Archive for July, 2009

Are browser inconsistencies the “Flash killer” killer?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

It looks like the W3C is chucking the video codec specification out of HTML5. Audio, too. That must have been hard; a standard implementation for online media is a big deal, and it was apparently right about to happen.

Too bad that the people implementing our standards are Apple, Mozilla, Nokia and Microsoft. Inevitably these companies would start making power plays, but I didn’t expect any type of fallout this early in HTML5’s life cycle.

I don’t know much about standards or software politics– I write apps for a proprietary platform that just about everybody has– but I feel that whatever “takes out” Flash, as some people have been hoping HTML5 would, will not come from this peanut gallery of power-hungry industry giants. After all, <video> and <audio> are only two of several new “rich web” features of HTML5. Can we count on these bozos to agree on the <canvas> tag? HTML5 won’t compete with Flash if there is any discrepancy there. And what about local data storage for web apps? I doubt Nokia and Opera will agree on one implementation for that.

This bickering is only temporary, I’m sure. Markets swing, giants shift their weight and standards get worked out. But in the meantime, Flash implements all of these features in the same way across all browsers today (mostly) with very little competition, and is already delivering even richer web content that certainly won’t make it to HTML5 for at least a decade. For pete’s sake.