HTML 5: The tipping point is with developers, not browsers
HTML 5 discussion often focuses on the visible elements of browser support. This is a mistake.
HTML 5 adoption is often discussed in terms of browser support: version $X of browser $B with $M market share supports $P percent of the HTML 5 standards, and therefore ...; I contribute to this habit when I run headlines such as "Microsoft Supports SVG".
It is of course interesting to puzzle over corporate motives and schedules, and debate technical details of whether $B can truly be said to "support" HTML 5 if it lacks proper co-ordination of CSS and animation, or includes no provision for hardware speed-up of
canvas. Ultimately, though, such wrangling settles matters only about as much as do on-line dialogues about whether Eclipse is better than emacs and vi.
My claim, whose proof I leave as an exercise, is that we already have enough HTML 5 support for "take-off". We've reached the "tipping point". The next big events in HTML 5 adoption, I speculate, will be that programmers create great programs with HTML 5. These programmers could, in a technical sense, have chosen Flash, or Silverlight, or a Java toolkit, or just waited until the majority of browsers improve; the great-program-producing programmers are too impatient, uneducated, or inconsiderate to know any better, though.
I've believed this for a while, already; I'm not waiting on anyone to use HTML 5, although I of course recognize that some end-user populations aren't fit for it. The swell of HTML 5 news is entertaining to ride, though:
- Francis Hemsher nicely makes the case that "iPad without Flash is a great opportunity for SVG";
- Jeff Schiller followed up with recognition that "Apple posted 2 positions available for SVG experts on 3/31/2010";
- while there have been plenty of introductory HTML 5 demonstrations, the promotion by the IE9 team of its first Preview, and the latest cheer-leading in developerWorks, will doubtless get the word to significant new populations;
- on the high end, Ajaxian's GWT-Quake tour-de-force speaks for itself; and
- CanVG is only one of many (partial) answers to those who truly must concern themselves with browser compatibility.
There are more breakthroughs every week that bear on "HTML 5 support" than any well-balanced person would choose to track. Now it's time to get to work programming great applications.