Flash v HTML5

As part of a new side project (like I didn’t have enough going on), I’m being strongly urged to update and revamp a website.   So far we’ve tried drafting up a mock site with Silverlight only to have it fail to appear on about 90% of our other reviewers’ computers.  And, although I liked the built-in comment editing, we have yet to figure out how to send/export such said comments back to our web guy.  Previously, we’ve dealt with basic HTML/CSS/Javascript sites and have dabbled a bit in Flash.  Given the frequent flogging of Flash, I’m not inclined to pursue such a graphically rich but incredibly buggy software for a site I want to only create once.  Furthermore, optimistically speaking, it’d be nice to have our tech friendly patrons be able to access the site from an iPhone or iPad, as well.  So, what about HTML5….

Well, Wired’s WebMonkey has done a pretty excellent post reviewing the complicated relationship we as developers and users have with both Flash and HTML5.

Key points are:

  • Browsers need to agree on a *single* codec for video file formats and stick with it; currently, the contenders are Ogg, MPEG’s H.264, and possibly also VP8 –>hopefully, it won’t be quite as drawn out of a decision as  VHS vs Beta (I still ❤ my old Beta, all the same) or HD DVD vs Blu-ray
  • IE9 (Internet Explorer) will include HTML5 support….in late 2010/early 2011.  According to the latest statistics at W3 schools, about 33% of people are still using some sort of IE as their web browser.  This would be a HUGE chunk of the population to miss.
  • Since Flash is private, although it may not dominate the video field, it doesn’t have the same slow revision and adoption process that an open standard like HTML5 does.  Therefore, Flash could develop itself into other niche components of the web long before HTML5 can get there.

While this hasn’t exactly cleared the field with one obvious option, at least I make a smart decision based on my imagined client’s needs.  To take a peek at what people have been doing with HTML5 so far here are a few suggestions.

HTML5 is certainly pretty as this Belgian site has been able to create a lovely rolling slideshow of products and TMMD has a nice sleek video and image layout.  Google is pushing the standard quite hard and has even experimented with HTML5 in YouTube (again, could you imagine having a iPhone that couldn’t play YouTube videos?). But, no matter how good the tools are, the graphically design challenged (not that I did much better in my web design class) can still make a webpage ugly.  I’ll keep you updated on the adventure that will be website redesign….

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