In June, TIBCO announced a new enterprise-strength messaging solution for mobile and web applications. Given recent discussions in the industry, I thought it would be an opportune time to discuss what HTML5 is (and isn’t) – and why it is important. In my opinion, these new web technologies redefine the boundary between the OS and the browser. It is very important that we understand what we will start to see over the next 12-18 months.
Normally the world doesn’t really care about versions of HTML. End-users open a web page and just expect their browser to work. The reality is that there really wasn’t much to get excited about until a couple of years ago. When Google announced the Chrome web browser, they established strong support for HTML5. When Apple announced the original iPad in 2010 with strong HTML5 foundation support (sans Flash), HTML5 became the new hyped thing.
What is HTML5?
I wish the answer was simple. HTML5 is a brand, a single standard, and a collection of new web technologies/frameworks/standards – depending on your perspective. HTML5 started life a number of years ago (5 to be exact). It was originally focused on establishing a new baseline of standards support across the browser landscape. In fact many people saw it as a direct threat to Microsoft IE as the least standard compliant browser on the market.
As HTML5 evolved, it started to consume other related standards. CSS (Cascading Stylesheet), WebSockets, WebGL, WebSQL, offline storage, etc. In fact, the HTML5 movement became so large that they re-characterized HTML5 as general-purpose visual identity for a broad set of open web technologies.
However, there are two sides to HTML5 – and both warrant a discussion.
On one hand, HTML5 is a set of technologies that will blur how applications are delivered to end-users. It is not farfetched to see customer-friendly, HTML5-based applications that are as powerful as the desktop equivalents. It is also not farfetched to see startups build enterprise tools and infrastructure with nothing but a Chrome App. Even native smart device applications may fall by the wayside of HTML5 applications.
There is a potential middle ground to be explored. Software companies could (for example) build a HTML5 application and ship the whole thing as an application. This would potentially negate the corporate standard, while giving more progressive shops a way to reduce the overall solution footprint.
HTML5 and web technologies always bear keeping track of. Personally, I have been hugely surprised by the advancement in web technologies over just the last couple of years. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this pans out.