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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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