Have you heard about HTML5?
According to W3C: “HTML5 defines the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web, HTML.”
What’s the big deal?
The new standard is still being worked out, but some of the features working into the standard are a canvas object to allow drawing, video streaming without a plug-in (like Flash or Silverlight), offline data storage, drag-and-drop standards, and more.
Will it revolutionize the web experience?
It’s going to be a huge step forward that is for sure. There are a lot of things that can currently only be done (well, at least) with a browser “plug-in” like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight – and both products are great. Developing against those products though is a move back to a fat-client mindset.
HTML5 will enhance portability and compatibility of rich applications. I want to see the same thing on my desktop, my laptop, my Windows mobile device, and my eReader device – without having to install things or match versions or jump through other hoops. If a device supports HTML – and a lot already do – then I want to see and use rich interfaces, and to see and use them specifically in the way they were intended. HTML5 is a great step toward that goal.
Do we have to wait for 2012 to use it?
The current draft shows a target “completion” date (HTML will never really be “complete”) around 2012 – BUT, many browsers are integrating support for it now even while the standards are still being finalized.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 already has some built-in support for HTML5. Per MSDN: “With full CSS 2.1, strong HTML 5 support, and interoperability fixes for the Document Object Model (DOM), Internet Explorer 8 has made deliberate investments in a new layout engine.”
Internet Explorer 9 is going to have even more support and enhanced performance.
You might want to start thinking about HTML5 now – perhaps even starting to integrate it into your web applications.