Should we stop using HTML5 because of interoperability issues? Of course not!

Yesterday an official from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was quoted in an article on InfoWorld titled “W3C: Hold off on deploying HTML5 in websites” as saying:

“The problem we’re facing right now is there is already a lot of excitement for HTML5, but it’s a little too early to deploy it because we’re running into interoperability issues”
Philippe Le Hegaret, W3C interaction domain leader

So, we mustn’t use HTML5 yet because of interoperability issues!?! Of course not!

Virtually every web developer will have dealt with far worse “interoperability” issues with HTML4, IE6 anyone? Or for those with a longer memory what about the nightmare of Netscape 4 (document.layers) versus IE4 (document.all).

Progressive Enhancement/Graceful Degradation

Most web developers should be familiar with the idea of progressive enhancement (and its flip side, graceful degradation). We can make pages work in any browser, with the functionality being enriched in the more modern browsers that support the newer features whilst still allowing people with IE6 to have a decent experience when viewing and interacting with our pages.

HTML5 (and the related specifications such as CSS3) might still be in flux at the moment but much of what it offers is already in a more consistent state than the numerous idiosyncrasies that exist within the various HTML4 implementations.


HTML5 is there to be used. Take advantage of it in the browsers that support it, but don’t forget that your web pages (may) still need to work in the browsers that don’t.

And for anyone who that isn’t too sure how to do this, there are libraries, such as Modernizr, available to help bridge the gap.

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