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.
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.