Everyone wants to own this kid: HTML5

Question: A kid that everyone wants to adopt and no ones exactly knows what it is?

Clue: It’s not Justin Beiber!

Answer: HTML 5

Sencha Touch supports official HTML5 specs such as Offline & Storage, Device Access, Performance & Integration, Multimedia, Graphics, 3D & Effects and CSS3/StylingHTML5 is being hailed as the next BIG thing in technology after creation of WWW. Designers have bought into this lock stock and barrel. Developers are starting to dip their feet into this technology. There is truth to the importance of HTML 5 as it represents the next version of HTML than we currently use. Also, major technology companies adopting this almost present a consensus of validity of HTML5. This next version allows for richer media, richer semantics and more application like features (geolocation, local storage, background programming etc). The only issue is that it is still years away from being formalised as a standard. Browser makers including Google, Microsoft and Mozilla are elbowing each other to declare support for HTML 5 (IE9 and Chrome already have some HTML 5 support). Windows 8 is widely rumored to adopt HTML 5 scripting for writing Win 8 applications.

This race is going to continue for sometime as the standard turns mature and stable. Till then, we are likely to witness more noise than substance over this.

So, in this race what tools can you use to develop HTML 5 web apps? Microsoft has two:

  1. Visual Studio 2010 SP1 – HTML 5 and CSS 3 Update
  2. Expression Web SP1

The above tools would let you setup HTML 5 pages and provide intellisense (tooltips if you will). Full fledged HTML5 controls are still a little way off.

Taking a step further is the newest tool to reach the market - Adobe Edge (still in the preview mode). This tool promises to get help you create animated web content. Remember this is the same company that makes Flash (that let’s you currently create animated web content).

imageThe tools are still evolving and the browsers are still evolving as far as HTML 5 goes. Varying levels of support are being touted as  the differentiators in this race. However, this is still a moving target at best.

A hidden winner in this adoption race is turning out to be mobile applications. With web applications reaching the richness of the native applications, mobile devices of all platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, RIM) are unifying in their support of HTML5. The real need of native applications are shrinking with marketplaces turning out to be search engines of mobile applications. The day is not far for one code for all devices to be a reality.

The long journey to HTML 5 has just started and every tech company wants to own this new kid in town and flaunt it. At best this is a check box that every company will have to tick sooner or later. I doubt if this is ever going to be a competitive differentiator of any sort in the future.

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