For lunchtime reading (and cramming), Smashing Magazine has a very good introduction to HTML5 – specifically, as it puts it, the facts and the myths.
As the article says,
The facts are useful (basically, a history of where HTML5 came from), and rather than shamefully ripping off their content we’ll just give you the bullet points from the section they call…
• "I Can’t Use HTML5 Until 2012 (or 2022)"
(We’ve heard this one a few times in the comments around here. Ain’t so.)
• "My Browser Supports HTML5, but Yours Doesn’t"
(Willy-waving doesn’t make sense in the browser camp.)
• HTML5 Legalizes Tag Soup
(No, though it relaxes some things – no more searching for that missing />)
• "I Need to Convert My XHTML Website to HTML5"
(Nope, XHTML is a finished spec.)
• HTML5 Kills XML
(Not at all.)
• HTML5 Will Kill Flash and Plug-Ins
Actually, because this is perhaps one of the most contentious issues, we’ll quote what they say almost in full:
"Just as when CSS Web fonts weren’t widely supported and Flash was used in sIFR to fill the gaps, Flash also saves the day by making HTML5 video backwards-compatible. Because HTML5 is designed to be "fake-able" in older browsers, the mark-up between the video tags is ignored by browsers that understand HTML5 and is rendered by older browsers. Therefore, embedding fall-back video with Flash is possible using the old-school <object> or <embed> tags, as pioneered by Kroc Camen is his article "Video for Everybody!".
"But not all of Flash’s use cases are usurped by HTML5. There is no way to do digital rights management in HTML5; browsers such as Opera, Firefox and Chrome allow visitors to save video to their machines with a click of the context menu. If you need to prevent video from being saved, you’ll need to use plug-ins."
• HTML5 Is Bad for Accessibility
(It doesn’t have to be, though the <canvas> tag can be a problem; blame it on Apple.)
• "An HTML5 Guru Will Hold My Hand as I Do It the First Time"
(No, though there are already boilerplates that you can use. Just rejoice.)
Now you’ve got this far, you can go and read the article.
There’s also a video talk that Lawson gave at the 2009 OSCON conference on, yes, HTML5: the subject being "A pragmatic look at HTML 5 by experimenting with converting a real site to HTML 5 – how does it work? Where it useful and where is it annoying? How is support in current browsers?"
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