Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Next Big Thing : HTML5

Ask any senior IT manager what are the hot trends in the industry today and they is likely to rattle off two or three categories. They will include, in no particular order:
  • the "cloud"
  • mobile computing
  • "big" or unstructured data
Admittedly, big data might be on the edge for some while others would include security. But those are pretty much the hot topics of the day. 

I like to keep my ear to the ground and people who have known me for a long time know I have a nose for what is likely to be the next big thing. One of my favorite stories is about the Palm Pilot. Way back in the 90's when this personal digital assistant (PDA) was first introduced I thought it was likely to catch on. Saturday afternoon I went to the mall and on a whim purchased one at CompUSA. At the time, I was working at a major reinsurance company and the Chairman was a real technophile. Sure enough, Monday morning he returned from a cross country business trip waving the proverbial full page ad from the airline magazine for none other than this new handheld device. Shortly thereafter it became de rigueur for executives and wildly popular for years.

I had a similar experience identifying the RIM Blackberry as the device of choice, a distinction it held until recently when first the  iPhone and then Android devices swept in. Android (my latest pick of the litter) has moved rapidly into the lead (read here.) 

Lately, I have been reading a lot more about the new HTML standard, HTML5, and how it is going to revolutionize the web experience. While I have not had much first hand experience with HTML programming, it just may be the next "watershed" event in the history of computing. It has been around for years but the most popular browsers IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome, are only beginning to fully support it in their current versions. 

Google abandoned their "gears" in favor of HTML5 native offline support. Apple, IBM and Microsoft all  published their support for HTML5 as the future of the web, and other pundits have begun to echo the news.

Offering new capabilities, simplicity of development, tighter code and device independence, it seems HTML5 should be the choice of every web developer from this point forward.

Let's see if I called this one right.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC

1 comment:

  1. Joe, I think the logistical problems facing HTML 5 are greater than the technical issues. The biggest problem right now is that the standard is incomplete. According to W3C, we can expect a working version in 2012. That’s too long for the likes of Google, Apple, MS, etc., to wait, though, so they’ve already gone ahead and "filled in the gaps", as best they could. We’ve seen Microsoft do this in the past, and it caused developers massive headaches, needing to code for browser types and versions. As someone who went through that period, I can tell you that the additional time spent in development and (particularly) QA negated any advances in the technology standards themselves.

    The biggest (current) reason for implementing HTML 5, is to get video away from the plug-ins (Flash/Quicktime, for example), but there are questions abound on which video specifications will be supported, and how licensing will be handled. These questions haven’t been addressed, and video on the web continues to get more sophisticated.

    Now, if everyone sat down at the table and worked through them, then they would get resolved rather quickly, I think, but many companies are forging ahead with their own standards, and hoping theirs will become the standard. Unfortunately, someone will have to be “Betamax”.

    The next big thing is the portability you speak of. We should be the ability to view content on any device, in a consistent manner. We should be able to work offline, and automatically synch (and resolve conflicts) when we’re back online. Portability is huge, and our technical tools should support the reality of daily life.