HTML5: love and hate


HTML5 is a way of coding websites that allows you to access video, audio, graphics and animations, editable web pages, “drag and drop” functionality and in-browser storage without the requirement to download plug-ins (like Flash Players or similar).  Kevin Sweeney who works at Vimeo says, “We’ve needed to rely on third parties like Adobe Flash or QuickTime and had to embed this inside web pages. What HTML5 will do is remove them from the equation so this stuff is supported natively.”  

“HMTL5 is not a single thing or a monolithic technology. It is a collection of features, technologies, and APIs that brings the power of the desktop and the vibrancy of multimedia experience to the web—while amplifying the web’s core strengths of interactivity and connectivity.

“HTML5 includes the fifth revision of the HTML markup language, CSS3, and a series of JavaScript APIs. Together, these technologies enable you to create complex applications that previously could be created only for desktop platforms.”

It gives websites not only an extra layer of design, but more importantly it helps with the usability of websites and allows more access to the kind of stuff that people want to experience online.  It allows users to share the same (or at least a similar) experience on sites whether they access them via mobiles, tablets or desktops.  HTML5 is supported by the main browsers.

YouTube is currently trialling HTML5 video content and you can try it and share your feedback here: 

This impacts people watching videos from mobile devices.  The new has a bunch of new features, including high-quality video playback in the browser using HTML5.

2009 Wired Magazine declared the web dead because everything was moving to mobile Apps.  A year later HTML5 started to make waves.  Now HTML5 is being championed as the mobile App killer.  The iPhone and other Apple software originally didn’t work with Flash.  They do however work with HTML5.  

HTML5 allows people to experience Apps and mobile websites in a similar way.  This is good.

With the growth of responsive website design (explored by Meetu in this recent blog) HTML5 is becoming equally as important as it allows for elements of the website and it’s structure to move depending on the size of the browser.  

It gives users what they want across multiple browsers and devices
It allows web users to do more on a website
You won’t have to download additional plug-ins with HTML5




Why HTML 5 sucks!

Posted by: Jeremy Reimer on Fri Mar 11 16:29:26 2011.

The idea behind HTML 5 was a good one: make sound and video clips a part of standard HTML code that anyone can use on any platform without having to use Adobe’s proprietary Flash plug-in. Great! Long overdue, in my opinion.

Then, sadly, everything went wrong.

I already knew that the video tag in HTML 5 was a complete train-wreck. Some browser manufacturers had decided to support H.264, others Ogg Theora, and then Google came along and started pushing WebM. But that’s video, something where new codecs are still being created and the state of the art is still very much in flux. I could forgive things for not being all sorted out.

Audio, I thought, would be trivial. So when it came time to include a podcast playback control in my Monarch blog engine (you’re reading through it right now!) I decided to test out HTML 5’s audio support to see how well it would work.

The answer is worse than not at all.

Internet Explorer 8, of course, ignores the tag and displays nothing, but that’s forgivable because honestly, who uses IE any more? Only dinosaurs and old people who really like things to be extra-slow. IE9 will supposedly support it, assuming the sun hasn’t become a red giant and consumed all life on Earth by the time it is released.

Firefox, on the other hand, commits an even more unforgivable sin: it CLAIMS to support it, but then won’t play MP3 files! Ogg Vorbis only! Look, Mozilla people, I understand this Noble Crusade For No Patents in Codecs, but MP3 is supported by every other sound playback system in the entire history of time. Five dollar portable music players support it. I think my breakfast cereal supports it. This is ridiculous! 

Now, we get to Chrome. Great browser, Chrome. Supports HTML 5 audio tags and plays back MP3s. Great, right?

Yeah, until you put more than one on a single page. Then it tries to play them all at once, ignoring the autoplay settings, and freezes the entire web page. (EDIT: It’s worse than that, actually. It freezes the ENTIRE BROWSER! Not even sandboxing can save it!) Great, Chrome. Nice job.

I downloaded a Flash audio player (the same one that the audio module in my old blog running Drupal used) and everything ran fine. Multiple instances, no problem. Runs on every browser, too, except the iPhone/iPad, which don’t support Flash. 

The idea of replacing Flash is a good one. It was neat seeing the Knotty Geeks podcasts load up on my iPad in a web page and being able to play them. But freezing Chrome and not working on Firefox is a complete deal-breaker, and this doesn’t show any signs of improving any time soon.

Flash is here to stay for the time being, folks.


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