Here’s looking at you: HTML5 (Part I)
World Wide Web Consortium’s decision to not renew the XHTML 2 Working Group charter effectively means that XHTML 2 (as a web standard) is effectively dead. In its place as the future of web development stands HTML5.
Given the emergence of “mobile internet” as the next revolution in internet medium, HTML5 is going to big a deal and it will be relevant much sooner than people think. Adoption of HTML5 will be driven by the needs of mobile, not the needs of desktop developers.
When Can We Use HTML5?
HTML5 did not really matter until IE supported whatever new standard for mobiles or IE no longer has the majority of the market share.
Given the fact that IE doesnot have a mobile bias, the smartphone growth will drive HTML5 adoption. The iPhone, Google Android, Nokia, and the Palm Pre are all based on the open source Webkit browser engine. Those phones represent somewhere around 65% of smart phones sold.If you look past mobile phones to other mobile devices like the iPod Touch, Nokia’s internet devices, and the upcoming Google Chrome, you see that Webkit is even more broadly distributed.
The two major platforms not using Webkit are Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Some of the capabilities of HTML5 are available to Windows Mobile users via the Google Gears plugin.
Fortunately, for both Windows Mobile and Blackberry, Opera’s browser is both available and popular. It is consistently one of the top if not the top download on mobile applications sites. And Opera is one of the leading developers of HTML5.
HTML5 for Mobile
HTML5 is a critical step for mobile web application development. Some of the key elements that it provides are:
- Offline Support — The AppCache and Database make it possible for mobile developers to store thing locally on the device and now that interruptions in connectivity will not affect the ability for someone to get their work done.
- Canvas and Video — These two features are designed to make it easy to add graphics and video to a page without worrying about plugins. When supported by the phone’s hardware, as is the case with the iPhone, they provide a powerful ways to get media into a page.
- GeoLocation API — This is actually not part of HTML5, but is a separate specification. That said, it is often bundled together because the mobile phones that are including HTML5 are generally supporting the GeoLocation API.
Most importantly, nearly all of the hybrid applications frameworks—Phone Gap, QuickConnect, RhoMobile, Titanium Mobile, and others—rely on HTML5 features to provide a rich application experience.
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