The business case for HTML5

HTML5 has been in development since 2004, but it was thrust into the limelight when Steve Jobs aired his views on open standards in 2010. HTML5 (and its associated technologies) has now reached a level of maturity that has encouraged organisations to begin adopting it as the basis for key development projects.

There are several business benefits of moving towards a web-platform solution. How much you benefit will depend on the nature of your organisation, but there are several different advantages that may apply.

Utilise existing skills

The chances are that you already have the right knowledge within your organisation. Building on existing expertise in web technology is likely to be much easier than bringing in new skills, especially if those skills are needed to support multiple platforms.

Maximise efficiency

Moving towards a single HTML5 code base that can be deployed on multiple platforms is likely to be more efficient. Working on a single code base with the same developers should help reduce development, testing and release overheads.

Increase customer engagement

HTML5 makes it possible to create compelling web products that will attract and engage consumers. With browser plugins on the way out, switching to HTML5 also means your content will ultimately be available to a lot more people.

Minimise risk

With HTML5 it’s possible to create more accessible and inclusive web products. The introduction of stronger semantic markup and functionality that is native to the browser means that there is much more for assistive technologies to make the most of.

There are still some challenges to moving towards HTML5 though. Nothing that will stop the show, but a few things that take a little extra planning.

Settling specification

Although the seismic changes to the HTML5 specification have settled down, there are still tremors as the specification stabilises. Browser support is moving forward in leaps and bounds, but it’s still necessary to monitor the spec and keep pace with any changes that take place.

Availability for everyone

There is also the matter of backwards compatibility. Providing legacy support for many of HTML5’s new features can be accomplished with “shiv” scripts, but providing backwards compatibility for some of the HTML5 API capability (such as offline storage or geo-location) takes much more thought.

Video formats

For the time being the HTML5 video codec war has yet to be won. Browser vendors are divided between h.264 and WebM support, but the result for content producers is a need to provide video in multiple formats, and takes a little forward planning.

When considering HTML5, one thing (above all) can’t be forgotten. The web is the future. It won’t be long at all before the web platform (HTML5 and later 6) is the default technology choice, so from a business point of view it makes sense to be ready.

Presentation available on Slideshare: A business case for HTML5