Waiting for HTML5? Not so fast…

HTML5There is no way to deny that HTML5 will revolutionize the way we view online content on mobile devices and is the future of the internet, replacing HTML4 and bringing developers much more media and experience control without the use of third-party applications. However, it isn’t the future yet, according to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is to the internet what CERN is to the Large Hadron Collider.

Despite the fact that Steve Jobs has banished Adobe Flash from iOS products in anticipation of HTML5’s video capabilities and that it has already been deployed on a small scale on some websites, researchers say there are still too many open issues related to the protocol to entrust the entire internet to it. First and foremost among these issues is interoperability.

Despite all the excitement, W3C interaction domain leader Philippe Le Hegaret takes a sobering view of HTML5s current interoperability situation, saying:

"I don't think it's ready for production yet. The real problem is can we make [HTML5] work across browsers and at the moment, that is not the case.”

The W3C is estimating that it will take “years” for HTML5 to be supported on a critical mass of browsers on the open net. Most browsers still only support HTML5 in their beta versions.

There are also other problems at work, including the fact that due to the open source nature of web protocols, HTML5 has no video codec built in yet and may never have. Popular video formats such as MPEG-4 are patented so licenses would be involved if it were to be included in HTML5. Another major issue is that DRM would be difficult and complex to implement in HTML5, meaning many major video providers will likely refuse to allow their content to be viewed on websites using the protocol.

HTML5 may be the future, but even when you are living on internet time, sometimes the future is always a day away.

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Zealot Benmergui

Zealot is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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