Has the Prime Time Come for HTML 5?

html5Over the past ten years or so, concepts such as Web 2.0, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), and the Semantic Web have all pushed HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to and beyond their limits, often relying on plug-ins such as Adobe Flash to power components such as video and audio, as well as highly graphical and interactive applications. The Adobe Flex development framework, Microsoft’s Silverlight platform, and JavaFX have all looked to provide support where HTML’s weaknesses made developers’ lives difficult.

With HTML5, however, the markup language is striking back, with full multimedia support, local storage and offline application support, a native 2D drawing API, and a host of new application development APIs, all provided with the intent of proving that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can provide a rich front end to your Web sites and applications.

HTML5 is a relatively young specification, and as a result, browser support is quite limited (at the time of writing). Main features will work in all browsers, but some will not. Here are several charts about how well each browser supports HTML5 and CSS3. To ensure that you can experience all of HTML 5 new features, it is recommended that you install the latest versions of the following Web browsers on your system:

Mozilla Firefox (version 3.6/4)
Apple Safari (version 5)
Opera (version 10/11)
Google Chrome (version 7/9/10)
However, since old versions of the browsers won’t support HTML5 or CSS3, you can still make your site work by what is known as: Progressive Enhancement and Graceful Degradation

Has the Prime Time come for HTML 5?

There is a lot of confusion about the future of the web and HTML5. HTML5 has been THE buzzword in web technologies for the past couple of years, and each year the excitement grows even larger. We are told that we will no longer need Flash, embedding videos will be easy, and we will be able to have advertising without third-party plugins. We are told that HTML5 will be the magic fix to all of our development woes, and never again will we struggle to create the next great multimillion dollar web site.

Not so fast. If it sounds to good to be true…well, you know.

There a lot of good reasons to implement HTML5 today. There are also a lot of good reasons not to, including the fact the HTML5 is not a finalized standard by the W3C. Whatever you decide on implementing HTML5, the decision you make will have consequences immediately for your site. And not all of those consequences are positive.

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