Take a look at this graph and try to guess what it represents:
It could be Apple’s stock price (which has been steadily growing for the past eight years). But no, these are actually search inquiries for “html5” on Google. It is clear that HTML5 is one of the hottest buzz words in the business.
Now take a look at this graph:
This is again a Google Trends report of search queries. The blue is still “html5” and the red is “Adobe Flash”. This helps to put things in perspective: even with all the buzz around it, most of us still use flash websites about 99% of the time. However, this is about to change and it will have major effects on anyone in the digital video space.
There has been a lot of talk about HTML5 in the last two years. First, Steve Jobs decided not use Flash in Apple’s mobile devices, then Adobe had tried to hold its ground until it recently gave up. In all this chatter, I kept asking myself if I should start learning HTML5. So eventually I decided to ask Andrew Davis, one of our HTML5 experts here at Kaltura and he helped me to answer this question once and for all:
“You shouldn’t learn anything but HTML5.”
Without getting too deep into the professional jargon, here are some good reasons (along with some beautiful examples) that demonstrate why HTML5 is the future of the web:
- No 3rd party API – this is a crucial issue. In order to explain this, try to think about the web as an ocean in which we, the users, surf. In the current HTML waters we keep changing surfboards. If we want to view a movie on Netflix we need Silverlight, for YouTube we require Flash, other sites may use QuickTime. These surfboards only allow specific types of surfing (is surfing on a tablet really that different?) and they also occasionally break. In the HTML5 world surfboards are obsolete. Here, the browser is the only surfboard one needs and it offers all the surfing maneuvers imaginable
- Better Browsers – now that the browser makers are freed from 3rd part constraints, they can create what Steve Jobs would call “insanely great” products. At the end of the day, the growing competition between browser vendors creates innovation that benefits users.
- Better Video Streaming – as more and more people watch television online, we want our web browsers to be able to stream it as quickly and smoothly as possible. With HTML5 we will get a seamless video experience across all devices. Another plus is the ability to create rich video experiences like in Arcade Fire’s fantastic clip.
- Better Mobile Support – with HTML5 you are able to stream any video on all mobile devices and it also allows multiple streams. Apple is currently limiting its devices to stream one video at a time, but with stronger processors and HTML5, tablets will be able to stream two videos side-by-side. HTML5 also makes it easier to view websites on mobile devices and use all their functionalities.
- Better Interactivity and Graphics – HTML5 allows users to modify web changes very easily. This creates endless possibilities for games and web design. Here is a good example.
- Geolocation – HTML5 can pinpoint your location without relying on GPS. In other words, locating the nearest post office or cinema is going to become much easier but that is just beginning. Wouldn’t it be nice to get real-time offers from businesses based on your location?
However, there are some (minor) challenges for HTML5. Most importantly, the industry is trying to agree on a DRM standard that will enable big companies to upgrade their video experience knowing that the content is protected. Microsoft, Google and Netflix have recently suggested a way to add encrypted media extensions to the spec. Other challenges include mobile device support and browser support, but overall there has been much improvement in these two areas.
If want to know more, the best thing would be to speak with a HTML5 professional. Come to our monthly HTML5 meet up and you will meet many interesting folks. The next event is this evening (Monday, March 5th). More details – here.
You might also want to take a look at these sites:
HTML5 Resources: http://html5doctor.com/
HTML5 Video: http://html5video.org/
HTML5 Browser Readiness: http://html5readiness.com/
Try it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/html5
A nice HTML5 player: http://sublimevideo.net/demo