HTML5 is dead

November 9th, 2010 by Steven Myhill-Jones

That’s right, you heard it here first. HTML5 is dead. Here’s why: HTML6 is going to be way better. It’ll overcome the things that the HTML5 standard is missing and better integrate with the technology of tomorrow. It’ll provide the kind of development tools and rich user experience that we all wish HTML5 included.

Sound ridiculous?  It is, except that it’s ridiculous because we’ve simply added an extra 5-10 years or so onto the correct but unhelpful declarations opinionati make all the time in the tech sector. If we all listened to these folks, nothing would get done. By the time a technology reaches the plateau of productivity, they consider it irrelevant.

What’s my point? Build for the era you’re in. Choose the development technology of today that you envision best fitting your needs now and for the next while (whether that be Silverlight, Flex, or JavaScript). The evolution of technology is inexorable, so make your plans assuming and embracing change over time. Educate yourself about what’s coming, and then make decisions that keep you as aligned with the future as possible. Fight against the paralysis of inaction caused by future technologies that are still too far off to wait for.

Picking a technology that’s out of favor in five years isn’t a screw-up if you made the best decision from among available alternatives to actually get stuff done. That such a choice will eventually be obsolete (and sometimes sooner than you really have the stomach for) doesn’t represent failure on your part. On the contrary, it shows that you understand the importance of delivering value to end users in the present.

Comments

  1. Fred Penner says:

    Interesting angle…However, what if you purchase a technology from a vendor, say, like webADF and, by the time you implement, the technology is already deprecated? If you want a technology to last, you need to implement in the early stages of the technology, as long as you’re confident it is becoming mainstream. That way, you can ride the wave, instead of getting drowned. A much more solid business model as well.

  2. Jason Birch says:

    You’re right that choosing a technology that meets your current requirements is rarely a failure. However, this is no excuse for choosing a technology that will not meet easily predictable future needs or which will require you to duplicate current effort to a large degree.

    Up until last year, Flex or Silverlight was a reasonable choice for public-facing applications. Given the strong upcoming requirements for mobile, cross-platform access to information though, it would be irresponsible to make a decision today that locked you into these platforms.

    This timeline could be delayed for intranet applications where you control the devices accessing your applications (though the pressure for ubiquitous mobile access is mounting there too), but we are no longer in an era where Flex or Silverlight are valid choices for new public application development.

    • Kevin Rathgeber says:

      But how long do you continue to delay for? This is the never ending battle and it just appears to be getting worse.

      We only in the last couple years got our current external mapping app up using our own version of web.adf and our own version of what Geocortex currently is. We were too far into development when the Web.adf arrived from ESRI and Geocortex was available. Now we are neck deep developing with Web.adf and Geocortex 2.x internally only to find out that Web.adf is going the way of the Dodo with Silverlight/Flex being the currently available evolution. Now we are waiting for the Geocortex’s Silverlight viewer to come out so we can prepare the next version of our external web mapping system however you (Jason) indicate it would be irresponsible to go that route so how much longer does one wait? When does it end? My head hurts.

      • Ernest Ndugah says:

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    • @Jason Yes, we should always actively take into account foreseeable future needs. I also agree it is advisable to keep development platform options as open as is practical.

      I respectfully disagree that Flex or Silverlight are no longer valid choices for new public application development. I think sometimes it is highly appropriate to deliver what is, in effect, duplicate content. There are fundamental differences between web apps and mobile apps that warrant entirely different delivery, interfaces, and use cases. I can’t envision how it is possible to meet the needs of mobile users using fingertips on small screens people and users sitting in front of computers at work with a large monitor and mouse with the same app.

      Are Flex and Silverlight the right solutions for mobile apps? If any given plugin isn’t supported by the requisite platforms or doesn’t transfer effectively, then no. However, I consider Flex and Silverlight entirely relevant technologies when delivering apps via a web browser to people sitting in front of a computer. And that captures an enormous number of current users, and will for a long time.

    • Tim Boyden says:

      @Jason

      I have to disagree as well. The mobile device market is still highly fractured and there is no one tool kit to rule them all. Until that time, developers are left to use the tools that are best for the job at hand. Adobe Flash/Flex/Air continues to be the most flexible option and Adobe continues to develop tools that allow integration of the these apps to multiple platforms (including most current mobile devices – even Apple ones). Therefore Adobe development tools are still very relevant to modern application development and will continue to be so for a long time to come. HTML5 is an over-hyped technology that has seen limited deployment in comparison and still relies on slow-ish JavaScript frameworks to provide most of its capabilities. Not to mention the HTML5 specification is still not final and could change further before it is. Developing for a moving target is even worse than designing for a platform that *may* lose its cool factor down the road.

  3. You should always develop and provide the technology of today and never be caught in the “paralysis of inaction caused by future technologies”. But face it, you can not prepare yourself or your customers for the longer term future. Sustainable technology does not exist and sooner or later you and your customers will have to face the shift. I think the answer lays in the expectations management and communication with your customers. Technology shifts are something none of us has direct influence on and we just have to accept them as an industry characteristic. This also means that “only the fittest will survive”. If it takes you too long to launch a product based on a technology, too bad and perhaps you should change what you are doing. I actually expect that these shifts will become even faster…

  4. [...] Geocortex Blog Web-based GIS, software development & various other topics of interest to us. « HTML5 is dead [...]

  5. Nona Mills says:

    You’re right that choosing a technology that meets your current requirements is rarely a failure. However, this is no excuse for choosing a technology that will not meet easily predictable future needs or which will require you to duplicate current effort to a large degree. Up until last year, Flex or Silverlight was a reasonable choice for public-facing applications. Given the strong upcoming requirements for mobile, cross-platform access to information though, it would be irresponsible to make a decision today that locked you into these platforms. This timeline could be delayed for intranet applications where you control the devices accessing your applications (though the pressure for ubiquitous mobile access is mounting there too), but we are no longer in an era where Flex or Silverlight are valid choices for new public application development.

  6. vince says:

    Give the logic, HTML is the best output for a business application that is required to function on as many platforms as possible.

    Flash: NO
    Flex: NO
    SilverLight: NO

    The beauty of HTML is you can update graphics, add javascript (and ajax) tokeep you app fresh and modern. HTML will never go away but it will morph and morph and morph. Soon you will get access to devices via the browser.

    The downside is javascript which is still clumsy to debug and too open – code gets massive and javascript becomes completely incapable of managing.

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