Happy Birthday, “HTML5”

Five years ago today I first blogged about Ian Hickson’s use of the term: “‘HTML5’ is the name we’ve been using as the catch-all term for our various proposals.”

Odd trivia: this label was invented only three months after Jesse James Garrett coined “AJAX”. The difference in momentum is explained by Ajax using abilities already available in deployed browsers — Internet Explorer was the first to support asynchronous XML requests, and “Ajax” became popular only after Firefox started supporting it too. “HTML5” is the other way around… marketing occurs on features to be found in current and future versions of minority browsers, and there’s little provision for reaching the masses. “HTML5” definitely has bigger buzz than “Ajax” here in 2010, though.

JavaScript was added the same time as third-party plugins, in 1995’s Netscape 2. Dreamweaver arrived with “DHTML” in 1998, when browsers could first do sprite animation and handle user events. Flash developers use HTML as part of their own work. Most of the “‘HTML5’ vs Flash” stuff comes from people who don’t use both… sort of like debating whether the knife is better than the fork when slicing and eating birthday cake.

Happy birthday, little marketing label, you’re now five years old. Grow up and do good things.