Wednesday, October 29, 2014

HTML 5 Is Official

The W3C has announced that HTML 5 is now an official recommendation. This designation is, in some ways, just a formality, but it is important for SAS. It paves the way for the HTML destination of ODS to deliver results in HTML 5 format in future SAS releases. For ODS purposes, HTML 5 is only slightly different from HTML 4, so you may not notice the difference in the way ODS codes output tables. An advantage of HTML 5, though, is that there is more agreement among web browsers about the way HTML 5 documents should be displayed. This particularly affects spacing details such as cell padding, the small blank area between the data in a table cell and the cell border. In previous HTML versions, browsers did not agree on whether this spacing should be counted when computing the cell width and height. The result is that tables can look noticeably different from one browser to another.

With greater consistency in spacing in HTML 5, you can have more confidence that output files will have a similar look and feel for everyone who looks at the output, regardless of the browser they are using. This in turn should allow style sheets to be more precise, specific, and efficient in the visual design of HTML output tables from SAS, matching the precision that you can already expect in paginated destinations such as PDF.

The HTML destination is one of the most important in ODS, since it is often the default destination. HTML 5 as the default could come with some style sheet adjustments. These are things programmers can look for in the next SAS release.