3 Aug 2010 7 am eastern

HTML5 Fuzzies


Jeffrey Zeldman Presents

Yesterday, in response to something Tantek Çelik said here, Jeff Croft wrote a thoughtfully provocative piece arguing that informed web designers should encourage—or at least not worry about—the widespread misuse of the term “HTML5″ as a buzzword covering everything from CSS3 and web fonts to excitement about the new Webkit-powered mobile platforms:

…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.

There is much to be said for Jeff’s point of view, although such fuzziness is a slippery slope. In the upcoming issue of .net magazine which I guest-edited, I refer to the current set of opportunities half-jocularly as “Web 2.1,” and while the title is a goof, it is also an attempt to encapsulate an exciting new phase of web design and experience. Instead of forging such constructions, perhaps it is best to go with what the market has seized upon—and “HTML5″ is certainly that.

To encourage what should be encouraged, yet not add confusion to an already over-vague understanding, folks like us might want to say, “HTML5 and related technologies,” or “HTML5 and other new technologies,” or something along those lines.

Sure, it’s a bit stiff. But such a construction allows us to participate in the current frenzy and be understood by non-technical people while not fostering further misunderstandings—particularly as we also need to concern ourselves with web colleagues’ and students’ knowledge of what HTML5 is and is not.

via JeffCroft.com: On the term “HTML5”.

Filed under: Design, HTML, HTML5, Marketing, Web Design, Web Design History, Web Standards

52 Responses to “HTML5 Fuzzies”

  1. antiorario said on

    HTML5 and related technologies => HTML5ART?

    Dangerously attractive in my eyes/ears.

  2. Andy Mabbett said on

    HTML5.1? ;-)

    [Apparently, you have filter which says the above comment was too short.

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  3. bruce said on

    I usually say “HTML5 and friends”. The question is, however, how wide HTML5′s circle of friends expands.

    In our book, Remy and I restrict ourselves to specs that came from WHATWG, even those like Web Workers and Web Sockets that weren’t ever in the WHATWG Web Applications 1.0 spec that became “HTML5″. We also include specs that are still in WHATWG HTML5 but were moved out to separate specs by the W3C processes (microdata, 2D context for canvas).

    We also write on Geolocation which was never anything to do with WHATWG, so are not untained by nomenclature-creep (but Geoloc is a nice, simple JavaScript API that fits in nicely with the others that real HTML5 provides).

    But I draw the line at calling SVG (a *graphics* spec) HTML5. It’s not, and is to with images, not semantics of text or APIs.

    And what really makes my old-timers’ blood boil is people calling CSS3 or patented Apple CSS-extensions HTML5. The work of the Web Standards Project was incredibly successful in making people aware the structure and style are different. There’s an even greater separation in HTML5.

    While I understand that journalists and shiny-suited consultants and their prey (managers and bosses) need a buzz word to refer to all the shiny new app, as developers we do our discipline a huge disservice by confusing everything again.

    Now get off my lawn, you kids.

  4. Rasmus Kalms said on

    @antiorario: How about ‘HEART’ – “HTML5 …Err… And Related Technologies.”

  5. Andre said on

    How about HTML5+?

  6. Nicolas Gallagher said on

    Although Jeff Croft and Paul Irish make a sensible point I don’t think this is quite the same as the “AJAX” misunderstanding. I have already been approached by clients asking for an “HTML5 developer” when what the really needed was a JavaScript or CSS3 expert. That seems like a fairly large misunderstanding; beyond just mixing up inter-related specs like the HTML5, Geolocation, and Canvas 2D Context specs.

    If people are going to start including HTML, JavaScript, and CSS3 – not to mention Geolocation, Canvas, etc – under the title of “HTML5″ then things might get fairly confusing for developers and non-developers alike.

    Things haven’t been made any easier when a company like Apple publicises “HTML5 demos” that are predominantly CSS3 demos. I’d argue that it would be better to make an effort to avoid the popular merging of CSS3 and JavaScript into the term “HTML5″ while it is still relatively achieveable. Trying to stop people rolling Geolocation, Canvas, and Microdata into “HTML5″ is less important or relevant.

  7. Tuhin Kumar said on

    I think I agree with Mr. Zeldman on many fronts. The buzzword HTML5, no matter however cheap, cliche and moronic that sounds, is what makes the “shiny suited guys” [thanks @brucel for that term] to respond and open their eyes to the changes around them in the field of Web.
    Also while we understand that @font-face is not really CSS3 but for them it does not really matter. If for a moment we can keep our own geekery aside and think about it, who in the end benefits from all this.
    Now I know that most of you would regard this as being materialistic and self centered and not thinking about the client’s needs, but frankly if the client ends up getting a better website, does it really matter if he wanted to hop on the CSS3 bandwagon or the HTML5 bandwagon.
    If the non-geeks have been happy to choose HTML5 as the next buzzword, so be it. We have nothing to loose but a lot to gain. A better, semantic web even if it comes at the cost of ignorance of many who mistake on being clear about whatever HTML5 is all about.

  8. Oli Studholme said on

    c’mon people, we already have a way; “HTML5” is the specification, and “HTML 5” is the buzzword(*).

    * caveat — this isn’t so effective when spoken ;-)

  9. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Things haven’t been made any easier when a company like Apple publicises “HTML5 demos” that are predominantly CSS3 demos.

    Exactly.

    I’d argue that it would be better to make an effort to avoid the popular merging of CSS3 and JavaScript into the term “HTML5″ while it is still relatively achieveable. Trying to stop people rolling Geolocation, Canvas, and Microdata into “HTML5″ is less important or relevant.

    You make a good point, sir.

  10. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    And what really makes my old-timers’ blood boil is people calling CSS3 or patented Apple CSS-extensions HTML5. The work of the Web Standards Project was incredibly successful in making people aware the structure and style are different. There’s an even greater separation in HTML5.

    While I understand that journalists and shiny-suited consultants and their prey (managers and bosses) need a buzz word to refer to all the shiny new app, as developers we do our discipline a huge disservice by confusing everything again.

    This, I’m sure, was Tantek’s point.

  11. Dominic Pettifer said on

    I think I agree with Jeff Croft’s point of view. HTML5 would be a great marketing term for the general public.

    I remember term Web 2.0 almost became mainstream and widespread (heard it mentioned on TV News channels and in mainstream papers a number of times). If we can do this it would get the public interested in HTML5 and it’s possibilities, which would, hopefully, encourage them to upgrade to HTML5 browsers, and in turn encourage developers/companies to build more HTML apps. Business execs and CEOs will hear the term and decide they don’t want to be left out and demand their own HTML5 websites, and move the whole industry forward.

  12. Joshua Kulpa said on

    I think rasmus got it right: HART (HTML5 And Related Technologies).

  13. Tanner said on

    Add my vote for HART.

  14. Paolo Sordi said on

    After years trying to separate structure, presentation and behaviour and acting and speaking accordingly , now should we merge all into a single word like HTML5? I’m sincerely scared about that: words are meaning and acting, if we badly speak, maybe we’ll sell, but we’ll badly code and badly develop. Again.

  15. KMB said on

    Suggested related reading:
    Quirksmode: HTML5 Apps

  16. Lars Gunther said on

    I am bit surprised to see that you (Jeffrey Zeldman) talk about “excitement about the new Webkit-powered mobile platforms”, which I did not see mentioned in the article you are referring too.

    The reason i am surprised, is that we really should be encouraging standards and interoperability. Not a specific rendering engine. Yes, many platforms are based on Webkit, but certainly not all. And even more important, it is totally undesirable to encourage monoculture for the future.

    What’s happening now is that we are created a “best viewed with” culture all over. When visiting iPhone (or Webkit in general) optimized web sites I often get a totally unnecessary bad performance. Mobile Opera or Fennec on my Maemo-powered n900 is perfectly capable of 99 % of the stuff Webkit can do, but are being left out because developers can’t be bothered to use standards and include all vendor prefixes.

    The ethos behind web standards have never been about the current, but about the future!

  17. Jason Arnold said on

    I always like the term Web Stack to refer to the suite of technologies used on the web (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript). Obviously, it may not be as cool as a one word term like HTML5.

  18. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Add my vote for HART.

    Rasmus was joking.

    I already said “HTML5 and related technologies” in my article. “HTML5 and related technologies” is something you can say to colleagues and clients at multiple levels of technological awareness. It is accurate and it doesn’t talk down to anyone.

    Likewise, in the right context, you could talk about “HTML5, CSS3, and other current web standards.”

    Saying “HTML5″ when you mean canvas and video is one thing. Saying “HTML5″ when you mean web fonts and border-radius is another.

    No one is served by dumbing down and mislabeling the technologies that power web experience.

    In 1998, when my friends I decided to advocate against the proprietary technologies that were fracturing the young web, we labeled certain ECMA and W3C technologies “web standards.” And we always specified precisely which “standards” we were talking about.

    This had the effect over time of making true standards out of recommendations that had mainly been observed in the breach, of getting accurate support for those “standards” into our browsers, of converting web professionals to the true faith (wink), and of changing the way websites are created and what they can do.

    There is no “Ajax” without web standards, no “Web 2.0″ without web standards. You’re welcome.

    My experience leads me to believe that positioning technologies so they can be understood beyond the narrow confines of uber-geekdom is a good thing, but that it can be done honestly, and without muddying the waters.

    This is why I split the difference between Tantek and Jeff Croft. I agree with Jeff that the widespread excitement about what’s happening on the web is a good thing, and if those not crisply in the know refer to this whole phenomenon as “HTML5,” we should pave the cowpath and acknowledge what those people mean by this word. At the same time, we should discourage confusion by being accurate in what we say. “HTML5 and related technologies” or a similar formulation allows us to accomplish both goals.

  19. michael said on

    At the company I work for, nearly every new client request or new build has started with “they want an HTML5 site” when all they’re generally asking for is their videos to work in their ipads, and their flash hero spots to be more than just a broken plugin icon. We’ve also managed to impress a client or two with what amounts to HTML/CSS and some simple JS animations which the client still refers to as HTML5. What’s happening is that Flash is fast becoming a leper that clients don’t want to be associated with, while standard coding practices are being elevated and praised because Somebody added a “5″ to it, and clients drank the kool-aid.
    Clients do want to be educated about what it is they’re buying, but they also don’t care much about the semantics of what we call what we do. Steve said HTML5 and clients picked up omit, and like “Ajax sites” have started asking for what they think is the correct term. Instead of being pedantic about it, why not find out what the client means when they say that, and ask them what problem they think they are solving. I think you’ll find that besides bragging rites, they just want their sites to work on iPhone, iPad, etc.

  20. Joe Mac Stevens said on

    I agree with Jeff Croft’s view.
    Its easier to sell ideas to business types when there is a easy buzzword attached like HTML5. As long of the web community knows what it really means who cares what those outside of the community thinks. Just keep it simple.

  21. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Instead of being pedantic about it, why not find out what the client means when they say that, and ask them what problem they think they are solving

    Agreed, context is everything. In the context of a discussion with a client, the goal is to find out what the client needs—in other words, hopefully, what the client’s users need.

  22. Rasmus Kalms said on

    @Jeffrey: I was indeed joking. Unless people want to use it. Then I was dead serious.

    Buzz words are fine. I love them myself – It’s an easy sell. But I dislike when they get abused/misused as umbrella terms without any real meaning. I don’t think we can really do anything about it, though – it’s the nature of buzz after all. Scream highest, ask questions later.

  23. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    I am bit surprised to see that you (Jeffrey Zeldman) talk about “excitement about the new Webkit-powered mobile platforms”, which I did not see mentioned in the article you are referring too.

    Apple makes two popular devices that are Webkit-powered, and recently made news in the Muggle world (not just among us web wizards) when Steve Jobs lambasted Flash in favor of “HTML5.” Perhaps you heard about this? Microsoft soon followed suit, although without Steve Jobs’s bombast (or impact). Many web stakeholders—especially those with sites powered by Flash—are aware of this issue and may therefore speak of “HTML5″ when they mean “I want my site to work on many devices, including those devices that do not support Flash.” This, of course, provides an opportunity to introduce the client to accessibility and web standards—as well as a chance to create experiential flourishes that work whether the user views the web through a device that supports hover, or through one that supports gestures but not hover. In other words, it is an opportunity to design rich multi-layered experiences powered by standards—experiences that work for everyone, but with optional special features for those with additional browser or device capabilities.

  24. Christopher Meyers said on

    The client can call them werewolf tampons, for all I care, if they understand why they want them, and what problem they solve. Otherwise, I have much bigger problems than what fashionable term they choose to label their request with.

    That said, I refuse to over-simplify the building blocks of our profession with trendy terminologies that give me a false sense of superiority. I call things what they are, and use the terms appropriately HTML, CSS, (no need to specify a version, anymore) Javascript, video, Canvas, webfonts.

    In what situation is it necessary to specify HTML5, rather than HTML? If I’m talking about a specific part of that spec, I refer to that specific part. It’s clear, concise, and professional to say what you mean.

  25. Arno said on

    This whole hype is part of times. More and more these days than ever before it looks like everyone is building websites no matter if they have the slightest idea about what, how and why. Drag and Drop web-services get millions of funding to create the next in browser dreamweaver like super tools targeting development firms besides individual hobbyists to build sites without seeing a single line of code or markup.

    One of the main differences with previous versions of html, css or whatever is the fact that everyone is able to publish and actually is publishing. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Tumblers etc etc are all being used to spread the term HTML5 and once such a ball get’s rolling it’s hard or undoable to stop it.

  26. Jim Renaud said on

    Where is the Kickstarter page to support the marketing of Werewolf Tampons?

  27. Derek J. Kinsman said on

    I think it’s important that we all collectively get excited about new technologies. But if I’m talking about doing some javascript (maybe with Processing.js) and canvas I’m not gonna say HTML5 and Related Technologies.

    I think it’s easier maybe when writing an article to say “HTML5 and related technologies” if you’re mostly talking about HTML5. But maybe the same is true for the others and you might say “CSS3 and related technologies” if you’re talking mostly about CSS3.

    For my own work the new additions to HTML5 proper (video, article, header, footer, etc.) aren’t as big a deal as some of the other related technologies (local storage, geolocation, some CSS3 selectors, etc.). So for me saying “HTML5 and related technology” completely undermines everything that I do. And does that for all the contributions to Google Chrome Experiments as that work is pretty much all javascript and canvas.

    My issue with bulk naming a group of new (and not new) technologies under one name is that clients will start wanting “HTML5″ style websites and web apps in the same way they wanted web 2.0 / AJAX websites. All that meant to them was rounded corners, gradients, diagonal go fast lines, and Arial Rounded or VAG Rounded with a thick white border. HTML5 will mean soft pastel colours with a grainy texture, Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 20 (with a key light drop-shadow across the top, and a drop-shadow across the bottom for that embossed look) and that bent shadow image on the bottom of div’s to make the corners look like they’ve bent up a touch.

  28. eddie sutton said on

    At the risk of posting a “too short” comment – I like Andre’s suggestion for “HTML5+”. It’s short, sweet, suggests there is more than just HTML and clients and the “shiny suit” crowd will eat it up. Sadly, it won’t all fit as a tattoo on the fingers of my fist…

  29. Dan Mall said on

    To encourage what should be encouraged, yet not add confusion to an already over-vague understanding, folks like us might want to say, “HTML5 and related technologies,” or “HTML5 and other new technologies,” or something along those lines.

    I can totally get behind that. I agree that it’s a bit stiff, but I’ll take the tradeoff that it’s accurate, not at all misleading, and educates whomever hears it. The phrase is a springboard for a conversation for those who might not fully get it and still a rallying point for those who do.

  30. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Dan Mall, I love you like a brother.

  31. Lucas Mourelle said on

    Great thoughts! Great article and great debate on the comments section!

    “HTML5 and related technologies” sounds great to me. It’s non-geek friendly and yet not a lie :)

  32. Jason Arnold said on

    I didn’t see the acronym but that’s awesome…cause as well all know, the web is about HART (<3)

  33. kevadamson said on

    HART is a great idea for a “buzzword”. Because it is marketable and says what it is. WIN. Let’s use that. Or perhaps “Super Web2.0 Turbo” :P

  34. giania said on

    AJAX – Asynchronous Javascript and XML is intended to be a general reference to the pairing of, well, javascript and XML pulling, and being pulled into, something asynchronously. Although for semantic reasons it really shouldn’t apply where XML is not used, it has been much abused in this regard, but no other term rose to the challenge of covering the “asynchronous javascript and other stuff” categories of things, so AJAX it is.

    I feel that HTML5 is not quite the same caliber of term. HTML5 is a bit more specific a thing. CSS(3) is a specific thing. Etc etc.

    I think there are ways to correct and guide people without being pedantic jerks about it.

    Those of us who build the roads should get to name them, but it is likewise up to us to label those roads clearly, or people will make up their own names. Sort of like a highway around here, it’s route 4 and 16 for a while, “the spaulding turnpike” is the overall name of the stretch, and some people just call it route 16, and some just route 4, and some just the spaulding. Once someone has settled on a preferred name, it is typically applied no matter how the road may split up.

    The official labeling itself is not strictly consistent at the interaction level (i.e. road signs), and so equally inconsistent colloquial nomenclature took over. Kind of like semi-authoritative figures using the terms incorrectly or loosely, and the (confused-yet-excited-to-move-forward) community running with whatever sounds best to them.

    Yet when you go to look up the highway on the map (the “standard” reference), and you’ve only been given one of the colloquial names by people in the community, you may not be able to find your way if you aren’t already intimately familiar with the territory. (Standards aren’t as much for “us” who can already mostly figure out our way, but for “them” that don’t know anything about the territory and need guidance.)

    If the highway authorities had established one clear label or several clear labels for the road(s) from the start its more likely that the majority of people would speak of that stretch consistently, which would help people unfamiliar with the territory understand the standard reference, and navigate in general. I think I’ve belabored the metaphor enough, you get the idea.

    In our case, it behooves us to stick with established standards and apples-to-apples usage of name use to help keep buzzword-itus down to a minimum. If we’re lucky, people will look to us as the authorities and follow our lead.

  35. Ian Devlin said on

    I must agree with Bruce and Nicolas here, and have previously blogged about the confusion surrounding HTML5.

    Picking one of the terms and lumping everything under it just doesn’t help matters. Grouping them all together makes it look like they need to exist together, which is of course is completely untrue. HTML5 works fine with CSS2.1 and CSS3, CSS3 works happily alongside HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0., etc.

    The AJAX argument isn’t the same as a new term was coined to cover the various components.

    We need people to call things by the correct name to begin with to prevent ignorance. As Nicolas mentioned above, people are starting to ask for a HTML5 Developer when they actually have no idea what they really need.

  36. Don Ulrich said on

    First, it’s nice to see the liturgy thing pop up again. ;-) Good Times…

    It is bad supposition to believe that clients don’t read on the web . Yeah, they will ask what HTML5 is and have questions or already have a first impression. What they run into as a first impression should not be fuzzy. The idea that clients don’t understand or care is naive at best.

    Do Yourself A Favor*

    What about educating the public and clients in particular? The first generation of web specs had no resource for lay people to rely on. That fostered the ‘almost there’ culture of fuzzy concepts. It sucks and still this cultural artifact remains within the design community and the people who buy web media.

    What we call the new stuff does not matter, how it is described is everything. To that end why doesn’t the design community create a resource intended for clients and others as an entree to the new W3C specs? An objective resource needs to be built that offers a high level description of these new, nifty ideas. That would go a long way towards adoption.

    *All apologizes to Stevie Wonder

  37. Lars Gunther said on

    Don’t get me wrong Jeffrey. I love what you are doing and have done for the web. It’s just that being a user of a non-Apple device I often find myself needlessly getting a non-optimized experience, since to many developers are making “iPhone” or “Webkit” enhanced web sites, instead of capability testing and adding appropriate rules for all browsers.

    Apple makes two popular devices that are Webkit-powered.. Perhaps you heard about this?

    Err… yes?

    .. Many web stakeholders—especially those with sites powered by Flash—are aware of this issue and may therefore speak of “HTML5″ when they mean “I want my site to work on many devices, including those devices that do not support Flash.” This, of course, provides an opportunity to introduce the client to accessibility and web standards—as well as a chance to create experiential flourishes that work whether the user views the web through a device that supports hover, or through one that supports gestures but not hover. In other words, it is an opportunity to design rich multi-layered experiences powered by standards—experiences that work for everyone, but with optional special features for those with additional browser or device capabilities.

    And my point is that too many, perhaps not you, but many others, take this as an opportunity to make web sites that do not use the capabilities of my device and many other devices.

    My device has awesome capabilities and one (actually 3) of the best web browsers on the market for mobile phones. Sometimes my web browsing experience still is sub-optimal, and it is not the fault of my device or my browser. It’s the fault of the developer who would not be bothered to accommodate anything but iGadgets (or perhaps Android), even though doing so would add a negligible amount of extra work

    I see that my comment perhaps is off-topic and perhaps a bit too aggressive in its tone. For that I apologize, and offer as my only excuse accumulated frustration.

    For the first part I am not so apologetic. This is a language problem. We must stop talking about “iPhone” versions within our community and start talking about the mobile web.

    I have listened to numerous panels and talks the last year when leading developers talk about the capabilities of Webkit in general and the iPhone in particular, and over and over again I have found myself wanting to interrupt (impossible since it’s recorded) and tell the speaker that that very capability exists on other platforms and in other browsers as well. But not with the -webkit- prefix.

  38. Jeff Croft said on

    First, Jeffrey, thanks so much for the link and continuing the conversation. While ultimately I don’t know how much it matters what we call this stuff, I do find it super-interesting, being something of a language geek.

    To encourage what should be encouraged, yet not add confusion to an already over-vague understanding, folks like us might want to say, “HTML5 and related technologies,” or “HTML5 and other new technologies,” or something along those lines.

    I think this is perfect. As you said, it’s simultaneously being accurate and embracing the traction “HTML5″ has already earned (rather than trying to fight against the wave). In most contexts, ‘HTML5 and related technologies” will work swimmingly.

  39. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Lars Gunther, I apologize for my snarky tone as well.

    When I talk about Webkit-powered smartphones I am also thinking of Android and Chrome of course. And the Palm Pre, which HP bought (with an eye toward creating Webkit-powered tablets, one expects). All of these phones and devices have good support for HTML5 and CSS3.

    And that’s not even mentioning smartphones powered by the Opera browser, which are also quite HTML5- and CSS3-capable.

    When I said “webkit-powered smartphones” I meant more than iPhone and was not recommending that we all run out and make “iPhone websites.” Again, there is that blurriness that simultaneously encourages us (at last, clients are excited about standard web technologies!) and worries us.

  40. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Jeff Croft, cool. Thanks for your thoughtful article. You’ve stimulated some great discussion on the web!

  41. Billee D. said on

    To encourage what should be encouraged, yet not add confusion to an already over-vague understanding, folks like us might want to say, “HTML5 and related technologies,” or “HTML5 and other new technologies,” or something along those lines.

    Seems like everyone is in agreement here. “HART” is a great term and it has a nice, pleasant ring to it. Plus, it makes perfect sense since most of us really do love our work and these new technologies make web design even better. A recent comment on Twitter yesterday from Dan Cederholm sparked my own idea:

    Maybe “HTML5″ that means more than HTML5 needs its own term. AJAX never doubled as a specification name for a web standard.

    I immediately thought about “HTML5 + other technologies” (making it “HOT”). However, I think that HART is a much better term because it’s quite unambiguous and certainly less volatile (e.g. “hot” things can hurt you).

    Awesome thread, everyone. :)

  42. Annabella Lamprecht said on

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. You put your finger on two significants points Jeff Croft mentioned . The fuzziness and the world of possibilities that is no doubt there!

    I like the prospective HTML 5 is offering to us in combination with the techniques that are evolving around it. I do believe HTML 5 is based on the right combination of techniques

    To encourage what should be encouraged, yet not add confusion to an already over-vague understanding, folks like us might want to say, “HTML5 and related technologies,” or “HTML5 and other new technologies,” or something along those lines.

    So, yes, I absolutely agree with that point of view! Or find it agreeable with me anyway…;)

  43. Aaron Bazinet said on

    The “AJAX” name is a good example of how naming something simple allows it to catch on with the masses. The situation with HTML5 isn’t exactly the same, but the “AJAX” lesson certainly applies. Something like “Web 2.1” could work, but there’s all that Web 2.0 baggage that we’d all like to forget about. Eric Meyer’s idea, “The Web Stack,” makes a lot of sense too, but it’s probably still not so clear to the public what that is.

    “HTML5 and related technologies,” now that’s something I could live with. That’s a lot of words though, and people will undoubtably just say “HTML5” in a conversation. I think I’m ok with that too. Why? Because the web is content, and the content is delivered using HTML. HTML is really the star. CSS and Javascript only help HTML deliver that content in beautiful and interactive ways. Also, I think when people hear “HTML” they think “the Web,” and not so much if you say “CSS” or “Javascript” (if they even know what those are). So if people think of the new Web as “HTML5,” that’s probably not such a bad thing.

  44. Micha said on

    Hmmm…

    “I’ll hart-code it. It’s gonna be amazing.”

    Made with hart.

    I HART JS

    Yes, works.

  45. Luke Stevens said on

    I have a solution! HTML5 for the markup, and “JS5″ for the ‘related technologies’.

    Why?

    The problem in my mind is the distinction between HyperText Markup Language and JavaScript APIs, which I discussed a bit on Jeff Croft’s post.

    Conflating the simple markup of hypertext and complex application programming in JavaScript seems like a big mistake to me, and tagging “and related/new technologies” onto an already amorphous term doesn’t seem to help much (dittto ‘HART’). After all, no one says “I made an awesome HTML4 site” and expects people to understand they built and programmed a mostly JavaScript-driven site.

    The basic rule of thumb should be something like “If it’s in script tags, it’s not HTML. (Otherwise, CSS should also be considered part of “HTML5″.)

    Therefore, can’t we just use HTML* for hypertext, and talk about new JS APIs and features as they (mostly) are — JavaScript APIs? So we’d have HTML5 and JS5 to split the difference. (Or HTML5 APIs if we must, but that still crosses the church and state boundaries IMO.)

    JS5 for all the new API stuff is kind of catchy, no?

    Then we’d have HTML5 + JS5 + CSS3 = modern web stack.

    Cool, huh? :)

  46. Ian Glass said on

    There is no “Ajax” without web standards, no “Web 2.0″ without web standards.

    As I recall, the exciting part of AJAX wasn’t a standard, at least not pro forma, when the techniques were popularized (it was supported by the popular browsers though). I only mention this because I think the cases where adoption got in front of standardization by a bit are relevant to the way WHATWG technologies like HTML5 and the canvas API have developed.

    Anyway, I for one vote for the term website or web app(lication) (if appropriate), especially when talking to people unfamiliar with the architecture of internet. If one needs to be more specific, describe what the app is doing with the least jargon that is still accurate.

  47. Niels Matthijs said on

    It’s an interesting discussion that sadly doesn’t only cover geek-client relationships. The last 6 months I’ve been seeing terms like HTML5 and CCS3 float all over the place, often not covering the topic of discussion. I’m watching crappy demos and browser-specifics pocs that have little to do with the latest web technologies even though I was promised that when clicking the link.

    The difference with a term like AJAX is of course that before it was coined it wasn’t present in the web world. It existed as a cleaning product and Dutch soccer club, but in context it didn’t take you more than a second to understand what was being said.

    Biggest problem with HTML5 as a buzzword is that it contains the actual definition of HTML5 and then some. This makes it extremely difficult to extract the true meaning from context. Even when talking to other developers it takes time to learn their knowledge level and to learn what they mean by “HTML5″.

    Wat annoys me is that after a good 5 year of fighting against separation of css and html (in discussions) things just got a little worse and it takes a lot more time to understand what the one opposite of you is talking about, even when he is using all terms correctly.

  48. Guillaume Stricher said on

    HTML5 is a go back and meanwhile a leap forward. It’s too vague and has no precise underlying idea or evident structure as had XHTML in it’s semantic approach. It’s a potpourri of technologies not so useful in fine for the users whereas XHTML revolutionized the web according to the early vision of it’s founders. The frustration we designers had all these years regarding Flash is probably responsible for this fact.

    We need semantics not cosmetics.

  49. David Goss said on

    Ian Glass:

    As I recall, the exciting part of AJAX wasn’t a standard, at least not pro forma, when the techniques were popularized

    That’s right. As it happens, XMLHttpRequest became a W3C Candidate Recommendation just recently.

  50. George Katsanos said on

    If the HTML5 buzzword gets us closer to stop developing IE6&7 conditional’s, then so be it – even if not well defined!
    Business’s guys need buzzwords, that’s what will force them to make radical strategic technical decisions.
    And another vote for the HTML5 and related technologies.

  51. Michael Kozakewich said on

    You get some people suggesting Web 3.0 or 2.1 or such, but I think we’re moving away from that and heading toward a new name. I’ve heard ‘Real Web’ used, though that sounds more like a buzzword than anything semantic.

    Still, with things like CSS3 and Canvas, as well as technologies like PubSubHubbub and Salmon, we’re going to see much more interactivity in sites that’s going to appear ‘real’.

  52. Jonathan said on

    I personally use “HTML5 & Co.” although I think I’ll switch to “and related technologies” – it fits nicely.

    My concern about the inaccurate use of HTML5 to describe current/next-gen web technologies is the effect it could have in the workplace and upon ‘newbie’ developers.

    Many times I’ve been asked to implement something in ‘AJAX’ even though there was no need for an HTTP request – my boss meant plain ol’ JS of course – but because of the buzzword status of AJAX the issue was confused.

    Now imagine a less experienced developer being asked to implement the same thing. You might imagine that they’d realise that something was amiss and ignore the AJAX part of the request, but many times I’ve seen junior devs plod on down the wrong path, all because something wasn’t communicated properly.

    On the other hand, I think having HTML5 as a ‘Joe Public’ term for the ‘new’ web is a great idea simply because it’s easier to digest than HTML5, CSS3, WebSQL…and may have some benefits such as upgraded versions of IE ;)

    Finally, am I the only one narked off with the final slide on the html5rocks presentation? http://slides.html5rocks.com/#slide48

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