Looking to Steer Clear the HTML5 Potholes?Articles December 13, 2012
Every emerging technology undergoes the test of fire which is a given fact and HTML5 is no exception in the strict sense. Touted to replace flash, HTML5’s proponents blew its capabilities out of proportion even while HTML5 was still in its nascent stages. This, over the past months, has been fueling a glaring gap between what’s expected of HTML5 and the actuals. Although developers are tearing ahead making considerable headway, it’s the browsers that need to catch up.
The developer community has always been head over heels about latest technologies and shows no inhibitions to embrace it with both hands. Developers have a clear idea about what HTML5 is capable of given the stance of certain platform vendors. Despite the official validation not expected before 2020, developers are in no mood to slow down. While this can be a problem of sorts when viewed from the standardization point of view, but for the developer community it’s a free world with no rules/guidelines.
Keeping apace with the progress being made by the developer community, browsers are toiling day in and day out to support the capabilities acquired by HTML5. In the days to come, HTML5 support would be the key defining factor as far as browser capabilities are concerned. This is because the advancement in HTML5 is of little meaning if browser capabilities are not enhanced parallelly.
The rampant use of HTML5 to build apps and sites have put tremendous pressure on browser developers to prepare browsers that are fast, light on resources and efficient. As of now Internet Explorer 9 & 10, Firefox 7 and higher, Chrome 14 and higher, Safari 5 and higher, Opera 11 and higher, Mobile Safari 3.2 and higher, Opera Mobile 5 and Android 2.1 support HTML5 elements. However, in order for browsers to support all HTML5 elements, there’s still a long way to cover as revealed in the Ringmark test.
Various studies, particularly by IDC, predict HTML5 to form a major portion (if not 100%) of mobile apps’ code in the near future. And the ratio of HTML5 in mobile apps can only be expected to go north. Having said that, the question looms large for adopters – has HTML5 matured enough? Well, this would need a collective answer from all the quarters.
HTML5 is surely on its way to glory unless it gets over the woes that are a constant irritant for developers and users.
- Out of sync
The offline and online nature of apps is an area of concern especially when it comes to syncing of data. While being connected, syncing is automatic but when not, syncing doesn’t happen. And when substantial amount of data is accumulated in the server, synchronization can be a major headache. It’s the same case when the app is accessed from a different device or location.
- Namesake database
A salient feature of HTML5 is offline data storage, wherein the data is stored in the browser. This is one reason why HTML5 is adored because it gives a desktop type feeling to the user. But the flip side to this feature is that the user has no means to access the data like they do on a desktop. The user can’t see where the data is stored; they can’t know the contents, create copies or backup the data. Since the format in which the data is stored is unknown, the user cannot surf through the data if they need any information.
- Data insecurity
HTML5 has limitations in storing data and that’s why we’ve the servers, be it cloud or not. Now the user pay for the app, the device, the service and even for the hosting, but what’s the right the user has on their data? The terms and conditions speak nothing about ownership of data. They’re more or less a virtual ownership of one’s data and occurrences of loss of data ain’t uncommon wherein the server people just wash their hands off the issue. Neither HTML5 nor the hosting company can guarantee that your data will stay.
- Compulsory upgradation
Ever thought upgrades would be a problem? Upgrades for HTML5 powered apps are imposed on its users even if they don’t want it. This poses serious risks to the users in the form of corrupt allied programs or apps that worked well pre-upgradation.
Bridging The Gap
The tremendous pace at which changes are being introduced is a reason why developers and users aren’t on the same page. At times it is confusing as to what’s developed and for whom the development is being done.
For users it is essential that they clearly put across what they expect from the HTML5 website or app to avoid any future discontentment. Users should know that the mind blowing capabilities of HTML5 is not something that is independent but a combination of various technologies tied to the browsers’ capabilities. Needless to say that this technology is evolving and a clear cut timeframe about when all the proposed capabilities are realized is obscure
Developers should have constant interaction with the users in order to have a clear idea about the expectations. Provide the users with snapshots of how their app or site would look like, since seeing is believing. Make them understand as to how much of their expectations can actually be met because no matter what potential HTML5 holds, the end product should reflect the users’ needs and expectations.
About the Author
Rohit Singhal is an emarketer working with PixelCrayons, a web development company. The company specializes in ecommerce solutions, CMS solutions, responsive web design implementation, HTML5 Web Development and more.