Drupal And HTML5

Jul 29, 2011

Drupal And HTML5

With the advent of HTML5-supported browsers, many web developers are looking to switch to using HTML5 for many of their media needs, including the big one: embedded video. While most of the web developing world uses Flash for their embedded video needs, now that HTML5 is on its way and browsers are starting to support it, some web developers want to be on the bleeding edge and switch their sites over to HTML5.

The big question, however, is whether or not current Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal will support HTML5, especially in their themes. It’s a more-or-less well-known fact that CMSs, due to their larger nature, can be slower in adopting newer technology; it can be a release or two (or more) before CMSes adapt to the technologies that homegrown websites have been using for months. Is there a way to create modules and themes for HTML5 that will allow Drupal users to be as cutting-edge as their non-CMS using counterparts?

Well, as with so many things out there, it turns out the truth is kind of a mixed bag. HTML5, of course, is not dependent on Drupal. An HTML5-supported browser can render any HTML5 elements you choose to put in the website. What this question is REALLY asking is whether Drupal 6 templates can be modified to include HTML5 elements in their themes. Drupal 6, as of this writing, does not officially support the use of HTML5 in its templates or themes; however it is possible to modify any Drupal 6 theme to use HTML5 semantic elements. Such modifications of the Drupal templates are done in the core application code and thus requires technical expertise that most Drupal users may not possess.

So what does this mean for us average Joe, non-technical Drupal users? Well, it means that, for the time being, Drupal doesn’t officially support HTML5; that means that we won’t be seeing embedded Ogg Theora video options in the CMS settings anytime soon. That said, however, the fact that Drupal themes can be modified to fit HTML5 semantics quite easily means we will soon be seeing third-party support for HTML5 in the form of custom themes and modules that will add embedded video and other HTML5 goodies to your Drupal site!

In conclusion, it is difficult to give an answer to the question “Will Drupal support HTML5?”. HTML5 is itself independent of Drupal, and so the question relies more on the browser support than anything else. The question should rightly be put forth as “Will there be an official support for HTML5 semantics and inclusion of HTML5 elements into the CMS?”, in which case the answer is no at the moment; don’t be surprised, however, to find that very soon modules and themes are put forth that add that functionality into Drupal proper!

Michael Dorf teaches at LearnComputer! (learncomputer.com), which offers instructor-led local, online and onsite Drupal Training to companies and public. Consider enrolling in our upcoming Drupal Training course today to get your site up and running on Drupal in just TWO days! This will be one of the most effective courses you’ve ever taken! While you are on our site, check out an article on how to Optimize Drupal or any other Drupal article from our vast technical repository.