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HTML5 gets a logo, but isn't ready yet as a final product

Fireworks and celebrations, HTML5 got a logo. Cool, isn't it? Or is it? A standard that didn't reach a final revision is already marketed as the next-generation panacea that will help everyone on the web. You can buy stickers and shirts, put the logo on your website and what not. All available here. I don't have anything against it and I admit it - it does look nice. But let's think about it on a different level. Why a standard that isn't fully supported in any of the available browsers and is planned to have its final specs available in 2022, gets a logo, in 2011? Why not focus on the actual development of the specifications? There are many opinions on this, mainly people thinking that it is all about marketing, and it indeed it is. This whole situation rezonates to me the same way as this analogy with cars - for now it's plain advertisement of a prototype car that is sold in some places and sometimes you might have the chance to drive it. But nobody guarantees you that it will drive well wherever you go and in some places it might not even start. But at the same time, every town and big city is filled with billboards and posters "how great <Model X> is".

Frankly saying, I couldn't care less about the logo itself -  I'd like to see full support of HTML5 in major browsers. IE9, Firefox 4 and Chrome do have some level of support for the fresh standard, but not even close to be able to say that I can enjoy every single HTML5 capability there. Even though it is the developers'  responsibility to fully implemnent HTML5 in their browsers, why not wait until there are several solid builds that have HTML5 support at a decent level and then start promoting it? Trying to knock RIA platforms off, the marketing machine in this case took it a bit over the limit to get people excited about something that's not yet there. By getting people excited about HTML5 right now, W3C forgets about the fact that developers are prone to disappointment with specific tools. And although there are already lots of people who are quite pumped about the whole "no more Flash" thing, not everyone realizes that if they start working solely with HTML5 at this point, they will miss a significant market group - people who don't have HTML5-compatible browsers. There are millions of those.

What happens next is something that is well-expected. If HTML5 is not supported (at it's full capacity) by major browsers, developers will switch to the tools that are supported, like Silverlight and Flash. And HTML5 will be avoided in many cases, as much as impossible this sounds. No, HTML5 is not doomed, it will simply be used less = "Remember when we tried using HTML5 for that? Yeah, me too." With the current deadlines, I do believe that by 2022 we could (not that we necessarily will) see a completely different replacement for HTML - maybe a more media oriented markup (maybe it's not even going to be markup based) language. Instead of trying to push an unfinished product on the market, W3C should speed up the approval process and make sure that there is a finished and well-defined standard as soon as possible, and this should not be measured in years. Yeah, of course I understand that HTML5 is intended to be a replacement for HTML4, DOM2 HTML and XHTML1, but still - take the software industry as an example. How many users would say that they are willing to wait till 2022 to update their OS. None, and if it takes that long, people will start switching to something else that is better maintained and updated at a much faster pace. The key in today's IT industry is speed. If you can create a high-quality product fast, you are most likely to win.

I am not opposing the expansion of HTML5 - I think it is a great improvement and it will have its impact on the web. What I am trying to emphasize, though, is that there should be specific priorities - have it done and then market it. Or at least expect to get it done and ready in a shorter time span.

 

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