Is HTML5 ready to be released into the wild?

HTML5 GraphicHTML 5 is the next major revision of the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) standard. The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group started production of the specification in June 2004 codenamed Web Applications 1.0. According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the international standards organization for the World Wide Web and the body responsible for overseeing development of the HTML standard, it is estimated that HTML5 will achieve W3C’s stamp of approval in late 2010.

The original deadline is quickly approaching and the lingering question is: Is HTML5 ready for prime time?

According to W3C, the answer is no.

Philippe Le Hegaret, leader of the W3C Interaction Domain and the one responsible for HTML5 development, was quoted this week admitting to video interoperability issues in a cross-browser environment causing delays.

Le Hegaret said, “The problem we’re facing right now is there is already a lot of excitement for HTML5 but it’s a little too early to deploy it because we’re running into interoperability issues including differences between video on devices.”

HTML5 is already being used in some cases, though. Specifically, web services are using it (mostly in beta modes) for its animation features where previously, third party plug-ins like Adobe Flash Player were required. You read that right — HTML5 will have full video support without having to rely on third-party proprietary plug-ins or codecs. With HTML5, adding video to a page will be as simple as adding an image today and there will be built-in controls to manipulate videos with volume adjustments, image rotation and more.

Another game changing feature is the canvas element which will allow rendering images on the fly. Just think — being able to implement instantaneous graphics rendering without having to rely on a third-party plug-in. An excellent example of the new Canvas feature is this drawing board. Another good example is this first person grifter, all accomplished using HTML5′s canvas feature. Both of these examples work in Firefox 3.5+, Chrome or Opera only.

The possibilities are limited only by the imagination so there’s certainly a lot to look forward to with HTML5 from a development perspective. The good news is some browsers already support most of the features proposed in the original HTML5 draft. Firefox, Opera and Chrome are very pro-active with implementing the new features. Internet Explorer is a bit slower to implement, but is making progress.

While HTML5 isn’t ready for prime time because of the lack of total browser support and interoperability issues, it’s certainly something to look forward to. What will HTML5 do for your website? Will you use it to replace Adobe Flash and any other multimedia applications that previously required a third-party plugin?

Richard Ward is a Sr. Web Applications Developer for OurChurch.Com. Richard's professional background is in LAMP style web development. Richard is also a technology enthusiast with a strong interest in emerging technologies. You can reach him at richard@ourchurch.com or on Twitter at @OCCRichard.

2 Responses to “Is HTML5 ready to be released into the wild?”

  1. PaulSteinbrueck Oct 12, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Work on the specs started in June 2004. Wow, and I thought the roll-out of new Twitter was slow. :)

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