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HTML5 promises to revolutionize Web sites, Smartphone apps

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 18th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A new online tool that promises to launch the next era of Web sites, Smartphone apps and online video is finished and is "feature complete." Testing remains to be done on HTML%, but once it's ready to the avid public, it promises to change the way the world uses the Web.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Long-in-the-works, HTML5 hasn't yet become an official Web standard -- that will come in 2014. There won't be any new features added to HTML5, which means Web designers and app makers now have a "stable target" for implementing it.

The HTML5 language lets developers deliver in-the-browser experiences that previously required standalone apps or additional software like Java, Adobe's Flash or Microsoft's Silverlight. HTML5 does support lightning-fast video and geolocation services, offline tools and touch, among other bells and whistles.

The Worldwide Web Consortium has been developing the spec for the better part of a decade.

"As of today, businesses know what they can rely on for HTML5 in the coming years," CEO Jeff Jaffe said in a statement. "Likewise, developers will know what skills to cultivate to reach smart phones, cars, televisions, e-books, digital signs, and devices not yet known."

Most of the top browser makers didn't wait for the language to be 100 percent finished before building support for some elements into their software. The latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari are already compatible with most HTML5 elements.

Among the two most prominent HTML5 users thus far are Netflix and Google's YouTube. Many others have also taken the leap. The Financial Times abandoned its Smartphone app last year in favor of an HTML5 mobile website.

A strong supporter of HTML5, Google has produced a viral interactive video in 2010 with the help of rock band Arcade Fire that showed off the potential of the new Web features. Firefox browser maker Mozilla made a splash in February when it created a Smartphone operating system called "Boot to Gecko," almost entirely based in HTML 5.

Then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2010 was able to unleash an epic rant against Flash. A year later, Adobe more or less conceded that Jobs was right, abandoning its mobile Flash software in favor of HTML5 support. Adobe, in its November 2011 blog called HTML5 "the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms."

More work to be done. Worldwide Web Consortium said that about 63 percent of Web and app developers are actively using HTML5 to make their sites and software, but "browser fragmentation" remains a big reason why many still aren't using it. Though most up-to-date browsers support at least some aspects of HTML5, older versions of some Web browsers like Microsoft's Internet Explorer do not.

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