OK, I know what you are all thinking. Esri told me 5 years ago HTML5 was for small mash-ups and those serious about mapping should use Silverlight or Flex. Well if you haven’t been paying attention in the past year you’d be totally wrong. Not only is HTML5 based maps becoming standard practice, they are performing as well as Flex or Silverlight in most applications (Now for sure one could come up with a demo where Flex can display a gazillion points, but nobody wants a gazillion points on a map at once).

The latest company to release a HTML5 client is GISCloud. While other visualization companies offer JavaScript maps as an option, GISCloud has made them default. By using the HTML5 Canvas element, GISCloud is rendering vector data right inside of the browser, with no plugin (Right I know, IE supports nothing. Upgrade to IE9 or stop using the Internet. Your choice!). Oh and you don’t need to use some sort of weird API to get it to work on iPhones or iPads. It just works, browsing 2 million features on my iPad in Safari without a native app. Crazy!

Plus when you are working with vectors in the Canvas element, you can interact with them, the potential is limitless. I’m glad to see some of the innovative companies step up with amazing HTML5 clients that work as good or better than anything else out there. This is what happens when you have no legacy holding you back. You innovate and lead.

So who will blink first? Flex, Silverlight or HTML5? My money is on Silverlight, but it sure won’t be HTML5.

The Good, The Bad and the Cat