W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

Summary: There is a ton of anticipation around HTML5 and some sites are experimenting with it already, but the W3C threw cold water on those experiments this week with a warning that the standard remains incomplete.


HTML5 is about to take the training wheels off the Web and unleash a new generation of Internet applications. That has Web developers, cloud computing startups, and the big three tech companies -- Microsoft, Google, and Apple -- salivating over the possibilities for new and improved Web products with desktop-like capabilities.

However, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the official governing body that oversees HTML5, warned the Web community this week that HTML5 is not a ratified standard and that implementing it too soon is not wise.

"The problem we're facing right now is there is already a lot of excitement for HTML5, but it's a little too early to deploy it because we're running into interoperability issues," said Philippe Le Hegaret, W3C interaction domain leader.

"We basically want to be feature-complete by mid-2011," Le Hegaret said. At that point, the W3C will open it up for a final call for comments from members and then move to the recommendation stage. "And then we're done," said Le Hegaret.

That makes it sound like it will probably be early 2012 before this thing is settled.

One of the most popular HTML5 features that has been talked about (and even implemented in a few cases) is its video capabilities, which companies such as Apple are counting on to eventually replace Flash. However, even that is still half-baked at this point.

HTML5 still does not have a video codec. It can't use the popular MPEG-4 format because it has "patent issues" according to Le Hegaret. Google is hoping that it's open source WebM format could become the default, but that is far from settled yet.

The other issue is digital rights management (DRM). HTML5 doesn't have it, because HTML5 is an open standard. Le Hegaret said, "If we are going to develop a solution for DRM which is open, it would be broken by a hacker within two days. There is no point of us doing that." Le Hegaret added that a compromise could be reached on DRM, but it is not currently a part of the road map.

For more on HTML5's lack of readiness, including more quotes from W3C, check out this InfoWorld report.

This article was originally published on TechRepublic.

Topic: Software Development

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  • Hopefully we can have pre-standard implementations by mid 2011. Of course

    we already have pre-standard implementations, but, more like pre-pre-standard.
    • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

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      • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

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      • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

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      • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

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  • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

    Apple hopes nobody reads what the W3C stated...alas they are the kings of denial though!
    • W3C are a bunch of bureaucrats strangling in their ideology

      and they'll be left behind by the producers in society. Some company (Apple) will simply start implementing it and the others will follow suit. And sometime in 2012, after everyone is already using html 5, the W3C will make some meaningless announcement about their standards being codified.
      • Except for one problem

        We'll have a situation where the "standards" vary between browsers... wait. We already do? Google's is different from Microsoft's is different from Apple's is different from Opera's is different from Mozilla's.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

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  • But... but... but... if HTML 5 isn't a standard...

    then what exactly does it mean when a browser fails the HTML 5 test at html5test.com?

    Oh. It just means that your browser isn't approved by Apple.
    • html5test site is a joke anyway. it says right on there

      "It does not try to test all of the new features offered by HTML5, nor does it try to test the functionality of each feature it does detect." This is like people claiming CSS compatibility just for passing acid3, which is equally non reliable...
      Johnny Vegas
  • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

    And Apple has 2 more years to yell at Adobe and not include it in its devices.
  • Another 2 years of "limited web" iPads?

    No thanks. I pay my carrier for the whole web; not just the parts that Steve Jobs thinks I should access.
    • Right, because it's so much more satisfying to be Adobe's little

      nubile servant.
      • Wow, you apple apologists are really reaching these days.


        Maybe you can embellish on how using free software makes one a servant? or, locks them into any kind of relationship, as your nubile reference suggests?
    • RE: W3C warns HTML5 isn't ready for prime time

      @trickytom3 Another fake comment from the fake CIO.
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  • HTML5 Not ready?? NO S**T SHERLOCK

    Not even close. Want to know why? Read what he said and think about that mentality. "open it up for a final call for comments from members and then move to the recommendation stage. And then we?re done,? said Le Hegaret. This brain dead mentality by the W3C is a huge part of the problem. YOUR NOT DONE UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPREHENSIVE COMPATIBILITY TESTS!!! This is why html 1,2,3, and 4, and xhtml, and css 1,2,and 3 all work different in different browsers. It's assinine to make a recommendation on a spec that's stuffed full of ambiguities. And you don't get a sense for how you've done on that without TESTS. Do not let anyone put an HTML5 compatible logo on anything until you have full test coverage and it's passed it.
    Johnny Vegas