HTML5, the next major revision of the markup language that the web is written in, presents exciting new possibilities for developers across many platforms and for user experience as well. Determining exactly what HTML5 ends up being, however, is not proving to be an entirely straightforward process. There's a lot of active debate going on in the technical trenches.
Enter Mozilla, everyone's favorite consumer and web friendly technical standards advocacy organization. They also make a very popular browser called Firefox. What's Mozilla's relationship with HTML5? That's about to become a lot more clear, now that the Foundation has hired former Yahoo UK Standards Evangelist Christian Heilmann. Heilmann today became Mozilla's principal Developer Evangelist with an emphasis on HTML5. He sent us the following statement, which I believe will prove helpful for anyone interested in the future of the web.
Mozilla has proven time and again that it has the capacity to change the world - here's how Heilmann aims to help continue that tradition. Frankly speaking, it's great news that he's joined Mozilla instead of Google or Facebook, as there's a real centralization of standards advocates piling up in those two companies alone.
Heilmann says he wants to make Mozilla "the Switzerland of HTML5."
I've been working for large companies on the web for the last 10 years, either directly or through agency work and I think it is high time to make the web a better, more predictable space to write applications that make it easier for people to do their day to day jobs. This is why I was incredibly excited to get an offer to join Mozilla as principal developer evangelist focusing on HTML5 and the open web.
HTML5 is a bit of a battleground at the moment with Google, Apple and Microsoft all pushing it. In the process a lot of cross-browser development gets lost and some of the best practices that make us work less and achieve more in the long run get forgotten. I see my job as making the Mozilla developer outreach channels the Switzerland of HTML5, explaining and showing how to get all the cool new things to work across browsers, platforms and markets. I have contacts and friends in all the companies mentioned before and want the new browser wars to be fought on interface and usability of browsers and not on extending and forking a standard which will force people to write bespoke solutions for every platform.
The same applies to mobile development. It is time we liberate ourselves as developers from locked-in environments and embrace the idea that software and especially the web by definition gets better by producing interoperable products rather than specialised one-off products that a year later cannot be maintained without a major re-write.
I am happy that I had my career so far by keeping my eyes and ears open to different technologies. I think it is high time that new people coming to the web should not have to make the same mistakes we had to go through to advance in their careers.
Mozilla is an organisation that by definition is there to make the web better. All my code, my talks, my screencasts, videos and trainings in the last few years had the same goal. It is a very logical and natural step for me. And yes, I like playing with dinosaurs.
Photo by Joel Bez