Is HTML5 worth all of the hype?

February 16th, 2011 by jeremychone

Undeniably, HTML5 has created quite a buzz for itself over the last 12 months or so, leading some of us to question whether or not HTML5 is worth all of this attention. Or as, someone on Quora asked, Why is HTML5 worth all of the hype?

If there were only one reason as to why HTML5 is definitely worth all of the interest it has attracted, it would be the following:

HTML5 has managed to build an industry consensus around a robust set of mature and popular living specifications (HTML and CSS), within which Microsoft, Apple, Google, and the open community (i.e. Mozilla) are fiercely competing to provide the best HTML5 implementation across all platforms and devices.

This point says it all:

  1. HTML is multi-vendor
  2. Vendors are competing within the [living] specification (for performance and compliance)
  3. HTML is continuously evolving

Anything else amounts to little more than details and depends upon the application that you are attempting to construct.

In fact, all major software companies are now aligning their Web strategies with HTML5. Currently, Apple continues to provide the best HTML5 implementation on its Mobile platforms (iPhone and iPad). Meanwhile, Microsoft switched gears from its Flash-copy-cat plug-in strategy to an aggressive and promising HTML-focused strategy, and Google released the first Web Store to allow Web developers to distribute their Web and packaged HTML application in a fully HTML5-capable runtime. Even Adobe has slowly but surely begun to embrace HTML5, and we are seeing some interesting initiative from Adobe in the form of such applications as the Edge prototype, the Flash to HTML5 extension, and some promising involvement in jQuery.

So, yes, HTML was basically sleeping between 1999 and 2004, but thanks to Mozilla, Google, and Apple, it is now more alive and kicking than it ever was before. Web developers would thus do well to prioritize learning HTML technologies (including HTML, CSS, Javascript) over all other single-vendor Web technologies (such as Silverlight, Flash, Curl, Java Applets, and so forth).

While the usual HTML detractors attempt to play the fragmentation card in their criticism of HTML5, anyone who has coded HTML long enough to remember the times of Netscape 4.x must realize that what we are seeing now is exactly the opposite. While some minor differences will always exist, thanks to HTML5’s momentum, HTML is converging quite nicely (Video being the exception).

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that HTML5/CSS3 is merely an evolution of the previous version. Consequently, a good HTML/CSS/Javascript developer is also, by default, a good HTML5/CSS3 developer.

Thus, HTML5 is only hype to those who have not yet realized that HTML5 is HTML.

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