While the concept for HTML5 dates back to the WHAT Working Group's foundation in 2004, the standard gained considerable traction in just the past few years. This Mashable infographic provides an interesting overview of the major milestones in HTML5 development, including Adobe's decision in 2011 shift focus away from flash. As with any technology tool that benefits from exponential growth in adoption, HTML5 has raised many questions within the developer and non-technical community alike. 

HTML5 myths debunked

Although many in the IT and business world questioned what HTML5 would mean for enterprise application development, SD Times contributor Steven Hansen warned that many of these concerns are based on false assumptions. For instance, the question of whether existing applications are HTML5 compatible assumes that HTML5 is equivalent to a software package. Instead, it's better to think of it as a collection of features, meaning that certain elements will work with older applications while others will not.



Understanding this idea is also a boon to organizations worried about the potential impact of HTML5 on legacy programs. A large-scale technology upgrade can be time consuming and fraught with error. However, because HTML5 consists of many different features, all one needs to leverage them are some Web applications. This allows developers to make gradual upgrades to their application portfolios and still benefit from HTML5 without overhauling larger, more complex programs all at once. Hansen did suggest that doctype tags for existing Web applications all be changed to the streamlined HTML5 version, "<!DOCTYPE html>", because it will ensure a greater degree of consistency.

Hansen also warned against the assumption that apps built with HTML5 will automatically work well with mobile. For instance, many users associate HTML5 with responsive and adaptive design when CSS is actually responsible for enabling those features. Similarly, many discussions regarding mobile application development seem to treat HTML5 development and mobile development as the same thing. 



"HTML5 includes some great features, like offline access, geolocation, local storage, plug-in-free video/audio, and more. It's safe to say that HTML5 offers more powerful features than any previous iteration of HTML," Hansen wrote. "But does HTML5 automatically deliver all of these features the moment you change your doctype? For instance, if I create an 'HTML5 app,' will it automatically work offline or track my whereabouts using geolocation? No."

In other words, HTML5 includes a wide variety of great tools for mobile as well as other types of development. However, it is ultimately up to the programmers to integrate those features and tailor applications to fit their development goals .