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HTML5 gets a logo, but isn't ready yet as a final product

01.19.2011
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Fireworks and celebrations, HTML5 got a logo. Cool, isn't it? Or is it? A standard that didn't reach a final revision is already marketed as the next-generation panacea that will help everyone on the web. You can buy stickers and shirts, put the logo on your website and what not. All available here. I don't have anything against it and I admit it - it does look nice. But let's think about it on a different level. Why a standard that isn't fully supported in any of the available browsers and is planned to have its final specs available in 2022, gets a logo, in 2011? Why not focus on the actual development of the specifications? There are many opinions on this, mainly people thinking that it is all about marketing, and it indeed it is. This whole situation rezonates to me the same way as this analogy with cars - for now it's plain advertisement of a prototype car that is sold in some places and sometimes you might have the chance to drive it. But nobody guarantees you that it will drive well wherever you go and in some places it might not even start. But at the same time, every town and big city is filled with billboards and posters "how great <Model X> is".

Frankly saying, I couldn't care less about the logo itself -  I'd like to see full support of HTML5 in major browsers. IE9, Firefox 4 and Chrome do have some level of support for the fresh standard, but not even close to be able to say that I can enjoy every single HTML5 capability there. Even though it is the developers'  responsibility to fully implemnent HTML5 in their browsers, why not wait until there are several solid builds that have HTML5 support at a decent level and then start promoting it? Trying to knock RIA platforms off, the marketing machine in this case took it a bit over the limit to get people excited about something that's not yet there. By getting people excited about HTML5 right now, W3C forgets about the fact that developers are prone to disappointment with specific tools. And although there are already lots of people who are quite pumped about the whole "no more Flash" thing, not everyone realizes that if they start working solely with HTML5 at this point, they will miss a significant market group - people who don't have HTML5-compatible browsers. There are millions of those.

What happens next is something that is well-expected. If HTML5 is not supported (at it's full capacity) by major browsers, developers will switch to the tools that are supported, like Silverlight and Flash. And HTML5 will be avoided in many cases, as much as impossible this sounds. No, HTML5 is not doomed, it will simply be used less = "Remember when we tried using HTML5 for that? Yeah, me too." With the current deadlines, I do believe that by 2022 we could (not that we necessarily will) see a completely different replacement for HTML - maybe a more media oriented markup (maybe it's not even going to be markup based) language. Instead of trying to push an unfinished product on the market, W3C should speed up the approval process and make sure that there is a finished and well-defined standard as soon as possible, and this should not be measured in years. Yeah, of course I understand that HTML5 is intended to be a replacement for HTML4, DOM2 HTML and XHTML1, but still - take the software industry as an example. How many users would say that they are willing to wait till 2022 to update their OS. None, and if it takes that long, people will start switching to something else that is better maintained and updated at a much faster pace. The key in today's IT industry is speed. If you can create a high-quality product fast, you are most likely to win.

I am not opposing the expansion of HTML5 - I think it is a great improvement and it will have its impact on the web. What I am trying to emphasize, though, is that there should be specific priorities - have it done and then market it. Or at least expect to get it done and ready in a shorter time span.

 

Comments

Nicolas Frankel replied on Wed, 2011/01/19 - 2:38am

Couldn't agree with you more! Also remember that HTML5 is in Draft state which makes all current implementations irrelevant because all that is written there can theoritically be wiped clean from one day to the next.

Stop the hype around HTML5: it is not ready and won't be before long!!!

Andy Leung replied on Wed, 2011/01/19 - 10:36am

Nice thought but IMHO, HTML 5 is just a new version of HTML. Think HTML is like basic software of internet, when it is upgraded, you almost can't get away from it. So I don't understand how browsers are not following. I see IE had never followed W3C standard anyway, so IE never counts toward standard (standard doesn't mean more people using it).

Den D. replied on Wed, 2011/01/19 - 12:18pm

Well it's exactly what Nicolas is saying - since there is no final version, we might end up with implementations that will quickly became outdated because there was a decvision change @ W3C.

Add to that the incertainty that starts to appear among some developers about the actual implementations.

Valentin Jacquemin replied on Thu, 2011/01/20 - 3:06am

You might be interested by http://blog.whatwg.org/html-is-the-new-html

In two words: living standard. Waiting 2022 to have a final specification to use HTML5 is not a good advice IMHO. The spec is split in several modules and some of them are mature enough to be used today. If you wait 2022 to learn new features of HTML, good luck but you'll have a pretty long path to catch up.

Look at this comment too. whatwg works hand to hand with browser vendors, closer than w3c has been used to at least I'd say...

Den D. replied on Thu, 2011/01/20 - 9:24am

I say it's about time they published this - that should clear some of the confusion, but the fact remains a fact - when working with an unfinished product (be it a physical product or standard), chances are someone will be majorly disappointed when a specific piece becomes broken due to a missing implementation. Having a goal to maintain backwards compatibility and actually maintaining it are two different things.

But we'll see - time will show to what point this is going to grow.

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