Should I bother to learn HTML4 or jump straight into HTML5?
I get asked this a lot by
While there are many differences between HTML 4.01 and HTML 5, they are both only versions of
No doubt there is heaps of excitement out there about how HTML5 and CSS3 are taking over the world but this is usually promptly followed by the disclaimer not to expect it to happen tomorrow or the day after but at some point in future when the browsers are ready.
There is a feeling of transition from HTML 4.1 to HTML 5 and it’s easy to see why the question is raised. While its important to learn the core of HTML and CSS, you don’t want to learn the deprecated stuff that you’ll never use, especially when the new standard is just around the corner.
In my opinion, however, the more experience you have with HTML 4.1, the more you will come to appreciate the new HTML5 standards. The larger part of HTML 4.1 is retained in HTML5 so will be a bit like walking through HTML basics and may result in a deeper understanding of HTML standards when you are finally exposed to HTML 5. There are heaps of books and resources online help learn HTML 4.1.
Most HTML5 tutorials, however, assume some knowledge of HTML 4.01 and teach HTML 5 like an upgrade of HTML 4.1 only showing the new elements e.g <audio> and <video> while outlining the dropped elements e.g. <font> and <center>.
Ideally a good book on HTML5 standards and markup, if you can find one, should let you to jump straight in. Most web developers have only just started playing around with HTML5 there are not too many good books or resources for the complete beginner.
Its only a matter of time before HTML5 really takes off and when it does, so will the online support and resources. Meanwhile if you cant get hold of any good HTML5 resource, you might want to consider beginning with some HTML 4.1.