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17 Years On, the World is Moving Beyond a Recommended HTML5


Last week, the W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) announced that the HTML5 has now received ‘Recommendation’ status, the most complete standard offered by the Consortium. But this may be a bit of a misnomer, as the core of the standard was agreed several years ago with WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group). Today’s announcement serves to cement recent developments into the official standard, in particular the <video> tag.

However, this may be fast becoming irrelevant in a world where consumers are increasingly viewing the web through an app-based platform. This is particularly prominent in the case of tablets, which are taking increasingly large portions of PC market share and thereby supplanting a wide range of functions that were previously handled by desktop computers using the more traditional browser-based method of Internet operation.

What is perhaps most telling is that HTML5 was heavily used before this announcement, thanks largely to the ‘living standards’ method of development promoted at WHATWG. Developers have already been using HTML5 for many applications without the full recommendation of W3C. Although for mobile, the future of most Internet traffic, Apple and others have promoted the app model of web interaction. The app-based mobile Internet is now increasingly what is being built towards, with a variety of flexible and interactive features that are designed to work natively with each mobile OS (operating system). While cross-platform compatibility is still an issue for these apps, developers are reluctant to build for HTML5 due to the relative slowness of using the non-native platform for web apps.

While HTML5-based mobile systems may have a future in markets such as China and India where budget HTML5 phones are being made and marketed. For most of the mature smartphone markets however, the development choice is generally native or not at all. The development of the Internet of Things, each with their app-based interaction with other devices, means that the platform will occupy a smaller and smaller space in consumer usage across North America and Western Europe. It is, however, likely to carry on for enterprise applications, much as enterprise x86 servers are still a potential revenue source for server providers. But the world in general has already moved on.