We're not ready for HTML5

The term ‘HTML5’ gets bandied around at the occasional web design meeting with clients.

It’s generally a bit of a joke among a table of people in the know; a suggestion that in one swoop, HTML5 solves all the ills, misgivings and limitations of the web.

Which, to anyone in the know, is just not true.

New technologies can solve old issues though they open their own new issues.

Sometimes however, when a client asks whether HTML5 will be used, they’re quite serious.

Nothing wrong with asking, though it is telling that yet again, the web development industry has overhyped and overplayed a technology than is neither a silver bullet, or in any way ready for commercial use.

And that’s because, it isn’t ready for commercial use and won’t be for a while.



I wrote a long blog a while ago on why traditional web design and development, websites and especially mobile websites would replace applications and especially mobile applications in the medium and long-term.

Though HTML5 isn’t key to this.

It plays a part, though, much of what we can do today with HTML4, CSS3 and JQuery is essentially on par with HTML5 and its capabilities.

Sure, HTML5 has some other goodies and will be more efficient, though it doesn’t have a golden egg we can’t reasonably achieve already today; or at least for most websites and applications.

The issue ultimately however, is that HTML5 just isn’t ready.

At this point in time, each browser interprets HTML5 differently; some have strengths in one area, other strengths in other areas. This leads to fragmentation and incompatibility, the very thing we are surely trying to solve.

HTML5 isn’t supported in Internet Explorer 7 or 8; bearing in mind that when Windows 7 first shipped, it shipped with Internet Explorer 8.

That can be 50% of your users in some instances, meaning that an aggressive HTML5 website implementation will wipe them all out.

Don’t get me wrong, HTML5 holds fantastic promise and will see many fine things happen down the track.

It isn’t however the silver bullet that so many people think it is. It doesn’t solve the world’s poverty.

And it isn’t ready for mainstream use, even in mobile.

And so don’t mention it in meetings unless you know it’s a bit of a joke.