Why HTML5 league tables are a waste of time


My dad is bigger than your dad. No, really, he is. He’s 6’4” in his socks. Did I say 6’4”? No, I meant 6’8”. And next week, he’ll top 7’ for sure.

So it was recently announced that IE10 PP4 has surpassed Safari and Opera in HTML5 support. Now, obviously, from my point of view it’s great to see IE adding more HTML5 features, but really league tables like this are a side show. Regardless of whether Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox or Opera is this weeks leader, feature Matrix and leaderboards are just a list of tick boxes.

In many ways, while making for good PR, these kinds of stories aren’t so special. While one browser may support X% and another Y%, this is really just half the picture. In fact, all it really tells you is that a certain feature exists on a particular browser, it doesn't tell you how well a feature has been implemented.

In the real world, as any developer will tell you, design and implementation are two very different animals. When push comes to shove, its only through using these features that any of us will actually discover the possibilities, limitations and bugs within any platform. This is what really matters to developers.

In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter who releases different HTML5 features first (as long as they do get released, which is where competition really is healthy). What matters is that when they are released, they are rock-solid, interoperable and standards-based. At least, that’s what my dad says.

Comments (1)

  1. Ian Devlin says:

    Wise words.

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