This photo represents some of the technologies (pint glasses) that HTML5 (t-shirt) is thought to encompass (drink). The horror of that concept is represented by the hands (defensive wounds coming).
I had the pleasure of sharing some pints with Bruce Lawson and Chris Mills last week in London. While discussing what bands are emo versus punk rock and during an exchange of favorite phrases to refer to the chronically daft, we touched on HTML5 and its perceptions a bit.
This thought process was rekindled just this week when I got in a discussion with a not-very-technical manager of web projects who insisted on mobile support and decidedly CSS3-based styling by implementing HTML5. The key here is the insistence on using HTML5. For a little context, we use HTML 4.01 Transitional for our projects. It's a valid and complete specification. It allows us to use things like WOFF, CSS3, AJAX, support mobile devices and so on.
For developers and the people that manage them, including those who write on these topics, I have a different expectation than I have from clients. Allowing HTML5 to mean CSS3, geolocation, H.264, or any other technology just makes it harder on us who work in this space. A technology for a project should be chosen based on the goals at hand, not because a client insists on it because of a misunderstanding of a brand or because the press release will sound great when citing how cutting edge everyone is. Most importantly, a technology should not be chosen because of confusion over terminology — least of all when that term actually refers to one particular specification.
Please, fellow developer/writer/manager, make an effort to understand the technologies you reference so you do not confuse other developers/writers/managers, set incorrect expectations with clients, or generally demonstrate that you do not get it (especially if you want to work for me).
I have written on this extensively (with many links in each article that are to further details not written by me):
- W3C Clarifies HTML5 Logo Is for HTML Only
- HTML5 Finally Gets... a Logo?
- Google, Arcade Fire Confused on HTML5
- Google Doodle: Bouncy Balls Aren't HTML5
- HTML5 and CSS3 Confusion
If you are a writer (whether a journalist, blogger or analyst) then please take a few moments to read this useful and informational post: HTML5: notes for analysts and journalists (also not written by me). There will be a quiz. I don't know when, but there will be a quiz.
Now, to reveal how Bruce and Chris really felt about the HTML5 confusion:
Here are posts from both Bruce and Chris discussing this confusion, within the context of the new HTML5 logo muddying the point earlier this year: