This InfoWorld article talks briefly about the promise of HTML5 and the potential problems with it due its slow-moving standards body WHATWG. The acknowledgement that HTML5 won’t really be finalized until 2022 made me blink twice. Or thrice. Seriously, 2022? What good is a web standard if it’s always going to be behind by decades? Also note that development on HTML5 was started as far back as 2004, and we’re only now seeing little bits and pieces being implemented by browser makers.
This prospect has completely killed off any enthusiasm I had for HTML5. It seems that in the ever changing world of the web, HTML5 will never be able to live up to its promises. Its development is just too slow. This eye-opener neatly ties into the remainder of the article, which comprises of a thorough side-by-side comparison of the leading RIA framework providers Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.
When faced with the naked facts of HTML5’s preemptive failure, the grumblings in the industry about RIA platforms dying, are becoming more and more unfounded. It seems only proprietary frameworks like Flash and Silverlight can provide excellent development and design tools, desperately needed by the RIA developer community. These frameworks at least provide a consistent environment in which rich internet apps can run, guaranteeing they’ll look and feel the same across browsers and operating systems. This is something I don’t see happening with HTML5 any time soon.
The very nature of the web, the fact that it’s so ad-hoc, makes it difficult yet interesting to develop for. No, I won’t stop developing web apps. But I won’t dismiss RIA either. Each technology has its uses and perks. The trick is to choose the right tech for the right right. Don’t ditch proprietary (and often superior) platforms just because HTML5 is the “open” way to go. It will impair your ability to deliver truly innovative web apps/RIAs.
For now, Flash and Silverlight are still superior to anything HTML5 has to offer. And it’s going to stay that way for a while, I think. A long while.