Right before the Christmas season at the end of last year, a little snippet of news flew by which you may have missed: the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced that it had completed (and published) the full definition of both the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications. “Wait, what?” I hear you say, “but my phone already supports HTML5!”
Well, strictly speaking your phone and my desktop and Joe’s tablet all support their own flavors of HTML5. The latest version of the markup language has been in development over a few years and browser manufacturers have been keeping up to a certain extent. But, before you start complaining that your browser of choice doesn’t support the full HTML5 spec, consider the moving target that the browser manufacturers have had to aspire to. To a certain extent, it makes sense that the browsers would lag behind the spec: after all, you don’t want to have to discard code when the spec changes (I’ll stop for a moment right there as every programmer who’s ever made a living at this job howls with cynical laughter at that scenario).
But now the spec is finalized, the browsers can catch up and everyone’s happy. Right?
And that is another cue for some laughter among my readers: “proper user experience”. The issue here is that no longer do we just look at a website in a 960px-wide window as in days of yore. My desktop is 1920px across, my iPad is 2048px or 1536px depending on whether I hold it portrait or landscape, my Kindle Fire HD is 1280px × 800px, and my iPhone 5 is…whatever it is. With just that little lot on my desk (let alone my Surface RT) how can we talk about “proper user experience”? I must admit to being a little biased perhaps, but I kind of expect my web apps to look like they are native iOS apps on my iOS devices and like native Android apps on my Fire. And it would be great if the website had a “responsive” design as well for my desktop browser. (A responsive design for a web app is a UI that can change its rendering depending on the size of the browser window. For a discussion on why this is becoming more and more important in 2013 and beyond, see this Mashable article.) In other words, a proper user experience no matter which device is being used.
So, in answer to my somewhat flippant question above: if you view HTML5 as the markup language, then, no, of course not. If however you view it as the overall name for the HTML5/CSS3/JS UX triangle, then it’s close, but gets even closer with DXTREME.