Five Myths About HTML5 You Shouldn’t Believe

Five Myths About HTML5 You Shouldn’t Believe

HTML5 is essential for developing modern web sites and frequently touted as a future path for mobile app development, but its reputation is often clouded by hype. Here are five myths about HTML5 you shouldn’t believe.

Lifehacker’s coverage of Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2014 is presented by the Microsoft Cloud, providing flexible enterprise cloud solutions for business.

Gartner analyst Gene Phifer ran through some common HTML5 myths during a presentation at the Gartner PCC conference in Los Angeles. These are the five he singled out.

Myth: HTML5 is a single unified entity

Reality: “HTML5 is an term that covers a lot of things,” Phifer said. “It’s definitely not a cohesive single entity.”

Myth: HTML5 is a well-defined standard

Reality: “There are multiple standards bodies with their fingers in the pie. Sometimes you get this duelling thing going on.”

“HTML5 has problems, not the least of which is not done yet. It’s still in the standards bodies. For the things that are done, you should feel safe to use them. But recognise that some bits are not done yet and if you have to go there, you may be entering the world of proprietary standards.”

Some standards have also fallen by the wayside. “WebSQL is pretty much dead in the standards body,” Phifer said. “I would not invest a lot of time in that. Look to IndexedDB instead.”

Myth: HTML5 is a revolutionary and radical change

Reality: “It introduces a lot of new capabilities that we have been longing for. Is it going to create a whole new model? No. It is an evolutionary step versus a revolutionary step — but that’s OK.”

Myth: HTML5 makes it easy to run on multiple devices

Reality: “Different browser vendors are adopting HTML5 at different paces,” Phifer noted. And that creates future risks. “Browser vendors are notorious for extending standards. Many times those browser extensions get you into big trouble. Be careful about browsers. Don’t write to browsers or browser versions. We know from history that’s not smart, it hurts, it’s expensive. “

“If you have to use extensions, compartmentalise that. Make sure you can tweak that code without having to go through everything. But if you don’t have to, don’t do it at all.”

If you’re after responsive design, you don’t need full-blown HTML5; most of the key features are already in CSS3. “Responsive design uses a built-in feature of CSS3, CSS Media Query, and allows you to build one site and lay out how you want things to look on different sizes.”

Myth: HTML5 has lousy performance

Reality: “HTML5 is performant, and it’s getting better every day — but depending on what you’re doing you may need to do something different For some mobile apps, snippets of native code to supplement the web code can work.”

HTML picture from Shutterstock


  • What I don’t understand is why someone would print out HTML source code?

  • How about
    Myth: HTML5 video is the bees knees cureall to abolish flash.

    Reality: At the moment HTML 5 video
    – doesn’t support live streaming
    – will continue to download the entire file even when paused (in most if not all browsers, which can cost the supplier and the viewer if they don’t intend to finish the video, instead of just buffering a reasonable chunk)
    – makes it very easy to create a copy of the video (ie no DRM, in some views thats good, but it makes content producers nervous, which means that flash will still be used for that content)
    – still requires multiple encoding formats

    • Tim, you also forgot to mention the ability to manipulate (via realtime PixelBender filters) and record video within Flash, not to mention the possibility of generating, transcoding, and saving directly from within the application. Mind you, Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Flash” failed to mention any of these things while simultaneously slagging Flash for being a poorly built toy from a bygone era; and this is, after all, a man who got filthy rich by pushing Apple products on the uninformed public who even today clamor for the next “insanely great” new color that Apple “invented”, so you know he’s right. According to Jobs, that new “invention” was most likely stolen because people like him are “artists”, “great artists steal”, and Apple has always “been shameless about stealing great ideas”. Yes, I know I’m taking that out of context and genius that Jobs’ was, he was actually completely unable to express himself verbally and requires fanboi follow-up to clarify what he really meant, which is that Apple is really merely “influenced” by other inventions but regularly comes up with novel new derivations all the time…things like pinching or swiping with your fingers which are among the most hotly defended of Apple’s many “inventions”.
      Whatever you may say about Apple, at least they got to where they are based on good old-fashioned American ingenuity and un-matched American work ethic, and their success is an all-American success (yay!); Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wintek are just a few examples for the doubters.

  • Performant:- Someone who performs.

    Not sure I like this new meaning of ‘having good performance’. Already we have Adjective laden but ultimately useless ways of describing performance. As geeks and scientists we should be pushing for quantitative language when describing ‘performance’ and drag the rest of society kicking and screaming into reality instead of the commercial world where everything is “New and improved”.

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