HTML5 as a “programming language”

A JavaWorld article rhetorically asks, “Will HTML5 kill the mobile app?” Windows 8 will purportedly have a new type of application, written in HTML5 and JavaScript. I have to wonder whether the people who are proposing HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript as a programming environment have the least idea of what programming is about.

The idea is so bizarre that it’s hard to know where to start a refutation. How would you refute a claim that silly putty is going to be the new way to build skyscrapers? HTML, in any version, just isn’t a programming language. JavaScript can be used for some programming tasks — in principle, it can implement any computation that you could write in another language — but doing anything but the simplest programming tasks in it is agonizing.

There are innocent people who’ve copied a script to produce a Web page effect, and there are less innocent people who find it convenient to delude them with the notion that that’s what programming is. The web page for HTML5 for Dummies declares: “HTML is the predominant programming language used to create Web pages.” If you can believe that, you’re part of the target audience of the title.

One response to “HTML5 as a “programming language”

  1. I think you’re over-reacting… and you’re completely wrong about Javascript, by the way. Javascript is a shockingly powerful language these days. Yes, it may never be as fast as a compiled language, but it’s amazingly expressive and clever when used ambitiously. Try it, seriously.