acting as the foundational language for creating basic web pages. While, HTML5 brings to the table a host of new advancements and new features that rapidly enhance functionality, interactivity, and multimedia integration.

    While the good old HTML still has its significance for the creation of simpler projects or with compatibility considerations, HTML5 is definitely the preferred choice for utilizing the web's full potential and also delivering an optimal user experience across a plethora of different devices and platforms. KnowledgeHut online HTML course will help you learn by doing, build real-world projects in a work-like environment, and get work-ready for the HTML learning.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What new features does HTML5 introduce compared to previous versions of HTML?

    HTML5 introduces new features such as native support for multimedia elements (audio, video), enhanced semantic elements, advanced form controls, canvas and SVG for graphics, offline storage capabilities, geolocation support, improved compatibility with modern browsers, mobile device optimization, and an extended range of JavaScript APIs.

    2Can HTML5 be made backwards compatible with earlier HTML versions?

    The answer is that HTML5 is somewhat backward compatible with earlier versions of HTML and can be utilised as and when necessary. To put it into words, it’s better to try out the variations and thereafter depending on the results, you’ll be able to know which one is supported as different browsers support different syntaxes.

    3Has the syntax of HTML and HTML5 undergone any substantial changes?

    Even though some new tools have been developed, HTML and HTML5 generally share the same fundamental syntax. Although you may want to check whether the backward compatibility still sticks with the new elements that were added to HTML5.

    4Does HTML5 provide improved support for responsive design and mobile devices?

    Yes, HTML5 delivers significantly improved support for mobile devices and a very responsive design. It comes much more optimized for the modern day devices and is being contantly updated with more developed features as newer versions come out.

    5Should I learn HTML or HTML5?

    It is recommended to learn HTML5 instead of just HTML, due to the increased potential and capabilities that HTML5 holds over HTML. HTML5 comes with a plethora of new possibilites and allows for a better and even workspace environment across all browsers, with little to no errors.


    Utkarsh Konwar

    Blog Author

    I'm Utkarsh, a student pursuing the field of Computer Science Engineering alongside a corporate career in Full Stack Development, Creative Content Writing, and as a Marketing Associate, with more than 5 years of experience.

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