THE PRIORITY OF CONSTITUENCIES
One of the major components and original ideas behind HTML5 is the priority of constituencies construct. Very simply, the W3C characterizes it as:
In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity. In other words costs or difficulties to the user should be given more weight than costs to authors; which in turn should be given more weight than costs to implementors; which should be given more weight than costs to authors of the spec itself, which should be given more weight than those proposing changes for theoretical reasons alone. Of course, it is preferred to make things better for multiple constituencies at once.
This is essentially the opposite approach that the now defunct previous specification had taken. What it means is that the spec will not be driven by theoretical purity but by real-world experiences. I’ve been writing (mostly) theoretically pure markup since I began working on the Web and any Web developer should do this as a matter of principle rather than because the spec requires it. This allows the flexibility of HTML to be built-in rather than added on.
MOBILE WEB EXPERIENCES
While the majority of web browsing is still done mostly on PCs, the area of web browsing that is growing the fastest is in the mobile space. Smart phones and web enabled small screen devices have exploded in popularity. Part of what makes these devices effective is the lean approach they take to extend battery life and function with processor power that is more or less equivalent to the computers of nearly a decade ago. As such, the rich application experiences common to PC browsing requires computing and processing power that taxes battery life and drags in performance. HTML5 helps mitigate this issue by simplifying the technology to a basic standard that can be run within the browser without third party applications or plugins.
Indeed, in Steve Jobs open letter, addressing his company’s policy of not supporting Flash on portable apple devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad, he directly highlights the power draining, processor intensive practices of Adobe’s Flash product.
While HTML5 may not have the urgency to deliver its power saving, processor lean aspects for PCs, the mobile space is crying out for this flexibility. Marketers and developers alike will find respite in HTML5 as it levels the playing field, giving them greater control and more universal access to creating truly cross platform browsing experiences.
AN OPEN STANDARD
While HTML5 as a fully approved spec will not take place for some time, this technology is uniquely poised to become a standard built upon the direct input of the community. In addition to the W3C and the group of browser developers and Internet evangelists from WHAT WG, the greater community of web developers and architect will influence the evolution of HTML5. If the endeavor proves successful, it will result in a technology of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Currently, there are many ways for you to get involved and learn more about HTML5:
- Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group
WHATWG is responsible for championing the HTML5 spec that was taken up by the W3C.
- World Wide Web Consortium – HTML5 Overview
The W3C is in charge of reviewing and approving the final spec for HTML5.
- HTML5 Doctor & HTML5 Demos
HTML5 Doctor and Remy Sharp’s HTML5 Demos have excellent demos, examples, and references.
While HTML5 is still very much an emerging technology, it is an important technology that has far reaching implications for everyone. For marketers, this is important since this will be the new digital medium through which customers interact with your products and services online. For developers, this is the chance to transcend the murky boundaries of the rich internet. For the rest of us, HTML5 is the promise of a new and exciting chapter of the Web. One in which we will experience new interactions that vary subtly from what we see today while others we have never seen before. For now, we should only seek to match our audience to our capabilities and use HTML5 as an effective tool toward better communication and interaction.