Since HTML5 is still only a markup language, what is meant when people say "HTML5 application"? Please explain.

  • You may want to mention where you got your current definition and what specifically you need clarification. Otherwise, this may get closed.
    – JeffO
    Sep 9, 2014 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


An HTML5 application is an application that uses HTML5/Javascript/CSS3 as its primary means of achieving a User Interface.

The term is significant, largely because this is considered a platform-independent way to get an application onto as many different mobile devices as possible. Android and iOS are pretty much completely different, but both platforms will work with applications written in HTML5/Javascript/CSS3. All you need is an HTML5 compliant browser.

  • With Javascript handling actual functionality, and HTML/CSS used purely for graphic design. Right?
    – Aviv Cohn
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:07
  • The demarcation is that Javascript is the actual Turing-Complete Programming Language in use. Graphics can be manipulated by Javascript using Canvas or a number of other techniques, so the line you're trying to draw is not that sharp. Sep 8, 2014 at 22:08
  • So in HTML5 apps, Javascript will always be the turing-complete language in use? Or is it also possible to use e.g. PHP?
    – Aviv Cohn
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:11
  • 1
    This is somewhat nitpicking, but people also often mean "browser features not actually part of the HTML5 spec per se, but part of some other standard developed at roughly the same time as HTML5". For example, WebGL isn't part of the W3C HTML5 spec. Most people don't need to care about the difference. Most people saying "HTML5 application" are unaware such distinctions are possible to make.
    – psr
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:39
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