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Sep
22
2012

Can HTML5 be a game changer for the IT/Multimedia Business?

HTML5Now I am a believer!

Few years back I have heard this story about how fancy animations, audio, video content playback all possible directly on the browser through HTML5 instead of consumers needing to have flash or similar plug-ins in their computers. At first, I could not believe that flash’s future is in risk or at least I could not imagine a world without flash contents.

When I look at the world around me today, HTML5 emerged everywhere. I have never seen the adoption of a new technology so fast, so strong; I have never seen such pro-activeness/fear/caution from the organizations to ensure they are not left behind the race.

The tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. are so curious to contribute for the development of HTML5 for various reasons and with one common objective ??- bring down the dominance of ??’Adobe Flash’ on the web. Of course, that’s not an easy job. Flash has been dominating the web more than a decade. Flash has also opened up the window for publishing unlimited video content on web. Not to forget, the great success of Youtube, Netflix, Dailymotion and 1000’s of other video platforms wouldn’t have succeeded without flash in their earlier days.

The potential of HTML5 combining the power of these tech giants just was enough to bring down the flash really? I don’t think so; it is also the support from tech world – ??techies, developers, consumers’ ??interest and more importantly the iPad! All credit goes to the great Steve jobs for introducing the era of tablets. Even though he has changed the tech world in so many ways, I have always wondered how just one post from him (Thoughts on Flash) has made such a large damage to the flash platform as a whole.

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Poor Adobe!

I would also like to talk a little bit about Adobe’s stance. Adobe obviously saw a big potential for Flash when they have acquired macromedia. But after they took over flash, they were just attempting too many things in so many ways and tried to produce (push!) a big ‘flash platform’ into the tech and consumer world. I clearly remember few years back at some point, I have just lost track of how many flash based products and versions out there; Flash, Captivate, Flex, Catalyst etc. I wouldn’t have surprised if adobe have attempted to come up with a Flash based operating system in their product line! I am sure Adobe was trying to be too aggressive about the whole flash platform idea and I would say they were a bit over confident about their success trusting their underlying dominance.

Even after Steve Job’s public comments on flash, I am sure Adobe would not have foreseen the level of damage for the flash platform as a whole; poor Adobe! They have realized the fact a little late and before all is over for flash they suddenly woke up and now trying to come up with new HTML5 products and started contributing to the HTML5 platform forcefully (!).

I would also like to mention about Silverlight here, Microsoft has invented Silverlight obviously to compete with Flash in one aspect and also envisioned about better integration with their .Net platform for applications development. Silverlight obviously started picking up to some extend and started gaining the market place against flash as well. Obviously the emergence of HTML5 have impact on Silverlight’s growth as well because at the end of the day it is also a plug-in for the browser. However Silverlight was fairly a new avenue for Microsoft and I think obviously more time was needed for Silverlight to become one of Microsoft’s focus businesses.

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Damn you all Plug-ins!

Of course the web deserves to be a better place without plug-ins. Why in the world I would rely on plug-ins, their damn versions, security concerns, patches etc. when the browser is capable doing a lot of magic of its own. Half of my carrier I have been fighting with these plug-in issues, not just flash, JVM, Silverlight and more. The world of plug-ins is a mess and requires constant attention. Even though I and millions of other developers out there living by making money of this mess, most of them (including me) wish for a new dawn where they could get rid of plug-ins mess and focus on producing something better for their customers more efficiently.

Keeping aside this plug-ins frenzy, let’s look at some real facts about HTML5.

First of all, flash was only meant for animations at earlier stages and later brought into the world of applications; it was a very long road for flash. In other words, flash’s initial success was hugely supported by the Multimedia and E-learning industry rather than application development.

But when it comes to HTML5 platform, all of tech/web world making the most of its potential. ??Be it video, audio, animations, applications, gaming the list is going to be very long. It’s core strength is its ability to produce amazing web content and rich applications.

In one side, tablet app developers are breathing in HTML5, all other web/multimedia developers trying to produce hybrid web sites/applications/content to make them work in as many as platforms possible. On the other side the corporate and businesses going crazy about the ‘apps’ frenzy. Everybody some or other way tries to make the most of HTML5 platform.

Even though the technology is not yet standardized the HTML5 penetration seen into all tech-segments very strongly. Let’s take some cases.

 

HTML5 and E-learning Industry

The leading Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Plateau (SuccessFactors LMS) already started introducing iPad Apps so that people can host the courses in the LMS and consume from iPads. But on a downside Plateau (SuccessFactors LMS) and many other leading LMSs built with Java plug-in dependency which obviously not supported by iPads. So their apps have got limitations with iPad. Hopefully they will overcome this issue in their newer versions.

The e-learning industry also trying to replace the traditional SCORM protocol with modern Tin Can API and one of the primary objectives seems to be tracking the learning from anywhere (any platform including tablets). The industry transformation towards mobility and HTML5 obviously feels to be the main driving factor behind this initiative.

The notable tools like Articulate E-learning Studio now got a new form called Storyline which is capable of producing e-learning courses in HTML5, iOS along with Flash. Smart move! I am sure almost all other e-learning course publishers are gearing up to produce HTML5 output or already achieved to some extent.

 

HTML5 and Animation Industry

Fusion Charts, my favourite charting components package which can be integrated into most web platforms, now available in JavaScript format in addition to Flash.

Adobe is about to come up with a new tool called Edge Animate which has got an interface like Flash Professional but capable of producing complete HTML5 output. Adobe is also trying to introduce HTML5 compatibility with their other products as well wherever possible. For example, their newer version of Captivate already capable of producing HTML5 format simulations.

 

HTML5 and Server Side

Leading tools like Microsoft Visual Studio already compatible to produce HTML5 content and this IDE has also became very friendly to make the most of jQuery as well. Many of the the popular server side development segments such as .Net, PHP, Perl etc. already making use of using HTML5 features. I am sure Java platform also gearing up for the transformation. We will have to keep in mind that the server-side programming community is a big pie of the entire developers community of the world.

 

HTML5 and Video Websites

Youtube already have a HTML5 version of their application. As I write this post, I hear Netflix is also trying to introduce HTML5 version of their application. I am sure others will follow sooner or later.

 

What’s in the plate for future?

These cases are very few obvious examples to prove that the industry already transitioned more or less. Now it’s just a matter of time for the entire HTML5 platform to mature and replace the world of plug-ins from foundation. I am thoroughly enjoying this transition as a developer, consumer, business man and hopefully one day you will enjoy it too if not already!

 

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