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HTML 5 ready for prime time

The news hit the world like a thunderclap, or maybe more like the small pop you hear when you break open a cell of plastic bubble wrap. The Worldwide Web Consortium, the group that has been in charge of creating the new standard for about 10 years, announced Dec. 17 that work on HTML 5 was finished.

It’s kind of funny because I know programmers who have been working in HTML 5 applications for years now. Nobody seemed to want to wait for the consortium to actually finish its work. In fact, almost every browser running today, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and probably the earliest true adaptor, Google Chrome, are already able to run most HTML 5 applications.

The announcement simply means that the consortium isn’t going to be adding any new features into the mix. What you have right now with HTML 5 is supposedly what you will get in the final run. It still needs to be tested and scaled, but the product itself is done. If all goes well, it will become the standard for all Web applications in 2014.

"The broader the reach of Web technology, the more our stakeholders demand a stable standard," W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe said in a statement on the consortium Website. "As of today, businesses know what they can rely on for HTML 5 in the coming years, and what their customers will demand. Likewise, developers will know what skills to cultivate to reach smart phones, cars, televisions, ebooks, digital signs and devices not yet known."

I’m sort of pooh-poohing the W3C for how long it’s taken them to get the standard off the ground, but in truth, HTML 5 will do a lot of things on its own that today is handled by many different programs. Rich content such as slide shows and videos will be able to run in the browser rather than requiring a plug-in to make it work.

For public-sector agencies, this will mean they can concentrate on one platform to make their websites secure, and are unlikely to get caught in a security hole caused by Java or Flash, both of which are frequent targets of malicious exploits, or any number of enabling languages being used to provide dynamic content today.

For users, it will mean a much cleaner computing environment on their desktops, tablets and smartphones. Almost everything will be handled by their browser of choice. It’s a win-win all around. It just can’t come soon enough.

Posted by John Breeden II on Dec 18, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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