HTML 5 - Ready for Roll-out
As of April 2014, nearly everyone browsing the internet is using a HTML 5 capable browser. HTML 5 has been in development since 2004, and first entered the mainstream in 2010. Four years later, the new capabilities that if offers application designers cannot be overlooked.
Why HTML 5
Many developers overlooked HTML5 as just a new set of tags for fixing layout issues, but its real significance is far more powerful. Sure it does fix many of the layout problems that plagued developers prior to 2010, and continues to help developers today. HTML 5 includes powerful new APIs that bring compelling features to web based applications. Most importantly, these are all ready to use in all major browsers and platforms today. See the html5 browser compatibility chart for a feature by feature comparison and support from each major browser.
HTML 5 APIs
The full HTML 5 specification is daunting, the real gold for application developers lay in these APIs
Socket communication allows full client/server communication for "real-time" communication between workstations. Use this to create message based services, without the overhead of a server in the middle.
Before HTML 5, each browser created is own means of storing data locally, as a result, storing large amounts of data (say more than 1Mb) was nearly impossible, and required significant cross browser testing. With HTML 5 it's easy as can be. Applications can take advantage of this to improve performance, scalability and provide offline operations services.
Now you can tailor application data to a specific location, or simply use the location data to augment logging capabilities. With this information you know only know who did what, but now where they were when they did it.
Internet Explorer Lags
Of the major browsers, IE has the worst support, with a big drop-off of HTML 5 capabilities in IE7 and earlier. Fortunately, the most significant features (in particular Local Storage), have been available in IE since version 7. Many IE 7 users are stuck in a corporate network that refuses them to upgrade. We recommend catching and warning IE7 users, but not providing explicit support for them. As of May 2014, IE 7 and earlier represent less than 1% of world wide web traffic..
High Function with Low Risk
Developing to the HTML 5 specification is a low risk proposition. It offers applications significant improvements in performance and offline access for mobile access. You can confidently use this in your applications knowing that vendor support for these common features will be around for years to come.