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HTML5 Is Not Production Ready

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Philippe Le Hégaret, a W3C Interaction Domain Leader overseeing the HTML standard, considers that HTML5 needs to pass the compatibility tests across browsers before being suitable for production. While early adopters present nice 3D animations and videos done with HTML5, most developers should probably wait until mid 2011 or early 2012 when the standard becomes stable.

In an InfoWorld interview, Le Hégaret said that HTML5 isn’t ready for production because of cross-browser incompatibilities:

The problem we're facing right now is there is already a lot of excitement for HTML5, but it's a little too early to deploy it because we're running into interoperability issues, including differences between video on devices. …

I don't think it's ready for production yet, especially since W3C still will make some changes on APIs. The real problem is can we make [HTML5] work across browsers and at the moment, that is not the case.

Instead of seeing HTML5 taking off as it is now, Le Hégaret would rather see feedback:

At this stage community feedback plays an important role in ensuring that the HTML5 specification is the highest quality.

He remarked that HTML5 is currently targeted at early adopters, which are supposed to provide the feedback:

The challenge presented by HTML5, which I mentioned a month ago, is the need to test, refine and mature certain aspects of the specification in order to support the early adopters, the innovators and the engineers who are embracing this technology today.

In an InfoQ interview, Le Hégaret pointed to a test results page showing undergoing efforts to see all major browsers consistently implement the standard. While the current number of tests (97) is relatively small, and 900 other tests are waiting to be approved, the page shows there are already incompatibilities between browsers. The number of incompatibilities is most probably going to rise when other tests become standard.

He considers that “we need to continue the work on the HTML5 specification and substantial
increase the number of tests we're doing on existing implementations,” in order to make HTML5 truly successful.

While there is a lot of enthusiasm around HTML5, and all major browser vendors are investing in it, the present incompatibilities raise an alarm signal that HTML5 is not ready for production because developers may end up in the 90’s nightmare when Microsoft and Netscape implemented earlier HTML versions in different ways. Consequently, plans for production should be delayed for the second part of 2011 or early 2012 because the HTML5 Last Call documents is planned for the end of May 2011. That is supposed to bring the standard to a stable form.

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Community comments

  • benchmarking the Web

    by john zabroski,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Translation: There are no benchmarks for HTML5 compliance.

    How do you validate a HTML5 document's parse tree is valid? How do you validate the browser is rendering correctly?

    To me, the best kind of feedback is tests. Don't add noise to a mailing list that nobody from the major companies providing browsers has the time to read. Provide good tests that highlight implementation flaws.

  • HTML itself isn't "production ready" and never was

    by Thorsten Hamann,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I wonder what some people are smoking. HTML itself hasn't been "production ready" since it was invented. There have always been different browser implementations, bugs and whatnot. Cross-browser development always was a nightmare.

    The whole article is about a non-issue. So HTML5 won't be consistently supported among browsers. So what? How is that different from any other HTML version around?

    People will use HTML5 because it has features which are long overdue. If that involves cross-browser hacking, that's just like it was before, and will likely always be.

  • Building specifications is like building projects...

    by Ivan Zanev,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I think that specifications should be build in an iterative way. There should be testing from consumers to ensure the provided specification meets the standards (needs) of its clients. Clients' needs change through the time, so is the specification.

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