The web has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, and technology has struggled to keep up with the demand. The rule of the day appears to be a series of quick fixes and patches to keep everything together, and practically every browser available today has had more than its fair share of work arounds.
But it doesn’t stop there. The demands for media and interactivity has outgrown any and all standards. In the place of a cohesive system, we have any number of plugins and extensions for the popular browsers. Each of these plugins can be seen as a requirement to experience certain parts of the web, and each can present their own security issues. In a word, things are a real mess when held up to closer inspection.
Emerging Web Devices
As if that wasn’t enough, add in a whole new class of computers to share the web. I am talking about the emergence of the smartphone, and its close cousin the tablet computer. These devices are now serving many millions of users, and they all want access.
In fact, the numbers for the new mobile device paradigm are so large that a website cannot afford to ignore them. And it is not showing any signs of slowing down. But the existing services in place for the desktop will not work for a few of the most popular devices currently on the market. So, what is the best strategy for a website to adopt in order to serve the needs of the users?
HTML5 As a Solution
At first glimpse it would seem that HTML5 would be the perfect solution. HTML5 ties together the needs of today’s user, and incorporates such features as multimedia and interactivity into the standard itself.
Not only that,but the majority of the latest devices support HTML5, as do the latest versions of the popular desktop browsers. HTML5 is no doubt the future of the web, so it makes sense to start migrating that direction. In fact, it would almost seem to be the perfect solution, since it covers desktop and mobile device needs. But there is a problem.
The Fly in the Ointment
Now, as I said, HTML5 is no doubt the future of the web. And at some point, if you run a web site you will need to support the standard. But we live in the right here and now, and those millions of devices need to be supported today, six months from now, and next year.
So, making a move now to HTML5 sounds great for both a short term and long term solution. The popular devices out now are happy, and it will work for later. But the problem is with a new family of devices coming on the market.
That problem has the name of Windows Phone 7 (WP7). In a few words, Windows Phone 7 does not support HTML5. Unlike Android, iOS, and others, WP7 is back a generation on its browser. The investment in HTML5 would leave these users unsupported.
No Simple Solution
So there you have it – there is no simple solution. For the time being, a web site needs to work with the existing paradigm and incorporate at least some elements of HTML5 if they want to provide a multimedia experience to all current devices. And the bad news is this – it is not going to get any better any time soon. That is, unless Microsoft reverses its stance on releasing WP7 with a less than modern browser. But I don’t look for that it happen.