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What To Expect From HTML5 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the endless-debate-about-video dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Neil McAllister takes a deeper look at HTML5, outlining what developers should expect from this overhaul of HTML — one that some believe could put an end to proprietary Web technologies such as Flash and Silverlight. Among the most eagerly anticipated additions to HTML5 are new elements and APIs that allow content authors to create rich media using nothing more than standards-based HTML. The standard also introduces browser-based application caches, which enable Web apps to store information on the client device. 'But for all of HTML5's new features, users shouldn't expect plug-ins to disappear overnight. The Web has a long history of many competing technologies and media formats, and the inertia of that legacy will be difficult to overcome. It may yet be many years before a pure-HTML5 browser will be able to match the capabilities of today's patchwork clients,' McAllister writes. 'In the end, browser market share may be the most significant hurdle for developers interested in making the most of HTML5. Until these legacy browsers are replaced with modern updates, Web developers may be stuck maintaining two versions of their sites: a rich version for HTML5-enabled users, and a version for legacy browsers that falls back on outdated rendering tricks.'"
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What To Expect From HTML5

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  • Thank you Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:33PM (#31402464)
    Big thanks to Apple for standing up to the Flash juggernaut and showing the world we could live without it, thereby paving the way for HTML 5.
  • HTML5 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:39PM (#31402560) Homepage Journal

    I won't touch it until Ian Hickson either gets his head out from his orifice or he steps down as the lead dev. I know some of what's going on (from list archives and discussions with at least one of the main devs on the HTML5 WG list) and he's doing his best to kill HTML 5 and standards based design completely.

  • by Alaren (682568) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:46PM (#31402658)

    Has Flash has been pushing people around? Seems to me its ubiquity is attributable to web developers (and, arguably, their clientele), and to its ability to deliver what was desired.

    Generally one "stands up" to bullies. At best, Apple (and Google, and even Microsoft) have been "standing up" to web developers who don't want to learn something new, even if it is (presumably) better.

  • Re:Vector animation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:58PM (#31402800)

    no, no, no, you're getting this all wrong - this isn't about what people want or what actually happens in the real world!

    it's about a type of consumer so brainwashed they actually believe that apple are a real force for good, and that anything that stands in the way of their favorite company's marketing machine is sheer anathema.

    oh and not forgetting the stunted ideologue who will sing the praises of html5, knowing full well it won't amount to squat. who could forget them around here!

  • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:00PM (#31402824)

    I wouldn't say learning is the problem, not wanting to buy or pirate Adobe products is the issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:02PM (#31402858)

    While I'm glad to see movement towards non-prop web video playback, how else (besides Flash/Silverlight) can you do online interactive seminars/meetings with shared audio/video between multiple users (let alone screen/application sharing)? While the HTML5 spec seems to cover video playback pretty well, I don't see an standard-based specification for sharing in streamed audio/video between multiple users (but maybe I'm overlooking something?).

    And no this isn't about "chat roulette", it's about remote meeting/collaboration functionalities that are increasingly important for businesses and online/remote learning, where the _least_ proprietary solutions are currently Flash-based on the client end.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:04PM (#31402868)

    I don't understand why anyone thinks this will put an end to Flash, Silverlight, etc., since HTML5 doesn't specify allowed CODECs. All this means is that those proprietary codecs will be specified with an HTML5 tag. Everything else will remain the same.

    Picture this, in 5 years you're developing new Web site and you want a Web application on that site. Say it's a little Web based game. Will you:

    • Create a version in Flash and not support the iPhone, iPad, and several other phones.
    • Create a version in Flash and a version in HTML5 to support both regular Web browsers and the iPhone, iPad, and Mobile devices that don't do Flash?
    • Just create an HTML5 version without Flash, and still support both all major browsers and the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile browsers, excluding some very old versions of browsers that have not installed the Google Frame plug-in?

    Basically, for applications, Flash becomes redundant since you need to use HTM for other devices anyway and HTML 5 supports everything important Flash does. For video, Flash becomes useless overhead, since you can just specify a codec already used in Flash which will save the user's processor and using Flash limits your audience to a subset of what just specifying a standard codec or two does.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:16PM (#31403010) Homepage Journal

    I don't want HTML5. I want XHTML2. Get to work on this now.

    HTML5 has two syntaxes [w3.org]: SGML-style "HTML Syntax" (Content-type: text/html) and XML (Content-type: application/xhtml+xml). The latter is called XHTML5, and 5 is greater than 2.

  • Re:What to except (Score:4, Interesting)

    by game kid (805301) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:17PM (#31403016) Homepage

    fix the web without breaking backwards compatibility

    Using video when object with just a mime type and filename doesn't break backwards compatibility?

    Given that intentional spite of IE (video is otherwise redundant and has not brought about a standard format), along with canvas and the codification of bad SGML parsing, I'm not convinced we should celebrate HTML5's failure (or FAIL, as people who can't type lowercase seven-letter words say now). I won't touch it.

    I'll keep using XHTML 1.0 and pretend HTML5 and XHTML 1.1 (with its invalid DTDs and such) never existed, tyvm.

  • by McBeer (714119) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:18PM (#31403038) Homepage
    Honestly I'm not rooting for html 5 to replace flash/Silverlight for RIA. I don't like having to have 5 times as many tests in my matrix (one for each browser). I don't like having to write ajax shims whenever I want to use the db from the client. I don't like how hard it is to make reusable html controls that can't break other parts of the site. I don't like how javascript scales up for larger projects... the list goes on. I'm welcome some improvements to html+javascript and for using it to display documents. That said, It simply isn't designed for RIA. Flash/Silverlight are.
  • Re:HTML5 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dracos (107777) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:19PM (#31403048)

    I agree that Hickson is more of a bane than a boon, but he's not trying to kill all of standards based design, he's just trying to kill the best parts of it. Developers do want XML compliance. If they would just drop the HTML5 tag soup and enforce XHTML5, I would have much less against this mess.

    That, and I still believe Chris Wilson is Microsoft's trojan horse.

  • MoonDimPhotons works on Linux and can generally play web applications designed for the previous version of SilverDimPhotons, as long as they don't use DRM [mono-project.com]. But Netflix intentionally makes its service incompatible with MoonDimPhotons because a recompiled version of MoonDimPhotons could tee(1) [ss64.com] the video into a file that can easily be redistributed to the public in violation of copyright. Linux on PCs and DRM are at fundamental odds with each other.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:33PM (#31403250)

    doesn't that make Flash a great HTML 5 editor?

  • by Joe Tie. (567096) on Monday March 08, 2010 @02:33PM (#31404036)
    Man, let me tell you, as a linux user I really miss the pre flash video days. It's so annoying facing a somewhat heavy processor load while watching videos online, compared to not being able to see them at all. To getting codec errors, and redirects because the browser detection was windows-centric or because they actually booted people away that were using linux. Glad to see those wonderful days might be making a comeback!
  • by dave562 (969951) on Monday March 08, 2010 @02:34PM (#31404056) Journal

    Not wanting to buy / pirate is a symptom of a larger issue with professional computer users in general. There are those who are willing to pay for tools that will get the job done, and there are those who won't. Those are willing to do so, do so. Those who aren't will constantly seek alternatives and seemingly never learn the adage that, "You get what you pay for."

    Some people don't seem to understand that the largest incentive to introduce new technologies is to make money. There is money to be made in making people's lives easier, or allowing people to accomplish tasks. Adobe has Flash. Microsoft has Windows. Neither of them are necessarily the "best" way of doing things. None the less they get the job done to a certain extent.

    In the context of HTML5, people are going to have to recreate Flash like functionality. The first few attempts will probably suck or be "feature incomplete". What is the financial incentive to reproduce Flash like functionality in HTML5? In the long term people can save money by not having to use Adobe Flash. In the near to short term, what is the benefit? Who is going to come up with the Flash killer out of the goodness and kindness of their heart?

  • by rxan (1424721) on Monday March 08, 2010 @02:58PM (#31404400)

    People are still complaining about the lack of Flash on iPhone and iPad. This shows that people can't live without it right now.

    Telling people they can't have Flash on the iP* but that they can compile their Flash apps for the iP* doesn't make it any better. Apple could care less if HTML5 replaced Flash. What they really want is more iP*-exclusive apps.

    You're mistaking the bully (Apple) for the savior. What was that syndrome called again?

  • Re:Inertia be damned (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:10PM (#31404582)

    Try detecting multiple simultaneous keypresses in ActionScript... Easy enough, right?
    Now try detecting multiple simultaneous keypresses in JavaScript... How's that working for ya?

    If you're trying to make a two player game or something that uses WASD style keyboard control, you'll notice some things aren't up to par outside of Flash.

    (Now unless the new spec fixes things like that, there's still some reasons to keep Flash around.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:20PM (#31404718)

    Now let's be fair here - Theora isn't that good. It's XviD-standard, so it's, well, it's okay, but in terms of a drop-in replacement for H.264 for Youtube it does not cut the mustard.

    And Nokia has asserted it has submarine patents on it, and hasn't actually promised not to enforce them (we'd bitterly hate it if it did, given the involvement it's had in things like Maemo and QT, but still). Given that, and that Apple and Nokia are now competitors, Apple do not want to risk Theora. That's the reason why.

    Meanwhile, Google have bought On2. This means they now have the rights to VP7 and, more importantly, VP8 (remember Theora is a slightly-tweaked VP3). VP8 is fast. Very fast. According to what On2 said, it's slightly better than the H.264 profiles, it's scalable at least as well as the SVC extension to H.264, but it's also fast enough to decode in realtime on mobile ARM processors like the A8, A9, and Apple's A4, at screen sizes that count for those devices. It does not need specialised hardware support like H.264 does, but can probably use the pixel shaders on those graphic chips to lighten the load a bit.

    What I think we're waiting for is for Google to do a really, really, really exhaustive patent search - essentially, exhaustively listing all possible worldwide submarines and enumerating them, and carefully eliminating anything from any patent troll that may pose any reasonable litigation threat they aren't certain they have prior art for - to create a VP8-derivative or successor that they can unmask as a new open standard for video, that is H.264-class or better, suitable for devices from mobile scale up to 1080p HD and beyond, and patent-free from now until beyond 2015 (after which MPEG-LA will probably start seriously price-gouging H.264 - if YouTube are still using H.264 then, it will probably become uneconomical).

    That is what we need. I'm afraid Theora isn't it. Tarkin wasn't either. Dirac's not too bad, but it's not quite there. And H.264, given its patent status, also isn't there; it's a holding position for some parties for now, but only until 2015 at the very latest. Besides, it's a blockfest - it's really not that good. It can be beaten. H.263 was.

    As for container, if you're going to be serious, honestly Matroska (.mkv) is much more attractive than Ogg.

  • by aztracker1 (702135) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:44PM (#31404988) Homepage
    I think a package/zipped format of a self contained unit of work/presentation should be added as well.. so you can do an object/canvas tag, and have a collection/package available with all the resource for the page/app/site in a single zip file... similar to xap and jar files for silverlight and java. Tooling is another huge issue, animators/designers will want something akin to the Flash software or Expression Blend. When these tools become available, we'll start to see more HTML5 actions with canvas, audio and video... The video formats supported will be another issue, I'd like to see chrome and safari add support for ogg+theora even if the quality is slightly better with h.264 -- lastly the understanding of JavaScript as a language needs to advance a bit.
  • html5-block add-on? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fractal Dice (696349) on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:35PM (#31405712) Journal
    Given that a flash-blocking addon is pretty much a requirement to make the web readable these days, does this fancy html5 come with an expectation that browsers will give client-users more power to control what craziness sites are allowed to access with all these more intrusive "features"?
  • JavaScript needs a complete overhaul in a capital way. Capital as in capital offence. It needs to be shot in the head and replaced by something that isn't an offence to software development practices everywhere.

    Pray tell, what are these offenses? What, exactly, would you overhaul?

    Because after I learned a bit about functional techniques and the prototype model, I'm pretty much convinced that traditional "enterprise" application languages like Java and C++ are by comparison nightmares almost designed largely to multiply hierarchies, bloat code with boilerplate like no tomorrow.

    There's a few JS language features I don't like much... having IEEE 754 Double Precision be the sole numeric type, for example, can be a real pain, not much fond of semicolon insertion, it'd be nice if there was a shorter expression for lambdas, and a language-specified construct for loading modules and importing packages. But if you know the language well enough, you can navigate around or manage away *all* those problems effectively and often smoothly. And I'd sure rather have ECMAScript 5 than 4 (heck, 3 would be better).

    It's probably the most widely deployed language that's a step above Blub [wikipedia.org], that's for sure.

    Now, if you've got a problem with the browser APIs, complain away. They've been sloppy and inefficient since day one, and they're not improving very rapidly. But that's not really a language issue.

  • by Alistair Hutton (889794) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @04:25AM (#31411274) Homepage
    I have seen HTML 5 demos, there's one with coloured balls moving around the screen on a black background reacting to the mouse. That takes up 90% of one core of my machine. I knocked up a similar program in Actionscript, it took up 5% of one core.

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