HTML 5 Is Not Smart - 5/23/2010

As we all learned the hard way with the Netscape vs IE wars of past, web standards are a good thing.  Standards produce better results for end users and save money for those paying for development. 

Unfortunately, the lessons learned recently have been forgotten with the creation of the HTML 5 specification.  This goal completely fails the SMART test.  Smart goals should be

S- Is it Specific?

Their aim is to "reduce" the need for plug-ins for Rich Internet Applications such as Flash and Silverlight.  In my opinion, the term "reduce" is very not-specific and additionally the mere fact that the standard won't be done for 12 years(year 2022) means there is a lot that is up in the air for a very long time.  Additionally, even in the areas that are finished the vendors have differing definitions of how to build standards compliant browsers.

M - Is it Measurable?

Reducing the need for something is not a specific goal.  Reduce it by how much?  Additionally, how do you measure compliance against a standard that is not yet finished?  You are aiming at a moving target.


The fact that the standard will take over a decade is pretty good evidence that they have bitten off more than they can chew.


The 10 year time frame suggests this was not a realistic goal.


10+ years from now is a very long term goal.  Given how fast technology advances the standard may well be obsolete before it is ever finished.  By 2022 when the standard is finished the definition of what a web browser is and how we use the internet is likely to be very different.

Since we won't have a "finished" standard for 10+ years this means we are going to once again have the Wild Wild West where each browser will have different support for the standard.  Maybe Safari will support something but nobody else does, or they do so differently.  This is exactly the reason why standards exist is to prevent this type of thing not to encourage it.

The W3C would have been much SMARTer to pick a shorter term, more attainable, more realistic, more timely goal.  Break the "ultimate vision" into bitesize pieces that can be delivered in a realistic time frame. 

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