11 Hard Truths about HTML5

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 | Business | by

Read an excellent article by Peter Wayner over at InfoWorld, 11 hard truths about HTML5.

Some points made in the article:

  • Security is a nightmare
  • Local data storage is limited
  • Local data can be manipulated
  • Offline apps are a nightmare to sync
  • The cloud owes you nothing
  • Forced Upgrades aren’t for everyone
  • Web Workers offer no prioritization
  • Format incompatibilities abound
  • Implementations are browser-dependent
  • Hardware idiosyncrasies bring new challenges
  • Politics as usual

The point of most of the article is just about fundamental problems building web “applications” … or just web sites that do things normally reserved for desktop applications, not necessarily problems introduced by HTML5.

You can never trust the end user.  You must verify everything sent to you.  Even if you gave a maxlength on that input field, you’ll need to validate it server side.  There will always be someone trying to manipulate your implementation for their own benefit.  There was an issue a long time ago where some ecommerce sites would implement prices as hidden fields.  Some users found this, and were able change prices of products purchased.  You can’t trust your data to come back as you expect.

Other issues are merely more complex problems being introduced into web development.  It’s no secret that web development isn’t the most complicated programming endeavor.  Higher expectations on web projects have force web developers to have to deal with more complex subjects such as parallelism, data syncing, multi platform use (iphone, ipad, laptop, desktop, tv computers, RSS consumption, feed consolidation, etc), managing multiple data stores at different trust levels, etc.

Some major frustrations for web users, is that they are at the whim of their providers.  Usually a web user can’t say they want to stay with the old look and feel of a site (remember how many people didn’t want to leave windows 98?).  It makes some of us nervous knowing much of our digital lives are stored in “the cloud” and could be deleted at any point in time.

I’m happier with the more advanced functionality web sites are capable of now, even with the many new drawbacks.


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