HTML5 tools suck, but are improving. The key issue hindering HTML5 today is the availability of capable tools and skills needed to use this expansive technology effectively. We are far from where deep HTML5 skills or tools are available in the market to the same degree as Java or .NET, and we may not reach this level until the end of the decade. The arrival of the standard will feed the virtuous cycle of increased adoption and skills growth. Improved editors and debuggers are already beginning to make a dent in making developers more productive.

It’s HTML5 inside. Application development tools, frameworks and middleware aimed at cross-platform development are increasingly relying on HTML5 and JavaScript to deliver the goods. The majority of enterprises developing HTML5 applications will likely do so through third-party cross-platform application development tools that provide client-side or end-to-end abstraction models to improve development agility and productivity. Model-driven tools today rely on Web technologies internally, allowing developers to leverage HTML5 innovation while leaving its complexities to specialist platform builders.

Is JavaScript up to the task? JavaScript was designed for writing quick-and-dirty application glue in an era when browsers did not run much application logic. It is amazingly powerful given its design focus. Despite its performance issues, the greatest enterprise doubts around HTML5 are about the suitability of JavaScript for large bodies of complex application code. The lack of built-in dependency-management systems and modularity constructs, along with difficult-to-read and debug dynamic typing, are key areas of work for the ECMAScript governing body. Finalizing ECMAScript 6 by mid-2015 will be key to the success of the Web platform in the long run.

The HTML5 standard is as much a political triumph as it is a technical triumph. HTML5 holds the promise of a unified set of technologies that can provide skills, code and effort sharing across multiple devices and operating systems from all walks of tech-land. Even if the promise of writing once and running everywhere cannot be realized fully (and it is clear that it cannot), HTML5 can provide time and cost savings by sharing aspects of the code or development effort.

Al Hilwa is program director of application development software research at IDC.