Did Apple weaken the case for HTML5 and strengthen Flash with their "HTML5 Showcase"?
Monday, June 7, 2010 11:42:00 AM
Even though the blog post was written as a response to questions about why Opera and other browsers couldn't show the demos, it partially ended up as a discussion about the viability of HTML5 as a cross-browser solution! That was not my intention, nor do I believe that it was Apple's intention to send that message with their "HTML5 Showcase". I am confident that HTML5 is not only future-proof, but also a necessary step in the evolution of the web.
But we cannot ignore the reality of things: It seems that HTML5 has taken a blow among some people. Instead of promoting HTML5, Apple's "HTML5 Showcase" may have unwittingly strengthened Flash's position in the market, and raised questions among some people (whether these questions are justifiable or not):
Since Apple saw the need block other browsers, does that mean that HTML5 is lacking when it comes to cross-browser support?
Since Apple had to resort to mostly using anything but HTML5 to promote HTML5, does that mean that HTML5 is severely lacking?
My response, of course, is a resounding NO! HTML5 is here to stay, and it has support from all the major browser vendors. They are all working together to ensure that HTML5 works well across all browsers and platforms.
But Apple's "showcase" was indeed seen by some as a lack of confidence in HTML5 as a future-proof technology as well as a cross-browser delivery platform. As one Adobe employee put it (like myself, he likely speaks on behalf of himself rather than his employer): "A Web standards demo that doesn't work across browsers reminds me of lame, counterproductive Flash Player demos."
Apple did receive a lot of criticism across the web (perhaps one of the most scathing by Mozilla's Christopher Blizzard in his "intellectual honesty and html5" where he also takes Google to to task), and maybe it can serve as a lesson and reminder for everyone: Let's not try to promote HTML5 by making it a walled garden.
And let's not reduce HTML5 to a meaningless buzzword.
Note: If you want to know what HTML5 actually is beyond a misused buzzword, take a look at the Wikipedia article on HTML5 (note that CSS3 is not HTML5!). You can also read the HTML5 specification to learn more about the scope of HTML5.