Archives For html5

A couple of years ago, I started using the JW Player to provide Flash video on a couple of Web sites I was working on. I forget why, exactly, that I choose the JW Player, except that I believe it worked well with TinyMCE or CKEditor or whatever other WYSIWYG JavaScript editor I was using for content management. (Although, if I recall correctly, I had to edit the JavaScript of the WYSIWYG plug-in to get it to do what I wanted.) In any case, I was, and continue to be, pleased with what JW Player offered, and at a reasonable price (the player itself is open source, but skinning and more professional features require a license, starting at $89 US for a single site).

The people at LongTail Video, who put out the JW Player, have done an excellent job in the past couple of years of navigating the Flash video vs. HTML5 situation (check out HTML5 Video: Not Quite There Yet). The reason for this post today, though, is that latest version of the JW Player can be set to prefer HTML5, and fallback to Flash when necessary, or prefer Flash and fallback to HTML5. This means that you can reliably serve videos on your site using JW Player, knowing those videos will play reliably in Web browsers and in mobile devices (e.g., iOS devices that don’t support Flash). Getting our Web sites to work reliably for all (or almost all) users is the hardest part of being a Web developer; JW Player’s work in this regard is most welcome.

The JW Player has all sorts of other features, including skinning (already mentioned), support for plug-ins, and the ability to work with different delivery mechanisms (CDNs, Flash Media Server, etc.). If need to provide video on your next Web project, I’d highly recommend you consider JW Player.

The excellent Fi development firm put together a site titled “20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” for the Google Chrome Team. The site is written in HTML5 (you don’t have to use Chrome to view it but you need a current browser; I used Firefox 3.6.13), with an amazing interface that looks like you’re reading a really sharp book. The book pages turn as if it’s a real book—without redrawing the page. The site also remembers where you were in the “book” when you return at a later time. After looking at a couple of pages, take a peek at the source code (HTML5 is a whole new world).

As for the content, the foreword to the book says, it’s a “short guide for anyone who’s curious about the basics of browsers and the web”. The material really covers the gamut of what the Web is, beginning with TCP/IP in 1974! There are 19 topics, with about 2-3 pages per (the 20th topic is actually a recap). Some of the content is basic—the kind of thing that might help your parents understand how the Web works—and some is sufficiently technical. Initial topics covered include HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and the forthcoming HTML5. Other sections focus on features of browsers: plug-ins, extensions, cookies. The section on Web apps does an excellent job of discussing the benefits that Web-based applications have over traditional desktop ones. Several of the mid- to later sections properly explain the security concerns surrounding Web browsers and the Internet (common fix: use a current and up-to-date browser). And although the site was developed for Google Chrome, it’s not too Google-centric, in my opinion.

All in all, definitely worth checking out!

More Links About HTML5

November 23, 2010

I’ve been reading more and more articles about HTML5 over the past few weeks and thought I’d just share the most recent few that I’ve found to be interesting.

  • Dive Into HTML5 is the most interesting, although it’s also the longest of these resources. This is the online version of the book Dive Into HTML5, by Mark Pilgrim, published by O’Reilly. It’s really well written and approachable. With the online version, you can test most of the new features immediately in your browser.
  • HTML5Rocks/ is simple and interactive and shows lots of specific features.
  • WTF is HTML5 is just an image presenting the range of what’s falling under the “HTML5” umbrella, as well as current browser support.
  • Jeremy Keith has written a new book, HTML5 for Web Designers, although I haven’t read it yet myself.
  • An article at InfoWorld presents How to Use HTML5 on Your Website Today, which is probably what you really want to know.

The following links don’t really teach HTML5 so much as talk about some of its issues. Useful if you’re looking for general context or pros and cons.

Finally, to see how your browser does with HTML5’s expected new features, check out The HTML5 Test.

All of this is in my mind lately, as I just started writing the fourth edition of my “PHP for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide” book, and I had to decide what version of HTML or XHTML to use. I very strongly considered switching to HTML5, at the very least because HTML5 is so much easier to code (check out the basic syntax of an HTML5 document and compare it with, say, an XHTML 1.0 Transitional one). But I couldn’t in good conscience suggest the reader use something that’s not officially released yet, will work unpredictably on multiple browsers, and could change in any number of ways before the final release comes out. All this is even more true after the bit of a debacle I had trying to use PHP 6 with another book! So the book uses XHTML, as did the previous edition, but clearly HTML5 is the biggest change in Web development since…I dunno…but when HTML5 does officially come out, it will have an impact.

YouTube, one of the most significant players in terms of playing video online, recently weighed in with their thoughts on playing video via Flash vs. HTML5. For those that think all Flash is evil or that HTML5 will replace Flash entirely, this brings an interesting perspective. Which is not to say, of course, that there’s not a sound place for video through HTML5, but as it stands, there are many situations in which Flash will still be the best platform for video.

Safari 5

June 15, 2010

Last week, version 5 of the Safari Web browser was released, for both Windows and Mac OS X. Although Safari doesn’t have a large user base, Apple is becoming more and more significant with Web standards, so I thought I’d look at what the new version of Safari has to offer (Safari is my #2 browser, after Firefox, with about a 65/35 split as to how much I use each). Continue Reading…