Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I lead Design at a stealthy startup. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

But seriously, who gives a shit?

Blog entry // 08.02.2010 // 1:09 PM // 44 Comments

On the term “HTML5

Yesterday, Jeffrey Zeldman linked up a very cool project entitled html5test.com. It’s very well-done, and incredibly useful. You should check it out.

Today, the always-insightful Tantek Çelik responded to Jeffrey’s post, accurately noting that many of the items the so-called “HTML5 Test” was checking are not actually part of the HTML5 specification at all (for example, Microdata, Geolocation, and more.) Tantek goes on to say, “We as a community that is learning/relearning/teaching all this stuff need to vigilantly clarify what’s what rather than calling things “HTML5? that are not actually HTML5.”

I say: Why?

Tantek doesn’t give any reasoning for the importance he places on us “vigilantly clarifying what’s what,” so I’m left to assume his inner pedant is simply bothered by the misuse of the term. That’s fine, and even to be expected from those in the “Standardista” community — after all, they love nothing more than to debate semantics.

But I think there’s actually a very good reason why we should, in fact, embrace the term “HTML5” as an overarching buzzword for this latest round of web standards and specifications. Our industry has proven on several occasions that we don’t get excited about new, interesting, and useful technologies and concepts until such a buzzword is in place.

AJAX,” of course, is the canonical example of this. DOM scripting, XMLHttpRequest, and dynamic Javascript all existed long before the term “AJAX”. But it wasn’t until the clever term was coined that anyone really cared. As soon as we had a single, simple word we could all get behind, Javascript really took off. A proliferation of frameworks and libraries hit the scene, and suddenly we were all building dynamic web projects. And the term was misused. Badly. Left and right. Much of the great code being written didn’t use XML. Much of it wasn’t asynchronous. But most of it was pretty great, and it was usually called “AJAX” wether it really was or not. And pedants went crazy. They argued about the semantics of the term “AJAX” until they were blue in the face. But in the end, no one would argue that “AJAX” wasn’t a good thing for our industry. Without that term, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

And it’s not just AJAX. If you want other examples, look no further then “Web 2.0” and “Microformats.” “HTML5” is today’s “AJAX.” Just as with “AJAX,” people are misusing the term all over the web. But it wasn’t until influential people and companies (notably Apple) started misusing the term that web developers at large (myself included) starting taking this new collection of web standards, specifications, and best practices seriously, as something that might be useful before 2022.

Sometimes we just need a word to rally behind. And put in job descriptions. And claim we “support” (another word that is mostly meaningless). It’s a language thing and a human psychology thing.

So be pedantic about the semantics of “HTML5” if you want, but don’t be surprised if no one really listens. This is something most people can understand and get behind. This, on the other hand, is not.

Comments

  1. 001 // Caleb Jenkins // 08.02.2010 // 1:25 PM

    Hooray to buzzwords and the human psyche! Good points and well put Jeff - It can be easy to cut standards’ hairs - when in the end, people just want more awesome web.

  2. 002 // Trey Piepmeier // 08.02.2010 // 1:26 PM

    It’s kind of like Richard Stallman complaining about people saying Linux without the “GNU/” prefix.

  3. 003 // Mykola Bilokonsky // 08.02.2010 // 1:27 PM

    I don’t disagree - mostly. I really like your general point. I guess if I have any concerns they revolve around the actual term chosen - “HTML5” dates itself as something highly specific. It’ll be good for about a year or so, but what happens when new JavaScript libraries come out that blow certain “HTML5” specs out of the water? Does the term survive? Do we suddenly start calling the next wave “HTML6” even though technically the world is still 10 years behind the release of HTML5?

    Maybe none of this really matters. I guess I just like the sort of out-of-nowhere WTF-ness of “AJAX”. I wish they’d have gone with something more general, like riHTML or something to that effect. I guess we had that with DHTML for a few years but nobody seemed to have any idea what exactly that meant.

    Hmm. I guess as I write it out I’m concerned about the number 5 more than anything, since that’ll get people amped up for #6 soon enough and then we’ll have a clusterfuck as pundits of varying technological savvy start naming things in ways that will quickly add up to confusion.

  4. 004 // Mrs. Flinger // 08.02.2010 // 1:28 PM

    Spot in, Jeff. I completely appreciate where you’re coming from here. There are a lot of idiosyncrasies behind the human - technology interface and “having a word we can rally behind” is part of that. As a girl who codes, knowing not everyone out there is arguing semantics helps me be, well, out there. I’m not going to argue semantics but I still have a voice in this big sea of web technology. It’s good to know my voice isn’t cancelled out.

  5. 005 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 1:31 PM

    I guess I just like the sort of out-of-nowhere WTF-ness of “AJAX”.

    It wasn’t really “out of nowhere” or more general, though. It stood for Asynchronous Javascript and XML — a very specific combination of technologies.

    Hmm. I guess as I write it out I’m concerned about the number 5 more than anything, since that’ll get people amped up for #6 soon enough and then we’ll have a clusterfuck as pundits of varying technological savvy start naming things in ways that will quickly add up to confusion.

    That’s fair. To be clear, I wouldn’t have chosen the term “HTML5.” I’m sure something better could have been coined. But it’s here, people are using it, and they’re getting excited about building awesome stuff — so let’s just embrace it and be happy.

  6. 006 // Tantek // 08.02.2010 // 1:34 PM

    Hi Jeff,

    Why? … Tantek doesn’t give any reasoning

    Reasoning provided in the very sentence you partially quoted from my comment on Zeldman’s blog post:

    http://www.zeldman.com/2010/08/0…

    … so we can better understand and reliably build HTML5 websites and web applications that use HTML5.”

    I certainly appreciate (if ironically) pedantry for pedantry’s sake, however, this isn’t about pedantry, this is about reliability, dependability, expectations, and productivity.

    HTML5 momentum is taking off - it doesn’t need AJAX-like vagueness to succeed.

    And I tend to disagree with your premise (that a marketing catchall is needed for things to take off). A counterexample to your thesis and an alternative thesis:

    Counterexample:

    DHTML” - remember that one? How well did that work out? It didn’t, it just confused the crap out of developers who couldn’t get things to predictably work in IE or Netscape etc.

    Alternative thesis:

    On the contrary, we got solid CSS1 and HTML4 support across browsers in the early 2000s due very much to WaSP “standardistas” (as you say) vigilantly clarifying what “CSS support” meant, with various tests, browser reports etc. (oh, and not to mention a solid CSS1 Test Suite from the W3C).

    Solid HTML4+CSS1 is what resulted in a Cambrian explosion of web design creativity (of which the CSS Zen Garden was an early example), variety, uptake etc.

    Not some vague marketing term.

    Right now we’re in the “DHTML” phase of “HTML5”, where it’s loose and marketed and confusing more developers than it’s helping.

    Once we have broader understanding of what HTML5 is, it’s part in the broader Open Web Apps platform, and proper verified tests, that is when we’ll see:

    • dependable cross-browser support of HTML5 (rather than a few features sometimes here and there)

    • many many more web developers understanding HTML5 and confidently deploying the parts that work cross-browser in professional and production web sites.

  7. 007 // Shane // 08.02.2010 // 1:37 PM

    I agree with you, I think sometimes people give new meanings to “words.” For instance the word, “BAD” all of a sudden started to mean “good” in the 80’s, and in many communities is still being used in that way.

    In most cases it is easy to pick a “term” or “Word” and use it to grab peoples attention. Thats what seems to be happening with HTML5. So I agree that the more important aspect of ALL of this is that it is indeed grabbing peoples attention.

    Heck, it’s grabbed mine. I even bought the book.

  8. 008 // Dan Mall // 08.02.2010 // 1:48 PM

    Totally hear your point, Jeff. And I don’t necessarily disagree either. I certainly think there’s something towards a term to rally behind.

    I think the danger has to do with communication. If we have a conversation about HTML5 and have different meanings behind it, we’re setting ourselves up for mismanaged expectations. If a client asks me for an HTML5 site wanting the bells and whistles of CSS3 animation and canvas, but I interpret it as solely meaning using the new semantics of the updated language, it becomes a difficult chasm to bridge. Sure, there are things I could do as a service provider to reconcile it, but I feel that a united definition and understanding of a term could go a long way to truly speaking the same language.

  9. 009 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 1:53 PM

    Hey Tantek! Long time…we should hang out again soon. :)

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I did in fact see your “…so we can better understand and reliably build HTML5 websites and web applications that use HTML5,” I just didn’t really feel like that was an explanation. The one you’ve provided here is much more through and makes some sense. You’re right that there are counter-examples to the idea that a catchy catchall term makes things happen — but I wasn’t suggesting that such a term might make HTML5 take off. Instead, I’m saying it already has.

    From my perspective, “HTML5” is the hottest topic in web development right now. Everyone’s exicted about it, everyone’s learning about it, and everyone’s starting to build stuff with it (“it” being all the related specs and standards, not just HTML5 proper). I don’t think that was the case before Apple threw it’s marketing muscle behind the term.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment. You know I have a ton of respect for you. I just think we’ll agree to disagree on this one. A catchy buzzword doesn’t always mean success for some web technology, but it has several times in the past, and I think it’s already proven to be the case with “HTML5,” too.

  10. 010 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 1:57 PM

    …I feel that a united definition and understanding of a term could go a long way to truly speaking the same language.

    Agrred. but it’s too late. We’re already here. Like I said in an earlier comment, if we could do this over again, I would have picked some term other than “HTML5” to mean, “all this cool new stuff.” But we can’t do it over again. That’s the term. We’re stuck with it. People are rallying behind it. It’s mentioned in countless mainstream articles (CNN, etc.). And it seems to be working in terms of generating developer excitement, just as “AJAX” did.

    So at this point, why fight against it? I think it’s futile and not particularly useful. Let’s just roll with it.

  11. 011 // Kai // 08.02.2010 // 2:23 PM

    Great post! A similar thing is happening on the CSS front where the new buzz word is of course CSS3. I’d say for 90% of the not so savvy web devs CSS3 stands for drop shadows and rounded corners. But I agree, if it helps bring new technologies and standards to the mainstream crowd (and hence to all browsers), I’d say ‘called it whatever you want’. The ones who need to know, know.

  12. 012 // Matt May // 08.02.2010 // 2:25 PM

    I’m sorry, but names and what they stand for matter. At least in this case.

    I agree completely that the web designers of the world need a common standard to rally around. But the reason standards exist is so that everyone agrees on what something means. “HTML5” is a well-defined term referring to a painfully long, inscrutable document that’s really only about 20% of the overall coolness of what browser vendors are working on. Which is fine. It’s just that it’s been a much greater success as a marketing slogan than as a spec.

    There are plenty of factors to consider when you look at what is and is not an acceptable part of the web platform. And when you call it all HTML5, you’re back to a “Web 2.0” level of understanding, where you get to have a 2-hour meeting with your clients just to figure out what the hell they mean when they say that. That’s not progress.

    Maybe none of this matters to you as a designer. Or to marketers. That’s fine. To Tantek and Zeldman, and to browser developers, and to standards bodies, HTML5 is well-bounded. It has to have a boundary, or else it’s an all-consuming, and thus meaningless, term. And to people who have a good picture of the architecture of the web, misusing it is a sign that you’re not one of those people. So feel free to use it however you want, but don’t be surprised when you get stuck in boring bullshit dick-waving pedantry like this whenever the distinction between technical HTML5 and marketing HTML5 actually makes a real-world difference.

  13. 013 // Nick Gassmann // 08.02.2010 // 2:33 PM

    I guess I don’t agree. I actually hate it when marketing people or clients ask for Web 2.0 this or HTML5 that without knowing what it is. I guess it’s a personal thing, but it irritates the crap out of me. If we care about everyone understanding a term, why are we letting those who deliver the “easily” understandable version deliver it incorrectly?

  14. 014 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 2:36 PM

    Maybe none of this matters to you as a designer.

    Maybe not. You’re the second person to say, “when clients ask for an HTML5 site.” I don’t have clients ask for an HTML5 site. Ever. And if they did, I would be very skeptical about taking them on as a client. Generally my clients come to me with business goals and problems and look to me to find the design and technical solutions. Usually they don’t really know, or care, if it’s “HTML5” or not.

    To Tantek and Zeldman, and to browser developers, and to standards bodies, HTML5 is well-bounded. It has to have a boundary, or else it’s an all-consuming, and thus meaningless, term.

    Absolutely. To those folks, it’s gotta be well-bounded. But I don’t think Tantek or browser developers or standards bodies are confused about what HTML5 is. Are they? What evidence is there to suggest they are?

    I guess what I’m saying is: those who need to understand, will. Those who don’t will just jizz their pants about “HTML5,” and all it entails (whether it really does or not), and all will be good. I don’t know that I see a real-world problem, here.

    Thoughtful post, though, Matt. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  15. 015 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 2:39 PM

    I guess it’s a personal thing, but it irritates the crap out of me.

    That’s a perfectly fair and honest explanation. It irritates you. I get it. At times, it irritates me, too. But our irritation is not indicative of a real-world problem that requires we “vigilantly clarify what’s what.”

  16. 016 // Paul Irish // 08.02.2010 // 3:17 PM

    re: tantek’s comments on HTML5 as a term (posted here as zeldman’s comment form has an overly aggressive spam filter)

    It tests things that it claims or implies are “HTML5? (or conflates them as such) that are not actually part of HTML5.

    Really? Still?

    Being overly pedantic about what features are in the HTML5 spec and what is not does not help people better understand this new set of feature and technologies. For instance, your new book and video HTML5 Now cover the canvas element and its API. Now technically, the element itself is a part of HTML5, but the 2D context is broken out into a separate W3C spec. Right, so the getContext method is HTML5, but canvas’s fillRect and lineTo methods are not HTML5. Does this clarification help the web community?

    While the “Open Web Platform” is a fine umbrella term capturing HTML5, CSS3, SVG, Canvas, and all related specs, it did not and will not win the branding war.

    Brad Neuberg covered this ground well in his post Why I’m Going to Keep Calling it HTML5:

    I originally thought the term Open Web would become how people referred to these things. “Oh, CSS3, Geolocation, etc.? Those are Open Web technologies!” I was even part of a group here at Google called the Open Web Advocacy team that was all about pushing things like HTML5, CSS3, SVG, and more forward. You know what? The term Open Web never really took off; I would say the term “Open Web” and people would give me a quizzical look. I even tried boiling it down to a succinct set of bullet points about what makes something an “Open Web Technology,” but no dice.

    We’re not doing the web community nor these specifications and features a service by clarifying what parent document their IDL resides in. We could be really technical about it and share that the WHATWG moved to an unversioned spec and now it’s just HTML. The W3C HTML working group just voted in similar direction.

    Now, we could use a compromise term like “HTML5 and related specs” or “HTML5 and friends”. In fact, on html5test.com, Niels broke out a number of tests into a “Related Specifications” section.

    But, one of the design principles of HTML is to pave the cowpaths; I think our nomenclature should reflect this as well.

  17. 017 // Chris Wilson // 08.02.2010 // 3:24 PM

    HTML5 is now a brand, more than it is a specification. There are a variety of reasons for that, and a variety of persons “responsible” for that confusion, but the ship has sailed.

    A few long years ago, Ben Galbraith described AJAX as “caring about the user experience of your web application, more than any particular set of technologies.” That description resonated (and resonates) with me; I’d suggest that HTML5-the-brand is really “the web platform, with finally all the bits you need to actually build full-featured client-side as well as client-server and mashup applications.” That’s a bit overreaching, because not all of those bits are there yet, but it’s a start.

  18. 018 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 3:32 PM

    But, one of the design principles of HTML is to pave the cowpaths; I think our nomenclature should reflect this as well.

    Totally. Love this. Great way to put it, Paul. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

    HTML5 is now a brand, more than it is a specification. There are a variety of reasons for that, and a variety of persons “responsible” for that confusion, but the ship has sailed.

    Bingo. Thanks so much for saying that so elegantly, Chris. I think that was part of my point, and the other part was to add that “this isn’t such a bad thing.” We should probably just embrace it, because, as you said, the ship has sailed and it seems to be getting everyone excited and motivated to — pardon my French — build cool shit.

  19. 019 // Dain Kennison // 08.02.2010 // 3:41 PM

    I have to say I agree. I think anyone who has spent more than a few years doing client work in this industry will agree as well.

    The fact will remain, the client doesn’t care. That’s what they hire us for. We’re supposed to be the experts. Yes, we all know that these are loaded terms. We know what AJAX means, what HTML5 is and isn’t. If you were working in this industry 10 years ago, you knew that if a client asked for a “Flash site” it just meant that they wanted animations. If you gave them non-flash animations, they would be just as happy.

    The client just wants their vision to be realized. They want their customers to be happy. They want an expert to help them along. If they ask for an “HTML5” site and you reply with all the ins and outs of the spec, and tell them that they are mis-informed, well you’ve just lost your client.

    When it comes to the developers, we already know what’s involved. Just like we knew what went in to creating “New Media”, “E-Commerce”, “Web 2.0” and “AJAX” web sites. If the client knew everything there was to know on the subject, then what do they need us for?

  20. 020 // Peter Keane // 08.02.2010 // 4:08 PM

    Standards are all about accuracy and precision in language. When I say this meets “X” standard, we all know what that means. I have no problem with an overarching marketing term for cool stuff browsers can do, but I think it is v. unfortunate that the term is also the name of a standard. It waters down the concept of a standard and leave too much wiggle room for marketers to push non-standard functionality.

  21. 021 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 4:13 PM

    I have no problem with an overarching marketing term for cool stuff browsers can do, but I think it is v. unfortunate that the term is also the name of a standard.

    I agree 100%, but I also agree with Chris Wilson that this ship has sailed. No use fighting it, now.

  22. 022 // Ben Smithett // 08.02.2010 // 5:52 PM

    The fact will remain, the client doesn’t care. That’s what they hire us for. We’re supposed to be the experts. Yes, we all know that these are loaded terms. We know what AJAX means, what HTML5 is and isn’t.

    Agreed. Yes, it’s going to be mildly irritating when clients excitedly ask for HTML5 when they mean HTML5 + CSS + JS. Just deal with it. People still call movies films.

  23. 023 // Kevin Dees // 08.02.2010 // 6:28 PM

    Let the marketers use HTML5! However, if your going to be technical, get your definitions straight. HTML5 the standard and HTML5 the buzzword are two different things.

    Jeff, you’re right-on about letting this ship sail; as Chris points out.

    However, @t makes a very valid argument because @zeldman was dealing with the technical.

    We as a community that is learning/relearning/teaching all this stuff need to vigilantly clarify what’s what rather than calling things “HTML5? that are not actually HTML5 (e.g. CSS3, Geolocation, etc. etc.), and correct the marketing messages being shouted from various rooftops so we can better understand and reliably build HTML5 websites and web applications that use HTML5.”

    He should have called it “HTML5 and WC3 APIs”. But, its a small detail.

    I believe @zeldman agrees.

  24. 024 // Jeff Croft // 08.02.2010 // 6:50 PM

    However, @t makes a very valid argument because @zeldman was dealing with the technical.

    Good point. I definitely believe in this case, it’d be much better if it weren’t called HTML5 Test, particularly since this is a tool for developers who should, and probably do, understand the difference. However…

    …correct the marketing messages being shouted from various rooftops…

    That’s the part I’m not really sure I agree with. The fact that, as you say, “HTML5” means something different to marketers than it does to web developer is an annoyance, no doubt — but I don’t think it hinders us any real way, and I don’t know that we need to, as Tantek suggests, “vigilantly clarify” the matter.

    Those who need to understand the difference, will. Those who don’t, won’t. And all will be fine. It’s a non-issue.

    He should have called it “HTML5 and WC3 APIs”. But, its a small detail. I believe @zeldman agrees.

    Probably. I agree, too. I just don’t agree that it’s a huge problem we need to be up-in-arms over.

    Thanks for your comment, Kevin! :)

  25. 025 // Mike Taylor // 08.02.2010 // 7:59 PM

    Tantek said,

    Right now we’re in the “DHTML” phase of “HTML5”, where it’s loose and marketed and confusing more developers than it’s helping.

    Slight correction, this is the DHTML phase of HTML5. No peson in their right mind could deny its glory.

  26. 026 // Boaz Sender // 08.02.2010 // 9:20 PM

    As I started saying here, maybe we should look at trying to create buzzwords to represent new standards and technologies before hand.

    As Paul quoted in his round up, Brad Neuberg tried this for “Open Web” in 2008. Brad seems to think he failed, but I’m rather partial to open web. I think it has legs.

    I think we could be successful in changing the discourse to separate technical and marketing terms, and I think this would be valuable.

  27. 027 // zeldman // 08.03.2010 // 4:57 AM

    I mostly agree, but with a small caveat: http://www.zeldman.com/2010/08/0…

  28. 028 // Luke Stevens // 08.03.2010 // 7:27 AM

    I agree the horse has bolted, but I think the level of confusion/hype out there is a real problem.

    For example, an article appears on a tutorial site. Do you expect it to:
    (a) Cover changes to web page markup of varying significance (video, not using quotes for attributes, new elements), or
    (b) Cover JS APIs that create the “web platform, with finally all the bits you need to actually build full-featured client-side as well as client-server and mashup applications.”

    There is an few oceans of difference there. Which is it?

    If someone says “I built a HTML5 web site!” should we assume they changed the doctype and added a few tags, or do we assume they built a ‘full-featured client-side application’ that takes advantage of the new APIs?

    And it’s not like AJAX — whether you used XML or not was somewhat beside the point; it was the concept that mattered. What is the concept of HTML5?

    As far as I can tell, there is almost no conceptual similarity between ‘HTML5 the modest update to hypertext markup’, and ‘HTML5 (and related technologies) the JavaScript programming environment’, hence the problem.

    It’s not just pedantry.

  29. 029 // Alex Kessinger // 08.03.2010 // 10 AM

    Web 2.0 meet HTML5

  30. 030 // Colin Gourlay // 08.03.2010 // 3:40 PM

    Peter Keane said:

    I have no problem with an overarching marketing term for cool stuff browsers can do

    You’ve got to be careful here, as some would consider the more recent advancements in Flash/Flex to be “cool stuff browsers can do”. This would mean that Flash is now part of HTML5, and that’s a whole can of worms that should definitely not be opened!

  31. 031 // Luke Stevens // 08.03.2010 // 11:27 PM

    Having given it some more thought, I think we should keep HTML5 for markup, and call the new JS APIs “JS5”. Therefore we’d have HTML5 + JS5 + CSS3 = the modern web stack.

    This solves the dilemma of having a whole heap of complex (relative to HTML) JavaScript stuff lumped under “HTML5”. HTML is still HTML, and JavaScript is still JavaScript. I discuss it a little more in the comments of Zeldman’s post.

  32. 032 // Emma Dobrescu // 08.04.2010 // 5:19 AM

    Why not Web 5.0 then? After all, what’s in a name…

    While I agree that spreading the word(“HTML5” being the word) moves us ahead in having people adopt new standards and technologies, I don’t agree that the ship has sailed. We - web developers, web designers, front-end developers, UI engineers or whatever we call ourselves - are the ones that keep this ship afloat. Standards wouldn’t get very far without us adopting them, buzz-words wouldn’t get noticed less we spread them.

    So what’s in a name? Mostly, a convention. The ways in which a symbol relates to its referent has been debated for ages and might be seen as pure theoretical discussion. But people don’t need only words to rave about. People need to get the referent for day to day purposes. Quick example. I moved recently from NY to Paris and when I ordered a steak in the restaurant for the first time, I asked for “À point-bien cuit” which should be the equivalent to “well done”. It isn’t and in fact it looks more like a medium rare. Now seeing that I ordered it, it was my fault as I didn’t know the difference, but I was dissatisfied with the steak all the same. Some stated here that the clients don’t care. You’ll find out at the most inconvenient of times that they do, especially if they misunderstood a concept. Your work and his expectations will differ and there lies the problem.

    And what about the new web designers/developers that are taking their first steps? What if they will misunderstand as well? “Web 2.0” brought us a wave of websites full of gradients, huge graphics, overlay-ed galleries, misused AJAX. Yes, it brought a great deal of good things in between. But are you ready to deal with that again? Why not nip it in the bud if we can? Hurray to those who spread the word. Kudos to those who do it properly.

  33. 033 // graham // 08.05.2010 // 6:24 AM

    The guys at Sencha prefer the term HTML5 Family, which works (to an extent).

    The problem is that this (or as Zeldman put “HTML5 and related technologies”) will always be shortened to HTML5.

    The early working title for HTML5 was Web Applications (or web apps) which is a better all encompassing term but loses the key buzzword that non tech orientated people have come to recognise.

    It’s more a point of education, which Google and Apple unhelpfully started in the wrong direction (hey look it’s HTML5! oh, actually just some JavaScript and a little CSS3).

    It’s the visual side that clients and designers relate to, and part of that is included in HTML5 with the video/audio tags. Add in canvas and svg (being careful to explain it’s the JavaScript that defines the look and feel) and you already get interest in the new going.

    I’ve been taking a presentation around the client services and creative teams along those lines and then adding in the real visual niceties to get people excited with JS and CSS3.

    While I’ll always refer to the HTML5 Family or Web Apps I’m happy to bite the bullet and go with HTML5 as it’s got people talking, thinking outside of flash (with a little help from the iPad) and really want to know more and use these new technologies and techniques available.

  34. 034 // Amy // 08.06.2010 // 12:39 AM

    Hooray for pragmatism! You’re spot on, Jeff - and if we need to get excited about a buzzword to get it adopted wildly, to bring in new devs, and to liven up the field, I’m all for it. Who cares if they’re accurate, as long as they’re non-destructive?

  35. 035 // Sam // 08.09.2010 // 3:54 AM

    You’re flat wrong. HTML5 is a standard, AJAX is not - it’s a buzzword for a family of technologies used together.

    HTML5 is already something, so adopting it as the buzzword to describe a larger set of technologies & techniques does not serve a useful purpose, it just increases confusion, leading to HTML5 meaning different things to different people.

    I’d venture that a different buzzword might serve a useful purpose though. I propose we all call it “Tinsel”.

  36. 036 // Arthur Wyatt // 08.09.2010 // 11:06 AM

    Flash is part of HTML5, right?

  37. 037 // farmville // 08.15.2010 // 11:54 PM

    Our industry has proven on several occasions that we don’t get excited about new, interesting, and useful technologies and concepts until such a buzzword is in place.

  38. 038 // Angelina Merle // 08.17.2010 // 5:31 AM

    From my perspective, “HTML5” is the hottest topic in web development right now. Everyone’s exicted about it, everyone’s learning about it, and everyone’s starting to build stuff with it.

  39. 039 // Rick Reise // 09.10.2010 // 1:34 AM

    Insightful: 139 point for FireFox 197 point for Chrome only 129 for Opera, which is surprising, since it left its competitors far, far behind in the Acid3 test!

  40. 040 // Leksaker // 09.11.2010 // 2:22 PM

    HTML5, it doesn’t need AJAX-like vagueness to succeed.

  41. 041 // kalas // 09.11.2010 // 2:23 PM

    I have seen some great stuff with HTML5!

  42. 042 // Robin (Esvelte - Web Design Sheffield) // 09.12.2010 // 8:30 AM

    I like the comparison of the usage of “HTML5” to “AJAX” - I think the one of the keys here is the level of client-awareness of these technologies. For example, it’s now not-uncommon for a client to say to us “can this be done in AJAX instead of Flash?”. So the terminology is reaching beyond web developers. This is a good thing, and if clients start asking “can this be in HTML5?” then that will another great step forward. It’s now our job as web designers/developers to start educating clients on the benefits of having their sites built in HTML5.

  43. 043 // Clear Cigarettes // 09.16.2010 // 7:21 PM

    I know that Comcast is starting to leverage HTML5 on most of their new projects. Some really cool stuff is coming out from the company that many think are still in the stone age.

  44. 044 // jim // 09.26.2010 // 7:47 AM

    Tantek doesn’t give any reasoning for the importance he places on us “vigilantly clarifying what’s what,”

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