HTML5: A Look Behind the Technology Changing the Web

A year and a half after Steve Jobs endorsed it in an unusual essay, a set of programming techniques called HTML5 is rapidly winning over the Web.

The technology allows Internet browsers to display jazzed-up images and effects that react to users’ actions, delivering game-like interactivity without installing additional software. Developers can use HTML5 to get their creations on a variety of smartphones, tablets and PCs without tailoring apps for specific hardware or the online stores that have become gatekeepers to mobile commerce.

That promise—and the lure of Apple Inc. devices in particular—is sweeping aside alternative technologies. In the latest development, Adobe Systems Inc. said Wednesday it will pull back on pushing the rival Flash format opposed by Mr. Jobs for mobile devices.

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