Microsoft: break up HTML 5

David Worthington
April 22, 2008 —  (Page 1 of 3)
The ever-increasing intricacy of the World Wide Web is evidenced by the character and scope of the HTML 5 draft specification. Microsoft wants to hasten HTML 5’s arrival, but its proposed solution may not sit well with all parties.

In a recent interview, Internet Explorer platform architect Chris Wilson told SD Times that more progress could be made with teams working in parallel, and he recommended that portions of the HTML 5 specification be broken off and assigned to new workgroups.

That might not be as radical as it sounds, according to Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, who believes that it makes sense to subdivide HTML 5 into smaller, more manageable pieces. “I can’t even imagine how many years it will take browsers to implement it [HTML 5].” Hammond posited, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Wilson explained that several pieces of HTML 5 would be equally useful outside of it, particularly for Web applications and content. Those bits include such features as the Canvas APIs, which are used to render moving graphics; offline caching of Web applications' resources; persistent client-side data storage; and the peer-to-peer (P2P) networking connection framework.

Hammond noted that examples of those technologies are already prospering outside of HTML, such as local storage in Google Gears, and to him, the popularity of technologies like Flash and Silverlight demonstrates that there is a demand for the Canvas APIs. “These two in particular make a lot of sense to me … to split off from the larger specification and move [HTML 5] forward more rapidly,” Hammond said.

Larry O’Brien, an independent analyst and consultant who writes the Windows & .NET Watch column for SD Times, demurred, stating in an e-mail: “Canvas APIs define a resolution-dependent bitmap area. While somewhat of a half-step in HTML 5 (in that they are limited to 2D), it seems to me that this is an area where greater integration with text-markup is probably called for.”

Related Search Term(s): HTML 5, Microsoft

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