It's over an year since HTML5 came into limelight and is still evolving day by day. A recent report reveals that out of the 100 most popular websites, 34% are using HTML5, with search engines and social media sites leading the pack! Coming to the Geospatial industry, right from the beginning HTML5 has received encouraging response, owing to map friendly elements, like the canvas. Leading cloud based GIS service provider GIS Cloud made a switch to HTML5 very recently.
Advantages of HTML5 as noted by Pascal(original article)
- Improved code
- Greater consistency
- Improved semantics
- Improved accessibility
- Improved portability
- Client side database
One major concern with mapping sites happens to be fast rendering of maps. Of late real-time map display is also expected in many situations. HTML5 caters to both these requirements. GIS Cloud's example deployments have shown the interactiveness and fast rendering of vector maps with millions of features. An article on Safe Sotware's blog, points out how HTML5 web-sockets can be used to bring real-time spatial data to the web. Safe's blogger Stewart lists the advantages of using web sockets
- Less network traffic as web Sockets carry a very low overhead compared to HTTP (no headers)
- Low latency and
- Push capabilities
With Adobe's announcement of discontinuing support for Flash on mobile device browsers, industry rumors on the lifespan of Silverlight, and the growing future of HTML5, many users have asked for Esri's perspective on this news.
Esri continues to fully support four distinct patterns of application development:
- Native device applications
Just one concern I have about widespread HTML5 adoption is Microsoft's Silverlight. Microsoft has never been keen about cross-platform support. Therefore, if GIS vendors favor Silverlight for some reason then forget mobile devices, users will again have to be back on square one with good old Windows. Meantime this article makes me feel that Silverlight may be out of scene soon.