Red Bricks Media: L.O.V.E HTML5 - Jerry Hong - MediaBizBloggers

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L: Leadership
O: Opinion
V: Vision
E: Evolution

(L.O.V.E. with these defining terms is a trademark of MediaBizBloggers.com)

Free diving for California abalone is one of my favorite hobbies. Abalone is a highly prized meat, but is very difficult and often dangerous to obtain. Experienced abalone fisherman will swim out a little farther and free dive 10-15 ft deep, where there is little competition and plenty of abalone to be found. Even greater risk takers go far out into the ocean diving 30 -40 ft deep to find trophy abalone 10 -12 inches in diameter. The theory here is simple: with greater risk there is greater reward.

Steve Jobs recently took a risky dive when he unveiled the iPad to the world. Jobs boldly declared that the iPod and the iPad will not support Flash. Flash, the technology that for years has served us video and complex interactive web content. Internet users have relied heavily on Flash for interactive content, and without any other options we simply put up with Flash slowing down our web experience. As technology evolved, a set of JavaScript libraries were created such as jQuery, ProtoType and Dojo to create a more dynamic experience on the internet. As developers realized what web users were demanding, they started to create the next generation of HTML currently known as HTML5.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the next generation of HTML. HTML5's standardization work is in progress and is expected to be ready in 2022. Although, the standard is not final, major features are already being integrated into new versions of web browsers. As people demand more and more interactive web content, developers have had to meet these demands through mediums such as Flash and JavaScript. But since Flash is not native to HTML, interactive content must be built through Flash and the Flash application must be downloaded to view content. HTML5 has simplified this process through the use of the <video> and <canvas> tags. The introduction of the <video> tag allows you to display video files which are supported by the browser without too much additional programming. This is good news to web engineers.

New canvas technology will also enable non-flash developers to be able to produce more interactive content without the need of Flash. Google has recently demonstrated this concept by placing a game of Pac-Man in their logo. To the average user, this might not seem like a big deal, but to a web engineer, this is a very welcoming idea.

Did Steve Jobs invent HTML5? (Opinion)

The HTML5 standard began long before the iPad was introduced. In 2006, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) began discussing the development of HTML5, and in 2007 a working group had been formed to develop it. So why is it believed that Steve Jobs invented HTML5? Steve Jobs disrupted the technology industry when he introduced the iPad, announcing that it would support HTML5 and not Flash. Knowing that many online ads are made with Flash, Apple quickly introduced the iAd, which is based in HTML5, to deliver interactive advertisements. The iAd gained a lot of publicity for HTML5, which is why some falsely credit Steve Jobs with inventing it.

What is HTML5 capable of? (Evolution)

HTML5 will have several new features; features which are currently available include <video>, <canvas> and the geolocation API. The video tag, as discussed earlier, is capable of displaying video content without wrapping it around Flash, and is considered to be the future of delivering video content. Companies such as Google have already started enjoying the benefits of the canvas tag as displayed with their madly successful game of Pac-Man. Quick note on the <canvas> tag: The <canvas> tag itself is not capable of doing any interaction, but it provides a base to draw and interact using JavaScript and CSS to deliver richer content to internet users. Geolocation has already gained popularity, especially in the mobile industry. Many new websites are also adopting the use of the geolocation API to provide localized service and content to non-smart phone users. It is important to note that there are other features such as offline storage and client side database, but these features are used in the backend rather than shown to users as a feature.

Where are we going with HTML5? (Vision)

I was recently watching a video clip of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates discussing the future of the internet in the mid 90's. Although Gate's prediction was more accurate, Jobs took the initiative to make that prediction a reality with the invention of the iPad, the iPod and his support of HTML5. HTML5 will bring internet users a unique interactive experience which has never been possible before. Interacting with content will become easier and will be tailored to individual tastes. When this migration begins, there will be a paradigm shift of the internet like we saw in the late 90's and early 2000. So get ready to embrace HTML5 into the future of your internet experience.

When do you recommend HTML5 to your client? (Leadership)

The move to HTML5 is inevitable. So, should we jump on the bandwagon now? First, we should look into the demand for HTML5 features and the ability of browsers to support it. Currently, browsers such as Internet Explorer are not adapting HTML5 features fast enough. Although, IE9 is expected to support features such as <video>, <canvas> and geolocation. How well it will support these features is another story. As HTML5 matures, we will see hybrid implementation of HTML5 and existing HTML using some type of JavaScript library and Flash. So you can either take a risk and begin using HTML5 now, or play it safe and wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

Jerry Hong is Engineering Manager at Red Bricks Media. With over 11 years experience as an accomplished software engineer, Jerry specializes in object-oriented approaches to develop software and web application. His email address is jhong@redbricksmedia.com.

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