The real language behind the markup is JavaScript. In virtually all applications where HTML5 is put to work in solving problems beyond simple rendering of content, JavaScript is the real actor.
When it makes sense
For an organization that has traditionally done C# or some other standard .NET development, there might not be any compelling reason to pay any attention at all to HTML5 and JavaScript. People in this category are getting more scarce all the time, as the Bring Your Own Device trend at many corporations and other organizations has introduced the need to deliver solutions to Android, iOS and Windows systems. The only way to do that without multiple versions of the application is currently HTML4 or HTML5. Since HTML5 offers many more features, that is where all the action is today.

Even if the decision is made to go the route of building applications for each platform to get the extra functionality, having the option of doing that with HTML5 lends itself to at least some code reuse, perhaps a good deal of code reuse. Keep in mind that there is no history of native HTML5 and JavaScript applications on older versions of Windows, meaning that on Windows 7, for example, you are stuck with the Web application, and that means no native functionality. WinRT is the secret sauce that makes HTML5 and JavaScript native on Windows 8, but only in Metro since as of yet there is no version of WinRT that allows it to cross over to the desktop.

With the question of when to use HTML5 on the table, Wahlin offered, “If Windows 8 Metro apps are the only consideration, then going the HTML5/JavaScript route makes sense if a company has the skill set to support it since Microsoft provides a robust framework and a great set of tools. The skill set required should include a thorough knowledge of JavaScript and related technologies since most of the HTML5 features rely on JavaScript. I find that some managers think that HTML5 is all about tags when that’s actually not the case. Many of the features in HTML5 require JavaScript such as local storage, geolocation, canvas rendering, Web sockets, plus more.”

He went on to explain, “If a company plans on using HTML5 outside of Windows 8 for traditional browser applications, then it’s important to understand that only the most modern browsers support HTML5.”

The ability to create HTML5 and JavaScript Metro-style applications on Windows 8 is a critical nod by Microsoft that indicates the company is serious about leveraging a technology that could be viewed as a threat to its position in the world of development. Embrace and extend is a viable strategy and seems to be well laid-out in this case. If you cannot beat them, join them, as the saying goes. If your skills already lie in the world of JavaScript, then support for that language is a natural fit, but even if you are not already doing JavaScript, the odds are that there is HTML5 on some platform in your future.