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Is HTML5 Viable Today?

Craig Buckler

We love new technology at SitePoint so it’s easy to be swept along with the excitement and potential of HTML5 — given that “HTML5” is now a marketing term comprising every cool new web technology. It’s our duty to report the latest techniques so you can adopt them for your own projects.However, our recent poll — “when will you start using HTML5?” — was revealing. Despite the fact the term means different things to different people, the results were:

  • 23% are using HTML5 now
  • 28% intend to use HTML5 soon
  • 46% will use HTML5 when it’s stable
  • and 3% stated they would never use HTML5 (why???)

Risk is perhaps the biggest issue. The specification has not been finalized and could remain a draft for many years to come. No one knows what could happen — that article or header tag you love using could be scrapped. At least HTML4 and XHTML1.0 have been stable for more than a decade.Browser support is another problem. All vendors have jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon, but they have their own interpretations and are yet to implement a consistent set of technologies. Microsoft may have announced comprehensive HTML5 support in IE9, but the browser is unlikely to appear until next year and won’t be available on Windows XP. Developers will need to support IE8 and, to a lesser extent, IE7 and IE6 for some time.Finally, I suspect many developers are reluctant to spend time migrating to a new, largely unproven, and potentially problematic markup language.That said, it is possible to use parts of HTML5 today. For example, you can employ the HTML5 doctype and remove the redundant type=”text/javascript” from script tags. You can also use new tags such as header, footer, nav and article to add semantic richness. IE can be made to understand these elements with a JavaScript shiv or you could avoid styling them altogether.But what benefit does that offer in the real world? Your peers may be impressed and the marketing department can write inaccurate HTML5 promotional BS, but is the additional effort worthwhile? It’s especially difficult when tools such as validators are incomplete or non-existent. I suspect many developers are willing to use HTML5, but what’s the point when you have to implement workarounds and additional code for browsers which don’t support it?However, I do think you should seriously consider HTML5 — especially for new projects. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why You Can Use HTML5 Today”

tip: Learn HTML5 with SitePoint … Live!

If you’d like to get up to date with HTML5 from one of the world’s foremost authorities on the topic, why not sign up to our HTML5 Live course. For only $9.95, you’ll get access to instructional videos, articles, and a vibrant discussion forum where you can learn all of the stuff that matters, without the hype.

Sign up for HTML5 Live today.

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