Forrester: Bump the HTML5 effort; this isn't 2011 anymore

Summary:We're not living in 2011 anymore. This is 2012, where HTML5 can spread its wings and stretch out, thinks Forrester.

Forrester is putting its foot down: 'Enough is enough.' With close to 75 percent of all Web browsers in North America compatible with HTML5, it's about time we gave up our Flash habit.

From Q2 2011 to Q2 2012, Forrester said it saw a jump from 57 percent to 75 percent in HTML5 browser pentration, rising from around half of all browsers to now three-quarters compatible with the standard.

no-flash-inside

Market research firm Forrester says the latest Web standard -- HTML5 -- should be embraced into the bosom of business and enterprise companies, and Flash and other plug-ins should be left out to pasture.

HTML5 uses traditional Web-based coding languages, including CSS3 and JavaScript -- used by not only desktops and tablets, but smartphones also -- and replaces much of the functionality in plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft's Silverlight, and Apple's QuickTime. (Not always, but often.)

"The tide is turning," said Forrester's Peter Sheldon. "Leading online brands, including Apple, Best Buy, Four Seasons Hotels, and Rue La La to name a few, are now putting the features of HTML5 to use on their desktop sites."

Last time you visited Apple.com, did you notice anything different? Try right-clicking on that video of the new iPad, and you may (or may not be) surprised to see that the video is not Flash, Silverlight, or even Apple's own QuickTime for that matter.

It's a HTML5 video. Magical.

But the trouble faced by developers is the fragmented support by browsers on the market.

Internet Explorer remains at the top of the market share rankings, though only the latest unreleased version of Microsoft's browser fully supports HTML5 at 319 points on the compatibility chart, compared to Internet Explorer 9 which stands at a meager 138 points

Compare this to: IE 6 ranks at just 26, Mozilla's Firefox 14 stands at 345 points, and Google's latest release of Chrome 21 at 437. 

One of the reasons so many stick with Internet Explorer 6 is because it's compatible with existing Web applications.

Back in the day, Windows XP coupled with Internet Explorer and Flash ran most Web applications necessary for the usual CRM, ERP and project management tools. In many cases, apps still heavily rely on Flash for graph-building and overall grace and prettiness. 

As of July, Internet Explorer 6's market share stood at 6.0 percent of the overall browser market, according to figures supplied by Net Applications.

But because HTML5 isn't "new," in that it uses newer versions of older technologies, rollout of such Flash replacements can be issued incrementally in an investment pitch that over time will keep ahead of the curve. 

The age old dilemma remains: either invest in developing new HTML5 applications, and throw in new hardware and software at the same time, or remain on legacy systems and keep the status quo.

Many are opting for the latter, but it's probably better to stay ahead of the curve rather than falling behind to the point where you can't catch up.

Topics: IT Priorities, Apps, Browser, Enterprise 2.0

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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