IE9. Get ready, it’s going to be huge.

HTML5 just got a whole lot meatier. It’s for real, the software giant Microsoft has thrown its weight behind web standards, including HTML5. You’d better hop on board, the train is leaving the station. By the looks of things they may have left some baggage behind.

One thing that stands out is the absence of <canvas>. It may still come considering their web standards binge. On the other hand, it’s a competitor to Silverlight.  <canvas> is the one thing that could potentially replace it, and Flash for that matter. SVG is great but it doesn’t have the same flexibility, media integration and speed. Although it’s not far off. The fact that Microsoft has decided to support it is a huge boost for a standard that has been around for what seems like forever. It will be interesting to see what new things we’ll see now that it has been brought back to life. Libraries like Raphaël will do very well this year. If you bet on SVG, you’re a winner.

One of my favourite CSS3 properties has now also gained full crossbrowser status and that’s RGBa. This give designers so much room for effects and general UI richness that we’ll see a real change in the way the web looks. Rounded corners, drop shadows, opacity, and web fonts may sound trivial but trust me, they will have a huge impact on design. Hopefully Microsoft will add gradients to the mix. In any case a change is coming and it will be bigger than you could have imagined.

Update: Some clues that IE9 may actually get the <canvas> element when released. I’m not entirely sold on the notion, but still, it would be the most persuading statement that Microsoft has gone all out on web standards.

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