Ruthlessly Helpful

Stephen Ritchie's offerings of ruthlessly helpful software engineering practices.

HTML5 Shims, Fallbacks and Polyfills

There is a lot to know about HTML5 shims, fallbacks and polyfills. Let’s start by trying to define the terms and point to some places on the web to get more information.

The whole idea is to provide a way to develop pages in HTML5 and have everything work properly in a browser that doesn’t natively support HTML5 functionality. For example, this approach can enable the new HTML5 features within IE7.

shim /SHim/
Noun: A relatively small library (js, plugin, etc.) that gets in between the HTML5 and the incompatible browser and patches things — transparently — so the page works properly or as close as practicable. Sometimes referred to as a “shiv”. More info: The Story of the HTML5 Shiv

fallback /ˈfôlˌbak/
Noun: A backup plan when your page detects that it’s being displayed in an incompatible browser. More info: Yet another HTML5 fallback strategy for IE

polyfill /ˈpälē fil/
Noun: A patch or shim that is suitable as a fallback for *a whole lot of* missing functionality.
More info: Modernizr and What is a Polyfill? and HTML5 Cross Browser Polyfills

I’m going to roll up my sleeves now and start with this ScottGu post on HTML5 and ASP.NET MVC 3. It looks like it has some good bits on the modernizr.js JavaScript library.

2 responses to “HTML5 Shims, Fallbacks and Polyfills

  1. Charles Ross January 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks, Stephen, I assume in your paragraphs you mean polyfill rather than ployfill?

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