HTML5 Continues to Make Waves
HTML5 continues to spark discussion in many areas. Apart from being an upgrade to HTML 4.01, it also seeks to reduce the need for proprietary Internet application technologies.
This new update to HTML makes a considerable jump: developers will be able to embed video and audio directly into a web page, and plug ins such as Flash will not be required. This will avoid users having to download these plug ins directly or obtain browsers that come pre-bundled with them.
HTML5 will also enable rich applications to be built, with new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) delivering functionality such as drag and drop and web messaging. Having coded in HTML 4.0 and earlier over the years, using what have basically been versions of a formatting language, it is good to see it not being laid to rest as some predicted but evolving to accommodate dynamic scripting.
Central to the success of HTML5 will be the adoption of HTML 5 by major software manufacturers. Apple is currently engaged in a debate, or to be less diplomatic a dispute, with Adobe, and refuses to support Flash technology on its iPhone or iPad products. So they could be chalked up as an adamant advocate, having already adopted HTML5 in their Safari browser and within the iPad video player.
In the mobile arena Google has also thrown its weight behind HTML 5, though is hedging its bets in its newly released Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system which will likely support Flash like current Android versions do.
None of which means that providers of proprietary web applications don't have a vested interest in halting the adoption of HTML 5. Adobe, the owners of Flash, also sell the Web Toolkit Dreamweaver which last week announced the release of a free HTML5 extension pack for Dreamweaver CS5.
HTML5 is currently only a specification and it will not become a recommended standard from the W3C for a number of years to come, but this does not mean that it won't be adopted in technologies before then. Browsers such IE9, Firefox and Google Chrome are supporting elements such as the video tag within them.
When web sites using HTML 4.01 and earlier decide to migrate to HTML5 is anyone's guess, though it's unlikely to be soon. They may eventually be forced to for technical and business reasons, though this would be unlikely to happen for many years to come. Youtube, a technological trailblazer (O.K., a web 2.0 trailblazer) is already in Beta with a version that contains the HTML5 tag with browsers that support it.