Thursday, September 16, 2010

A worry about HTML5. Fragmentation.

I am very stoked to see HTML5 coming on so strong and I'm feeling like the web is going to be full of new possibilities.  The HTML spec has been stagnant far too long and its new features, combined with CSS, JavaScript, AJAX and other peripheral technologies will be able to do some pretty cool things.  There is one trend I see though that is worrying.  FRAGMENTATION!!

I have looked at a few HTML5 examples.  One of them I went to see is apparently financed by Microsoft at this URL:  I clicked on the link using Firefox and got the following message displayed.

This is not the only time I have seen such a message.  I went to see Apple's HTML5 gallery and this is what I saw.

Oh - and there are similar messages from Chrome sites done in HTML5 such as

OK.  Adobe loves HTML5 and I think it is a great thing for the web if the standards are adhered to. Having worked for standards for over a decade, I know the standard must be written in a manner that multiple implementations are 100% interoperable.  What will harm the web is if sites start becoming specialized or optimized for different browsers.  Most people shouldn't have to download and use different browsers for different sites.  I am worried because I saw this trend with CSS.  There are still nuances between the manners in which different browsers handle various CSS declarations (just ask anyone who has recently skinned a Drupal site).

My ask for HTML5 is as follows:

1. Let's make sure we all work together to create a good standard for HTML5
2. Let's ensure that we have consistent implementations.  If the W3C recommendation is ambiguous, those who note the ambiguities have a responsibility to work this out at the standards development table so the web does not become fragmented.
3. Let's ensure that the enumerated lists of codecs for things like video is not fragmented in HTML5.
4. Let's not start mixing HTML5 specs with O/S specific hardware acceleration features that break interoperability.

I trust standards and I am going to remain optimistic about HTML5's future.  I am presuming that the current state is only a temporary one due to the fact it will take some browsers a while to fully implement the specification (which is understandable).  Nevertheless, it means a great deal to Adobe, as the leading tools provider for web development, and it means a lot to me personally and I felt I had to say what I said here.  Let's move HTML5 into the next generation and do it right!

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