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Subject:Would like to use HTML 5 but...
Summary:Lack of support, the problem is Microsoft
Date:2009-07-06 17:04:09
Update:2009-07-06 18:40:55


  1. Would like to use HTML 5 but...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Tatsh Tatsh - 2009-07-06 17:40:48
Really would like to start playing with things like <canvas>, <video> and <audio> but the support just is not there yet in the big browser, IE specifically. If it were, fine. In my opinion, people are not going to just install plug-ins to fix the 'no support' problems even if the site says 'install X and Y to see this page' (typical Windows users).

I love <video> and <audio> support, but I am a little worried about patent threats. Franhauffer still owns the MP3 patent and could sue anyone they want for any reason for using the codec, especially from an unofficial encoder like LAME. My guess is that most people are going to use MP3 at first with <audio> once they discover it, and they will not make an OGG (or another open source format) fallback. Secondly, I am not sure how browsers will implement support for non-native codecs without plug-ins, like an MP3 player plug-in for Firefox. Microsoft is so incredibly slow at implementing features, and I doubt they will want anything else but WMA support in <audio> and WMV support in <video> (guaranteed native support there). They will probably add MP3 support as they already have acquired the licenses for Windows, and IE will support these natively, making IE look best in the browser market overall. On the open source side of things, Firefox and others cannot use LAME or any kind of open source MP3 library because of patents and the licenses (GPL mainly). Opera might license a 100% legal MP3 library, and other closed-source browsers as well. Native OGG support in Windows (anywhere at all) is nothing but a dream.

So we can see that no matter what the W3 does, Microsoft still marches to its own beat. That pattern seems to be release a new browser every year or 2 with new features, rather than include new features with Windows Updates (just security updates which is good, but new features would be better). Microsoft has to sell. If they ever start including free features with updates, people will expect free features forever. They do not want their users to get into this mindset, especially those brainwashed to think Microsoft is the best solution overall for everything (and pay for it too). I do not see how improving the engine for IE is a bad thing through Windows Updates, but apparently Microsoft would rather have the version change by a whole number (or half, in the case of IE5.5).

Old news but Silverlight is to replace Flash. The 'common languages' that many people already know well might just help this A LOT (VB.NET and Visual C# mainly). Flash uses ActionScript and now Flex, both of which are comparable to VB.NET but not greatly.

I hope for native support for all these HTML 5 technologies in IE and other browsers. I love playing with <canvas> and I hope it gets decent text support soon (specifying fonts with CSS and @font-face specifically). <video> is awesome and now that Firefox has native support for Theora it will not be a pain any more as a page loads and Firefox tries to figure out what to play some <object>/<embed> audio/video with. I hope scripted SVG or <canvas> will replace Flash and Silverlight someday soon. I will definitely be playing around with HTML 5 features more as time goes by, but unfortunately I am really going to have to keep it to non-production sites (except BETA pages for users who use Firefox and such), until support in IE is there (natively).

My only question is what is going to happen with XHTML. I hope all these new tags get added to XHTML 1.1 or some revision that is coming soon. Also cannot wait for native XForms support.

  2. Re: Would like to use HTML 5 but...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-07-06 18:40:55 - In reply to message 1 from Tatsh
Yes, while browsers do not implement all these new features, you need to resort to emulation libraries that use existing features.

For Internet Explorer, it seems you can use VML to emulate canvas. Audio and video can be at least partially emulated with Flash and Silverlight.

As for patent encumbered codecs, I understood it would be mainly a problem for browser developers and sites of companies that would make lots of money with media using those formats.

Anyway, I think all browser developers will be pushed to support Ogg format codecs because of sites like Wikipedia that will only allow including video in that format. If the browsers do not support that format, users will switch browsers and browser vendors would not like that.

We all know that Internet Explorer is the dominant browser because of Windows. That is why the European community does not want to allow that Microsoft ships Windows 7 with Internet Explorer as the default browser. Lets see what comes out of that.

It was not mentioned in the article to make it as neutral as possible, but Ian Hickson, a Google engineer of the WHATWG (Web Hypertext Applications Technology WorkGroup) that started the specification of many HTML 5 to be features in 2004, said that they were motivated to work on this because they were scared of Silverlight.

Watch it in the questions and answers section near 01:15:20. You want to start watching a bit earlier to listen some explanations about video formats and codecs.

As for XHTML, XHTML 5 specification is included in HTML 5. DOCTYPE is no longer used to distinguish HTML versions used in the documents. Distinction will be made using the content-type value. ...

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