If you follow tech news, you’ve heard a bucketful about the virtual war between Apple and Adobe (makers of FLASH) over web design. Apple supports adopting HTML5 and Adobe still says FLASH is the thang. What’s it all about? Money and sales, of course, but here are some facts about how HTML5 may relate to your Internet experience in the near future.
Definitions HTML5 and FLASH
HTML is hyper text markup language, a fancy way of describing the coding tags web designers have used since the dark ages of webpages to make plain old text look fancy. HTML causes a browser to display specific or general colors, fonts, text styles, images, links, and everything else that goes into making webpages cool. HTML is part of the web page, a container for design elements.
FLASH is Adobe’s add-in program that causes web browsers to interpret video, animation, special effects, and interactivity. It was invented by Macromedia, a property of Adobe who makes Photoshop and other imaging software.
Like all things digital, HTML (and FLASH) goes through various iterations of itself as the powers-that-be adopt changes and improvements. The coming generation, being fiddled with now but not in wide use, is HTML5. Because the two platforms overlap in functionality, there’s an ongoing debate about which is better, HTML5 or FLASH, for cell phones, computers, etc. Apple’s Steve Jobs (CEO) is a master of calling attention to his company and so, has made it his hobby to bash FLASH and Adobe. This has no impact on us, as people.
The 10 facts about HTML5
I’ve been writing HTML code since, I don’t know, like 1998? and I like it. It’s easy to write, easy to use, and it’s an open-source platform. That means no one owns or controls HTML. So here’s how HTML5 will impact your coming experience.
- Any designer, including you or me for our home pages, can do stuff like liquid particles without much learning curve.
- Web users won’t have to download new versions of HTML5 like we do FLASH. Designers have to keep up on new tags. You just browse.
- It won’t cost you anything to use it, write it, read it.
- FLASH may have serious security issues. It’s doubtful that would ever be the case with HTML as a platform
- HTML should be transparent to users (you and me) and has the potential to be read in any browser or adopted by any cell phone manufacturer.
- Because it’s open source, it’s development as a platform will gain from contributions of some of the world’s brightest developers. No one has to hire them. The developers just contribute. We win.
- Browsers will be backwards compatible – meaning old browsers will ignore new HTML5 tags they don’t understand and still provide you a usable website experience.
- Embedding video in web pages will be easier and standardized so you can add video to your blog or page, play it on any browser, and enjoy more of it.
- It may become possible for us to have web applications that run offline even if you do not have an active Internet connection running.
- There will probably be lots more gadgets or mini-apps on the Web, just like those found for cell phones now, that you’ll be able to download and play with. Many will be free.
HTML5 vs Flash
At the end of this story is a simple fact. Right now, HTML5 isn’t doing much for you, but behind the scenes it’s maturing like a toddler in a growth spurt. Right now, browsers mostly don’t know what to do with it. Developers for Microsoft’s IE, the most ubiquitous web browser, need a swift kick in the template to get them moving on adopting HTML5 as current reality.
Safari is onboard, others are partially onboard.
FLASH is FLASH and it’s insecure, and can cause display problems. Adobe seriously needs to tighten up FLASH and make it safer and more stable.
The future isn’t here yet, but HTML5 will be in it, and really, I can’t wait. In all likelihood, you and I will never make a webpage with FLASH, it’s too complicated. I can write HTML all day long and enjoy the process, and so could you if you picked up one reference book. I think HTML will be fun for designers and for users.
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