IT Pro Impact: HTML5

May 04, 2012


When to Switch

The evolution from static documents to the current rich multimedia Web to the future of Web apps that are indistinguishable from desktop applications is well under way. Marc Andreessen's browser-as-platform vision is in sight, and HTML5 will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

It wasn't always so--many of us remember the days of browser vendors defining their own tags and sites sporting "best viewed with" banners. But now, key vendors, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera, actively participate in W3C groups. The goal: creating test suites and specifications that are freely available and may be implemented at no cost under the W3C royalty-free patent policy. This broad collaboration will help minimize differences among browsers. "When vendors rally around a specification that is supported by a comprehensive test suite, you're more likely to get interoperability," says Ian Jacobs, head of W3C marketing and communications.

Of course, the time it takes a spec to get to recommendation stage--the final stop before deployment--varies depending on participant support and technological complexity. Still, two Google W3C representatives--Ian Ellison-Taylor and Glenn Wilson--say the process, from specification to implementation, has been streamlined, with specs moving from API to recommendation in a matter of months.

So there’s plenty of optimism. But what does this all mean to enterprise IT? We'll investigate. (S4810412)

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