HTML5 is Coming For Ecommerce Or Is It Already HereIT is a very trend-driven industry. There always seems to be a “hot” technology or trend – and these trends often fall off the map as quickly as they appear. While some technologies are natural extensions of an existing functionality, some are total game changers.  HTML5 falls in the gap – it’s both a natural extension and a game changer for web development, including ecommerce.

As multi-media becomes an essential part of the Web, it was important to change the HTML standard to include extensions to handle it.  Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight are two proprietary technologies designed specifically to handle graphics, user controls and media on the Web.  HTML5, the fifth iteration of the HTML standard, includes a very ambitious set of extensions to help provide this functionality in an open standard.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 appears to standardize disparate functions used on web pages and creates a very readable and workable model for constructing web pages.  From a development perspective, one of the most important things to me is that HTML helps define how JavaScript interacts with the DOM (document object model) – it lets us control the behavior of a web page in really granular and compelling ways.

What’s most telling to me about the impending strength of this standard is that both Adobe and Microsoft have made significant moves toward supporting and adopting this new standard.  While some would argue that the full expression of HTML5 will not be fully realized until about 2022, I think that it’s here, it’s now, and it’s here to stay.  It’s been reported that effective August 1, 2011, Google’s desktop applications will only run in HTML5-enabled browsers. As with all things technological, Google’s adoption of the technology indicates staying power. Clearly, HTML5 will become more robust and its features will become more widely adopted over time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid standard now.

Should You Care About HTML5?

For a developer, HTML5 is a very important trend to factor into current and future site designs.  For the consumer, the impact is subtler. HTML5 allows software companies to create singular versions of their software that will run on a much wider variety of platforms, which means a better user experience for the consumer. For example, the mobile revolution has forced many applications to be targeted to varying platforms – iPhone, Blackberry and Android, specifically.  HTML5 will allow these apps to run cross-platform and will allow for faster releases and more compelling software releases.

For further reading I quite like Mark Pilgrim’s write-up: http://diveintohtml5.org/

What is your experience with HTML5? Please comment below.