I watched a video from MIX 2011 called âHTML5 for Silverlight Developersâ last night and it was very compelling. I was all on-board. I would prefer to not code things in Silverlight and give my clients the caveatââbut it wonât work on an iPadâ. So, I whipped out Visual Studio and started to code.
There is something very cool about being able to code something and not have to wonder if they client has Silverlight installed. This was awesome.
Except . . . nothing works in a browser below IE9 or Chrome or Firefox or whatever. IE6 through IE8 didnât work at all.
I myself am a Chrome user and gave up IE long ago unless a contract requires that I use it. But most corporate environments are a long way from upgrading to IE 8, let alone the latest IE9.
But this is nothing new.
DHTML was a broad term (as is HTML 5) and doesnât belong to company. You code to a certain specification and each browser (or device) renders that as they see fit. You have very little control over how it will look unless you code with a plugin like Flash (and now, Silverlight).
I have seen fantastic DHTML animations in IE which only worked in IE. I can remember seeing stunning animations in Netscape which didnât work in IE (all using âlayerâ tags). I remember last year seeing a cool Arcade Fire video in HTML 5 which worked great in Chrome but not in IE. There is still no consistency here.
The âHTML5 for Silverlight developersâ video was a lot like the DHTML book. It looks great until you dig deeper.
One thing you should never ask your clients is âWhat browser versions do you want this to support?â The answer is always the sameââWell, all of them.â This is why the IE-only inventions of the past (HTML+Time, background filters, etc) never took off. This is why a lot of the HTML5 featuresâas cool as they areâwonât take off either. We Chrome users donât carry enough weight yet to move the entire world to the newer code. If Apple had allowed Flash on the iPad, I donât think anyone would care about HTML5 at all.
I want to be converted and go back to plug-in-less web development. But so far, HTML5 (or rather, the browser creators) have let us down.