The idea is not that we should try to implement every fringe, unverified hack and standard, but we’ve been working with bleeding edge HTML4.1/ECMAscript and de facto browser standards for over a decade. If that’s not clear to the W3C then I’m pretty sure they’re not prepared for 2011 when every major browser vendor will announce that they’re HTML5 ready. Will there be interoperability issues? Certainly. Will there be hacks to get around them? There already are!
HTML5 is a great concept and I think it will be the de facto standard moving forward from 2011 further. I’m going to be updating all of my blogs to use HTML5 as time allows. HTML5 will save money (working on a blog post for that) for companies that deplay the markup, ISPs who have to have provide bandwidth, and save time for end users who do almost nothing but upgrade their browsers to HTML5 ready versions and get the benefit.
One of the problems that made the HTML4/Netscape 4/IE4 wars so difficult was that bandwidth was scarce and unless AOL shipped yet another CD to your house with IE (5 or 6) on it, upgrading could take so long that your grandma’s call on the dial-up connection could be blocked. However, with DSL and various other broadband mechanisms in place on top of auto-updating browsers the cost of the upgrade is minimal at best. HTML5 is not the future, it’s the present. Google pushed Google Wave as HTML5 goodness May 27th 2009 as a presently capable, functional application. That means that very large corporations reaching millions of users have been using HTML5, even if it required a sub-set of browsers, for a hear and a half. That means that my iPhone, my BlackBerry, my Droid and an array of other devices running Webkit and my desktop browser are all generally HTML5 capable.
I believe we can use HTML5, even if we don’t get to use it every single day for every possible feature it could provide if cross-browser perfection were achieved. It’s ready.