Is HTML5 finally primed for a takeover?

Since it received a candidate recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium in late 2012, HTML5 has been run through the wringer. Although it offers significant upgrades from the capacity available on HTML4, particular for front-end development, many have questioned whether HTML5 also represents a clear performance increase from the other environments that have sprung up since HTML4's debut. With a stable recommendation for HTML5.0 slated for the end of this year, usage forecasts have remained decidedly mixed.

Of course, while popular opinion and utilization certainly have an impact on how compatible the markup language will be, companies are naturally more invested in how HTML5 will - or won't - work for them. Here are some things to consider:

HTML5 is still suffering from misconceptions
The decision-making process concerning HTML5 implementation is that much more difficult if the organization doesn't fully understand what HTML5 can do. It's likely a combination of hype, contrariness and some actual facts that get distorted, but several misunderstandings of HTML5 persist. It's important to know what to expect from HTML5 in order to leverage it for optimal gains. In a recent presentation at the Gartner PCC conference, Gartner analyst Gene Phifer highlighted some of the myths he often hears about, Lifehacker Australia reported.

One of the most prevalent misconceptions, Phifer said, is that HTML5 is a single, unified entity. It's understandable how this opinion forms, in that HTML5 incorporates many of the structures, elements and form types that were previously available in add-ons and extensions of HTML4. However, HTML5 is flexible and includes many components. The Web application building process will naturally be different if the programming team is using ASP.NET Web forms or MVC scaffolding.

Another myth, Phifer stated, is that HTML5 offers "lousy performance." This is not the case, he argued - the reality is that it's always improving, and that such a reductive line of reasoning obscures the benefits an organization can glean from working with HTML5.

"HTML5 is performant, and it's getting better every day - but depending on what you're doing you may need to do something different," he said. "For some mobile apps, snippets of native code to supplement the Web code can work."

HTML5 triumphing over Flash
Because HTML5 is still in the evolutionary stage, a programming team should look to take advantage of its sturdiest features while understanding that other components may still be a work in progress. In terms of Web development, for example, HTML5 has shown clear benefits over Flash. It's time to move on from Flash and capitalize on the clear benefits of HTML5, wrote The Next Web contributor Erika Trautman. Comparing Flash to such outdated technologies as cassette tapes and 8-tracks, she wrote that HTML5 has effectively rendered Flash obsolete.

The biggest factor supporting HTML5 over Flash is that many iOS and Android devices lack Flash support, effectively tying Flash's fate to that of the in-decline PC. As enterprise end users increasingly utilize mobile devices for reporting, developers will need to focus on languages and tools that actually work on smartphones and tablets.

"Content creators who aren't building HTML5 videos are already behind, and they'll soon be left completely in the dust if they don't implement the HTML5 Web publishing language soon," Trautman argued. "However, the good news for brands and content creators is that there are companies focused on delivering all the benefits of HTML5 without any of the technical challenge or complication."

The end goal for brands and content creators is cross-platform interoperability, so that users can seamlessly transition between devices, using the same application and getting real-time results. Prudent organizations will recognize that Flash - and other development tools siloed by a lack of mobile support - have a clear "best by" date, and will switch to HTML5 for cross-platform optimization.


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