Looking 2 Years into the Future of HTML 5

PCQ Bureau
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Mozilla has started work on a mobile operating system of it's own that will be based on HTML 5. In December 2011, research firm Strategy Analytics forecast that sales of HTML 5 compatible phones will top 1 billion in 2013. As per the HTML Working Group's Stiatus Report, the future plans for the WG are as follows:

- Mid-November: Revised WG charter to AC for review and approval


- 4Q 2012: HTML 5.0 Candidate Recommendation

- 4Q 2012: HTML 5.1 Working Drafts

- Apr 2013: HTML WG F2F meeting, Silicon Valley, CA (details to be finalized)


The overall goal is to get HTML5 to `Recommendation` status in 2014. The W3 has released a document called `Plan 2014` that proposes how to get there. Their draft implementation report will contain details about features that have been implemented in browsers and in which browsers, how stable each feature is and what is the level of interoperability for each feature.

Proposed extension specifications made by the HTML working group are: Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, picture element, srcset attribute, subline element, —outlinemask attribute, and main element.

The A11Y Task Force has proposed longer description mechanisms such as HTML5 Image Description Extension.


As of writing this, the draft of the HTML Working Group Charter mentions an end date of 30 November 2014. HTML 5.1 has been added for further feature development. However, there are many challenges to the standardization. There are a set of formal objections that have been received by the W3C. There is also a draft list of features identified to be at risk for inclusion in the HTML 5.0 set of specifications. After Aug 3, 2012, there have been 1179 bugs in the HTML5 core specification as per the HTML5 review stats, out of which 138 were yet to be processed at the time of making the stats available.

Developers need to be wary of...

Each of these activities requires lots of conflict resolution and compromises. There is definitely lots at stake but any plan to give HTML 5 a recommendation status must ensure that everything goes smoothly as planned. Inevitably, a specification will be marked as final and browsers will have to try their best to implement it. Users will have to upgrade their browsers over a period of time. But that shouldn't stop HTML 5 from delivering it's promises to users.


For developers, some of the key things to keep in mind is that it will be better late than never to acquire skills and expertise in HTML5. Adoption will only rise as time passes and hence developers will be at a serious risk if they do not find themselves comfortable with HTML5 regardless of whether they are currently working on it. Developers should also look forward to more tools being released to support HTML 5 development on a regular basis. Developers will benefit from seeing more tasks (which were earlier possible only through plugins) being performed by the browser itself and accordingly develop their applications.

Developers will need to make sure to test their code across different browsers and their versions on different mobile operating systems (and their versions too), since the difference of capabilities in the variety of mobile devices today leads to a different level of user experience on each device. Developers should also be wary of adopting a non-standard implementation of the specification. Although many developers place their belief in the importance of HTML 5 in the future, the same is not the case with the specification of HTML 5 that they will go with.

There are 2 bodies to be considered here: The W3C and the WHATWG. Developers also need to be wary of drawing false conclusions from success stories (or otherwise) of other organizations about their experiences of porting applications to HTML 5. With HTML 5, developers will be better off weighing the merits of HTML 5 on a case-by-case basis as applicable to their own context.


HTML 5 Vs Native Apps: The Dust will Slowly Settle

As per a Gartner report, there will be a long term shift away from native apps to Web apps as HTML 5 becomes more capable. Nevertheless, native apps won't disappear, and will always offer the best user experiences and most sophisticated features. But how does HTML 5 fare in a SWOT analysis when compared to native?



This is platform independent. HTML 5 code, like HTML 4, can be understood by any mobile operating system as long as the browser supports it. The

canvas tag makes use of Flash redundant in many cases


Browser support is not yet upto the mark and also inconsistent. There are still disagreements that have led to different interpretations of the specification and subsequently different implementations in web browsers even on the PC. Resistance of businesses to upgrade browsers to versions that support HTML 5. Businesses making use of a certain browser version (e. g. to ensure security of financial transactions) cannot easily cope up with the rapid release cycle of most graphical web browsers these days. On the mobile, choice of the browser used conflicts with BYOD freedom used by employees.


HTML 5 surely has the potential to replace Flash and other browser plugins for a variety of applications as it will evolve over time. HTML 5 can take advantage of the openness of its specifications so as to ensure maximum adoption.


Current adoption is not as quick as expected. While users of Apple devices definitely are reaping the benefits, it is not so to the same scale with others. Plus, developers face difficulties to code in HTML 5.

However, from the point of view of mobile apps., developing in HTML 5 is much more easier for someone having no prior programming knowledge, compared to the native languages supported by each platform. Traditional web app developers will find themselves quite at home with HTML 5 but will still have to face a certain learning curve.

So, if you are a developer and you want to develop your application exclusively for one platform and utilize all of the features in a sophisticated manner to build a rich user experience, it would make sense to go for a native language. But if you are looking at maximum reach in the long-term and are ready to compromise with current limitations, then investing in HTML 5 seems to be worth it.

The Beginning of the End of Flash is Here

Flash developers and designers are still sought after for jobs by many SMEs. Regular updates of Flash Player still continue to be released. It is beyond doubt that today's online video craze would have been almost close to zero in the absence of Flash. Back during the Macromedia days, online video had to be either broadcast using multiple competing streams such as RealMedia, Windows Media, etc or be played in the browser itself. Web developers had only Flash to rely on as a consistent means of low-bandwidth multimedia delivery in the browser. That has undeniably caused many a revolution in user experiences on the web, until recently.

However, according to a source, the number of web sites with Flash has declined from 49% as of Nov 15, 2010 to 36% as of Nov 1, 2012. As more and more iPads and iPhones are sold, the reach of Flash, which would be of value to a developer, begins to reduce in relative terms to the competition if not absolute. Similarly, the inability of search engines to index text used in Flash animations also discourages web designers and developers from using Flash in their websites. Users expecting a uniform browsing experience have had a tough time right-clicking in a web site that relies solely on Flash as well as using the browser's navigation buttons with the same.

Flash has been used a lot for browser-based games too, but these days modern browsers have very fast JavaScript processing and also HTML 5 adds support for a lot of interactivity and immersive experiences in the form of graphics and multimedia. This might put HTML 5 as a formidable candidate for browser-based gaming too and many HTML 5 games are already seeing a sizable number of regular players.

First-time PC users have also found the need to install a plugin to be a detriment to adopting Flash. Add to that the fact that the plugin needs to be updated regularly and it becomes pretty frustrating for someone who is not technically savvy.

Security concerns have also emerged with Flash cookies acting as tough stains to clean. Plus since, most of the regular updates made to Flash Player are done to address security issues, you begin to realize why interest in Flash is on the wane.

On the mobile (as a browser plugin), Adobe has halted further development of the Flash player plugin apart from releasing security patches and bug fixes. The absence of Flash support on iOS, as well as the ease-of-use in obtaining applications that provide a rich UI natively by accessing the respective marketplaces of the mobile OS, were some of the key reasons behind this decision of Adobe as a part of their long-term strategy. On the mobile, HTML 5 was slowly but steadily seen to be a worthy competitor to Flash, comparable to the ubiquity of Flash on the PC.

On the PC, Flash will continue to maintain its stronghold at least as far as the near future is concerned. While competition is and will be provided by HTML5 here too, development efforts in Flash will focus on taking advantage of the current limitations of HTML 5 where Flash emerges as a clear winner. Hence, Flash as a platform does hold relevance for developers on the desktop in the short-term for sure.

10 Popular HTML 5 Apps that have Stood Against the Superiority of Native Apps

In spite of Mark Zuckerberg's confession in September about having done a mistake by over-estimating the current value proposition of HTML 5 for Facebook's mobile app strategy, HTML 5 is all set to go big next year. Thanks to the highly used applications which have been ported to HTML 5. In many cases, native applications have still been retained and supported by the respective vendors.

1. YouTube

The mobile version of the YouTube website makes use of many HTML 5 features, especially the video tag. If you are able to view videos on YouTube today on your Apple device, thank HTML 5!

2. Google Voice

HTML 5 and unified communication come together in this web-based mobile app that promises to lower your cellular bill. However, many people remain concerned about inconsistent support of different audio formats in HTML 5.

3. Google Latitude

A traveler's delight, Google Latitude helps people discover contacts near them as well as inform others of their location in a manner that they choose. It is worth noting that HTML 5 supports geo-location.

4. Canvas

Designers and casual users alike have taken to this neat and no-nonsense tool which allows them to create sketches, drawings, etc and share ideas for brainstorming.

5. Meebo

This is an instant messaging client that has a look-and-feel of a standard application as if it were developed natively for your device. It has a large user base.

6. Tumblr

A place for artists to share their masterpieces in a social manner. They also have native apps in addition to the HTML5-based web view.

7. Checklist

Developed with methodical and organized users in mind, Checklist goes by it's name. You are also able to share pending items with others using this application.

8. Card flip

Yet another of those pair-matching memory games which require you to uncover and match all pairs of cards in the least possible time, making use of HTML 5.

9. Bejeweled

Another classic game where you are required to clear the grid by shuffling adjacent jewels so that three of the same kind line up in either orientation and explode as a result (thus leaving a gap in the grid that gets filled by more jewels).

10. Freckle

The time-tracking tool which makes the task of organizing schedules pretty easy and also uses a UI that is pleasing to the eye.