HTML5: So much potential
I’ve recently been tasked with researching HTML5 for my company. The point of this is to generate very specific search pages for mobile devices, starting with the iPhone, iPod and iPad. So far, thanks to the compliance level of the iOS version of Safari, its been great fun.
Due to this, we now how CS5 in the office, because the new Dreamweaver has some nice improvements to make this a little easier. As and aside, kudos to Adobe for their fine works on this version.
Fortunatly for me, using HTML5 techniques on this project is going to turn out an excellent mobile search when I’m all done. However, unfortunatly, it will be a while before I can carry ovr some of the things I’m learning here into other areas.
HTML5 support in web browsers is currently spotty at best. My best experience thus far testing new tags and attributes has been on Chrome, Safari and Opera. I’m seeing among the daily user I encounter increasing usage of Chrome, but I know very few people who use Safari, and no one who uses Opera for general web surfing. (I’m not saying Opera is a bad browser by any means, just that its adoption rate is negligible in my personal observations.)
The big browsers right now are Firefox and Internet Explorer. Firefox is planning more support in the near future, which i guess is fine, but its IE that will be the bigger problem. Versions 7 and 8 are now widely being used by general users, and this is only because of the ‘Facebook Effect’ I believe. Popular sites like Youtube and Facebook quit IE6 support a while ago, and finally its seems to have pushed IE6 use off a cliff, with only 5% of users on that browser last time I check.
Unfortunately, IE7 and IE8 aren’t going to be going anywhere any time soon. Additionally, Microsoft isn’t planning wider HTML5 support until IE9… the real problem here is that, from what I’m hearing, IE9 will only be available for Windows Vista and Windows 7+ users. XP users? You are out of luck.
Now, my name is Thomas, and I’m a PC. I’m running Windows 7 64bit, and very happy with it. But due to the very bad press surrounding the Vista release, many people have clung to XP and are unwilling to let go. Which means a big section of the internet population will be unable to use the forthcoming version of IE that will allow the deployment of the more advance, and useful, HTML5 coding techniques.
What a shame, is all I can say. I’m not terribly surprised however. I’m planing, in general development, to continue to use more widely supported HTML4, with the current CSS and AJAX techniques, to get by until, oh say… 2012… 2015… maybe longer? It took so long for IE6 to fall off the map, that I can’t expect 7 and 8 to go in any kind of reasonable time frame now.
However, on my current project, an HTML5 mobile search for the iProducts, things should go pretty well. So long as I can avoid years and years of writing individual exceptions for user-agents, I’ll be just fine.