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Should you play the HTML5 waiting game?

I’ll be the first to tell you. I’m a gadget geek. When the first, second, third, and fourth iPhone came out I stood in line. When Steve jobs announced the iPad I yanked my wallet from my pocket and sprinted to the apple store.

This crazed, and by some measures impulsive, behavior has burned me many times. With my first MacBook AIR I found a device incapable of playing video be it from iTunes or a simple YouTube video clip.

Even now I’m dealing with these issues with Drupal 7. We launched the Smart Ameba web site on a release candidate and still find that while the core is pretty stable so many bugs crop up in modules that the site could not live without.

So when I read and review the features in HTML5 I want them now.

Lets face it. HTML5 is awesome. We get local storage, geo location, better hooks for CSS layout, cool styles like drop shadows or rounded corners, and lets not forget the ever controversial video tag.

But as always us web developers and designers are forced to deal with old legacy browsers and a populace that takes not days or weeks to upgrade. They take years.

The weird thing is that the HTML5 world is playing out a little differently than those of the past. While our desktops may still run old legacy browsers, chances are our mobile devices and tablets sport the latest of the latest. They come armed with the most recent and bleeding edge in browser technology. Heck, my Android and iPhone carrying family could not tell you a lick about HTML5 (no matter how many times I rant and rave) but they still hold in their hands devices more than capable of running the latest and the greatest HTML5 applications.

For the iOS faithful, HTML5 is an even bigger proposition. I spend many a weekend morning checking e-mails, blogs, and news on my iPad as my kids do summersaults and back flips from the bed. As anyone with an iOS device knows at some point my morning is spoiled with that horrible Flash plugin screen as you stumble across a video that you just can not watch.

For us web creators this places us in a weird bind. We know that iOS is the lion share of mobile and tablet web traffic, but we also know that for the time being this traffic is the minority. So what do we do? Build two sites? One for HTML5 while still fighting to keep the old legacy site working in Mosaic? Do we just say no to our iOS brethren?

I think its time we start forcing our users along.

As a web developer I still cringe when I look at nearly any site in Internet Explorer 6, and if that is the life you choose to live YOU should be forced to cringe everyday you surf the Internet. After all friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6.

Technology moves us forward but we can only move legacy users forward by creating innovative sites that show users that they truly need to take a few minutes from their lives and download that free web browser.

Long live HTML4, HTML4 is dead.


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