An interview with Aura Interactiva´s CTO, about what is HTML5 all about.
Adrián Murillo, software developer, CTO of Aura Interactiva, and also an interactive media producer has stand out in the technology industry. He has over 20 years of experience in software development and specialties in audiovisual production, web development and interactive media production... As such, we decided to interview him and gather high quality explanations on what is this HTML5 all about.
1. What is HTML5?
To say it in as few words as possible, HTML5 is the last version of the HTML language. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and is the main tool used to build web pages (although it can be used for offline content as well); it defines their basic structure and all the building blocks that conform them. This goes back as far as 1991, when its first description became publicly available, and has underwent many revisions, adjusments and minor and major changes over the years.
Now, saying that HTML5 is the last version is a bit misleading. The real last version is 4.01. That is the last one that has been published as an official recommendation, and the most robust and stable for now.
2. So, it’s still work in progress. Does that mean that HTML5 is not yet ready for production? Is it changing that much?
Not really. It is very stable, and it doesn’t change that much. However, you must always keep in mind that it is indeed work in progress, and changes will certainly show up.
3. What does that mean for developers? Should we wait until it is published to begin working with it?
From a developer point of view, you just need to be aware that there are some features that still need work, and are prone to change. You must keep informed on the draft’s evolution, and respond accordingly. It is not necessary to wait, its current status is solid enough to begin working on a production level. In fact, lots of big companies are pushing HTML5 as a development standard, like Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and Google.
4. Wy is that? Why are they pushing HTML5, even when it has not been fully released?
There are lots of answers to that question. First, HTML5 is open, and does not depend on a particular vendor for its development and updating. That means that you won’t become attached to one company to develop your content; there are hundreds of organizations involved, and there is no real risk of becoming a technology orphan, if things go awry.
Second, it has progressively become the de facto standard for mobile websites, where plugins like Adobe Flash canot be used, and rich interactivity is needed. Practically all modern mobile devices have support for HTML5, in some cases even better than desktop computers.
As a matter of fact, even on desktop computers, the web is inexorably turning its back to plugin based content. Components like Flash, Sliverlight and even the old timer Java are slowly but certainly being phased out. HTML5 is one really good alternative to them, to be able to keep developing interactive and rich content, without needing to install additional software.
These are just a couple of motives that come to mind. There are lots of other reasons to make the switch. You’ll find more, and even get your own, when you start working with it.
5. So, should I care about HTML5 only if I plan to develop for the Internet?
One of the main characteristics of HTML5 is that it is portable, and system independent. You develop once, and can deploy almost everywhere. You don’t need to create one version, in a specific language, for Windows, another for Mac, another one for iOS, and yet another for Android (and that’s only four of the myriad of platforms out there). You develop using HTML5, and most modern platorms will be able to run your content as-is.
That is not to say that you won’t need to adjust your product for a particular platform, but adjusting is very different than rebuilding. There are techniques to approach this situation, like responsive design or the mobile-first strategy. These take one single structure, and adapt it to all the different display and input styles that are now on use.
So, you build one application and, for example, take consideration of how it will respond to mouse and how it will respond to touch, and you can deploy to many, many platforms.