Why HTML5 is worth your time

Eric A. Meyer on HTML5's future and the skills developers need to acquire

The debate over HTML5 vs. Flash is great for comments and page views, but all that chatter obscures the bigger issue: Should developers and designers invest in HTML5?

According to Eric A. Meyer, an author and HTML/CSS expert, the answer is a definitive yes. In the following Q&A, Meyer explains why HTML5, CSS and JavaScript are the “classic three” for developers and designers. He also pushes past the HTML5 vs. Flash bombast to offer a rational and much-needed comparison of the toolsets.

HTML5′s feature set

Mac Slocum: How is HTML5 different than HTML as we currently know it?

Eric A. MeyerEric Meyer: It’s really the HTML we’re all used to plus more elements. But that’s the 80/20 answer. HTML5 adds new elements for things like sections of a document and articles, and figures and captions for figures. So it covers things that a lot of us do all the time, like create <div class=”figure”> and then <p class=”caption”> inside of that to go along with an image. Now there’s just an element called “figure” and you insert an image and you have an element after that called “caption.”

There’s been an attempt to look at what people are doing. What class names are people using over and over again? What structures are they setting up over and over again? Because HTML doesn’t have elements that directly address those.

The HTML5 spec also attempts to very precisely and exhaustively describe what browsers should do in pretty much any given circumstance. Older HTML specifications would simply say: “These are the elements. These are the attributes. Here are some basic parsing rules. Here is what you’re supposed to do if you encounter an error.” HTML5 has these really long algorithms that say: “Do this, then this, then this, then this. And if you hit a problem, here, do this other thing.” There’s a lot of debate as to whether that’s even a good idea. But if the vision that’s encoded in those algorithms is brought out — I’m not saying it will be, but if it is, then browsers will be a lot more interoperable.

But that’s the base level answer. As you push further into the more obscure corners, then the answer to “how is HTML5 different?” becomes much more complicated.

MS: Is HTML5 becoming a full-fledged development environment?

EM: I don’t see it stepping forward into full-fledged programming. But I do see it pushing HTML forward so that it’s a better foundation for web apps. That’s one of HTML5′s primary goals. There are sections of it that are devoted solely to how to deal with web application environments.

The thing that’s most directly applicable to making HTML more web-application friendly is the attempt to include what’s known as microdata. That’s semantic information and little snippets of data that can be embedded directly into what we think of as pages right now. But these can become the views a web application presents. It’s the kind of stuff that we put in cookies now.

But HTML is not getting for loops or switch statements. That’s going to stay with JavaScript. In that sense, no, HTML is not becoming a programming language.

What developers and designers need to know about HTML5

MS: What skills do developers need to take full advantage of HTML5?

EM: Developers need to know HTML5. They need to know JavaScript and they need to know CSS. That’s the classic three.

MS: How about designers?

EM: Designers need to know mark-up. They need to know HTML5. They need to be able to write CSS and understand web layout. And they need to have at least a decent grasp of what JavaScript does. I don’t necessarily insist that everyone who ever touches the web be able to write their own web app by hand, but designers should understand how JavaScript works.

There are a lot of people who call themselves web designers who are really just designers who put their designs on the web. And there’s nothing wrong with being just a designer. But they’re not necessarily web designers. They’re visual designers. There’s a difference.

MS: Would you recommend starting with web development skills and then adding Flash and others later?

Yeah. Make that your grounding and then add things to it if you like. You’re making a very dangerous bet to not have web tools at your disposal. The developer should be able to do web work. And it’s not a bad idea to add Flash to the tool belt.

HTML5 vs. Flash: A rational comparison

MS: Without getting into the “Flash killer” stuff, how does HTML5 compare to Flash?

EM: HTML5 itself and Flash are vastly different. They have different things that they’re trying to do. But the HTML5 plus CSS plus JavaScript package is more. I think that’s an easier comparison to make to Flash because Flash is supposed to be this total environment. You can put things on the screen and you can script it and you can define interaction. And HTML5-CSS-JavaScript lets you do that as well.

We got to the point a couple of years ago where the HTML-CSS-JavaScript stack can technically do just about anything that the Flash environment makes possible. It’s just a lot harder at the moment to do that in HTML5-CSS-JavaScript because Flash has about a decade’s head start on authoring environments.

There are a number of people, myself included, who have been observing for a while now that the current web stack feels like Flash did in 1996. Look at the canvas demos, for example. The canvas demos we’re seeing now are totally reminiscent of the Flash demos we used to see in the ’96 era, where it was like: “Hey, look! I have three circles and you can grab one with a mouse and flick it. And then it bounces around the box and there’s physics and collision and animation and they’re blobby and woo hoo.”

MS: What’s your take on plugins? Are they inherently inelegant?

EM: That’s been my feeling for a long time. That any plug-in is kind of inelegant and the wrong way to be going about this. And I don’t reserve that just for Flash. I really mean any plug-in. The fact that we need plug-ins to play movies has never felt right.

MS: If, for a given application, HTML5 and Flash can provide the same result, why would a developer go with HTML5? What’s the motivation?

EM: HTML5 is native to the medium. It’s the feeling that if we’re going to do web stuff, let’s do web stuff. Let’s not do Flash stuff that happens to be represented in a web page. So I think that’s the philosophical drive.

The technical drive, to a large degree, is that companies don’t want to be beholden to somebody else. And doing everything in Flash means that they’re effectively beholden to Adobe. With web technologies, the only entity that can reasonably be said to hold the keys to the kingdom is the W3C. And even if the W3C for some reason turned into “evil goatee Spock” tomorrow and said “we want licensing fees,” everyone would go, “yeah, no.”

HTML5 and mobile applications

MS: Does HTML5 give mobile developers more latitude? Is there benefit in developing applications outside Apple’s approval process?

EM: Absolutely. No question. There are some people who have argued that the whole App Store phase is a fad. Granted, a very popular and lucrative and probably long-lived fad, but that it’s still a fad.

The argument is that 10 years from now we’re going to look back at rebuilding apps for every mobile device and go “What the hell were we thinking?” It’s the same way kids who graduate from decent web development programs today don’t understand why anyone ever tried to layout a page with tables. I’ve had conversations with people who literally just can’t understand. Even when you explain, “Well, there was no CSS.” They’re like, “But surely there was something better because that’s just awful.”

Betting against the web is the sure losing bet of technology. Over the long-term, that’s where I see things going.

Note: This interview was condensed and edited.

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  • polyGeek

    The argument that all plugins are inelegant because HTML/CSS/JS are built into a browser is crap. A Browser and a HTML Rendering Engine are two different things. And they never should have been tied together. It was just lazy development in the beginning when the first browsers were made that started this tradition. Wouldn’t it be great if we could switch rendering engines on the fly?

    And by that argument it would be easy to make a browser that had the Flash Player built in and then let the user add on rendering engines. Unfortunately rendering engines aren’t built around the concept of being plugged in.

    I used to be a JS wizard. Loved it. Then everything started breaking across browsers. Now it’s an absolute mess. And when new features are added it’s years – like a decade – before they can reliably be used for the public. I switched to Flash and never looked back. It’s just simply a superior method of creating content in every way to HTML.

  • Stefan Richter

    I agree with polyGeek. I don’t think the tradition of plugins filling the gaps that are left by HTML/CSS/JS will go away. We all welcome HTML5 and it will be great for certain things, but technology won’t stand still and web standards aren’t sufficient by themselves, nor at they superior just because they are standardised. It takes technologies that can move at a much quicker pace to satisfy the needs and expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s web users.

  • Thierry

    Flash seems like a hack to me, but as you say it delivers what HTML4/CSS2/JS cannot deliver.

    The thing is that when HTML5/CSS3/JS will be able to match what Flash does today, Flash will be offering things we don’t even think of yet (imho).

    In any case, I think there is a use for every tool out there as long as it creates documents that are accessible and delivers a great user experience.

  • Scott Walker

    If this page was created in HTML 5 would I be able to print it? Even the “Print” button won’t create more than one printable content page.

  • Tom

    ” I don’t see it stepping forward into full-fledged programming.”
    I’m not so sure – with editors like fckeditor for HTML, I’ve written a (simple) javascript editor in javascript and looking at things like firebug, and svga with JIT engines all the ingredients are there – its just a question of time and commitment and one could easily make and HTML5 IDE

    Scott – printing? Isnt that a failure in good page/document design?

  • Matthew Fabb

    “We got to the point a couple of years ago where the HTML-CSS-JavaScript stack can technically do just about anything that the Flash environment makes possible.”

    Says someone who obviously hasn’t used Flash for a number of years. Tech writers, when doing such articles, please go to a Flash developer to confirm this kind of information. Most HTML/JS/CSS developers simply aren’t up to date in the latest advances in Flash.

    There’s an example of a few things that Flash can do that HTML5 spec can’t do:
    - Access the webcame or microphone
    - Peer-to-peer transfer (files, video and audio)
    - Full control over text (the Flash Player 10 text engine is comparable to desktop publishing software with complete control over how the text is laid out)
    - bitmap filters using PixelBender, similar to Photoshop filters (Adobe is actually making new Photoshop filters using PixelBender)

    “The technical drive, to a large degree, is that companies don’t want to be beholden to somebody else. And doing everything in Flash means that they’re effectively beholden to Adobe. With web technologies, the only entity that can reasonably be said to hold the keys to the kingdom is the W3C.”

    Only browser vendors don’t always pay attention to the W3C standards. Forget HTML5, none of the browsers completely support the HTML 4.01 spec:
    http://www.webdevout.net/browser-support-html
    With Flash you are only beholden to Adobe, with the HTML you are beholden to Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and any other company who releases a browser and gets enough market share. Example, Microsoft who’s the one holding back on HTML5 support could make or break any HTML5 on whether or not they support a specific tag in Internet Explorer and how well they support it.

    Now for the main question, should web developers or designers learn HTML5? Sure, but you aren’t likely to use any of those skills in commercial projects for a couple of years. Because depending on what HTML5 features you are using, you might be reaching 30% to 40% of users. Until over 90% of users have browsers support HTML5, you aren’t going to see a big push for using it in commercial projects (outside of Google). The exception to this, is the video tag, which is getting some use as a fall back for Flash, mainly for mobile devices that don’t have Flash.

    There’s the possibility of using HTML5 for websites targeting mobile devices, but it seems most companies rather re-use code from the desktop version of their website. Also from what I’ve seen the majority of companies seem more interested in making native applications rather than mobile versions of their website.

  • Keith Stiles

    The whole issue of printing an HTML page is really already a resolved issue. Building a print CSS allows you to take a web page in HTML and fix it up for a print version. Now if you’re going for the true complexity of a lot of print documents, inelegant or not, Adobe PDF is hands down a better approach.

  • John Dowdell

    “The debate over HTML5 vs. Flash is great for comments and page views, but all that chatter obscures the bigger issue: Should developers and designers invest in HTML5?”

    The flip side would hold true then too… people investing their time in HTML development owe it to themselves to look into Flex, and using XML in a text editor, to achieve better results, faster, across a wider range of environments, cheaper.

    “We got to the point a couple of years ago where the HTML-CSS-JavaScript stack can technically do just about anything that the Flash environment makes possible. It’s just a lot harder at the moment to do that in HTML5-CSS-JavaScript because Flash has about a decade’s head start on authoring environments.”

    That’s a popular falsehood. It points out how people opining about in-browser development need to get a more realistic understanding of the subject.

    With all this in-browser work, you’re writing instructions in some text language, and then running those instructions in different local runtimes: the Microsoft HTML runtime, the Mozilla HTML runtime, the Google HTML runtime, the Apple HTML runtime, *and* the Opera HTML runtime — or in the Adobe SWF runtime which works the same within all these different brands and versions of browsers.

    jd/adobe

  • fta

    The whole issue of printing an HTML page is really already a resolved issue.FTA

  • Thierry

    “With all this in-browser work, you’re writing instructions in some text language, and then running those instructions in different local runtimes: the Microsoft HTML runtime, the Mozilla HTML runtime, the Google HTML runtime, the Apple HTML runtime, *and* the Opera HTML runtime — or in the Adobe SWF runtime which works the same within all these different brands and versions of browsers.”

    I think an important piece is left out here: in UAs that do not support Flash (or do not run the “right version”), it does not work at all.

  • Don Marti

    The big problem for Flash-less video sites right now is that every single copy of Flash plays the same Flash videos, but the HTML5 browsers don’t all support a common video codec.

    http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/decoding-the-html-5-video-codec-debate.ars

  • Paulius Uza, InRuntime Ltd.

    HTML + JS + CSS being superior to Flash is nonsense.

    Aside from object rendering and scripting Flash provides access to API’s that are not exposed to the browser (microphone, webcam, multitouch, sound, etc.). It’s also highly portable across operating systems and devices (iPhone and soon Android).

    Best of all, I can rest assured that my content plays without bugs and looks / behaves the same on all platforms.

    I work with both technologies everyday and I would choose Flash over HTML5 anytime.

  • Benny Vluggen

    The reason our company switched to Flash many years ago is because of two reasons: customers asking for things that couldn’t be achieved by HTML/JS/CSS and the madness brought upon by the various render en scripting engines which was solved by the cross browser rendering/scripting of Flash.

    Both reasons still stand today.

    But still we never liked to be forced to use a plugin to meet our customers needs and budgets.

    What would be the perfect solution in our opinion?

    Just like polyGeek above already mentions; the separation of browsers and rendering/scripting engines. There should be a standardized way the engines communicate with the browser. Each browser would support any engine. So Firefox would be able to run the Chrome engine or the Flash engine for example. A designer/developer could then target a specific engine, e.g. the MSIE engine or the Flash engine, without having to worry about if and how his work would be rendered, as intended or not, in the various (current and future) browsers.

    One problem that the HTML5/JS/CSS stack brings is the fact the it will require NON STANDARDIZED javascript libraries to do the actual Flash ‘killing’ stuff, like animations.

    I am curious how the people who like to see plug-ins leave the web-battle-field because of them not being backed by an ‘open standard’ think about the non (open) standard JS libs that will replace the plug-in VM’s?

  • Arunabh Das

    I would go with HTML5 over Flash anyday and I’m not just saying that because Flash 9 won’t install on my Powerbook G4 running Panther. – Arunabh Das

  • Pete Dawg

    According to http://validator.w3.org/
    this web page has 132 errors and 15 warnings. Should we focus on the here and now first?
    Happy St. Patricks day!

  • Sekhar Ravinutala

    @PolyGeek The reason plugins aren’t great is because they don’t integrate/interact well with the browser like native stuff does. E.g., you can’t even do a simple search for text in a Flash page with Ctrl+F.

    And the second (bigger) issue is that the plugin introduces another standard to follow. I’m not talking about replaceable engines that all render HTML/CSS/JavaScript, but stuff like Flash. Everyone can follow one HTML standard/spec vs. HTML/Flash/SilverLight/JavaFX/whatever.

    I’ve been a big supporter of Flash/Flex and still believe Flash’s single biggest advantage for developers is not so much in the widgets/cool stuff, but in the fact that you develop once, and you’re done – no need to test it on a million browsers or mess with JavaScript. The problem for Flash comes in one word: mobile. There just isn’t any support for mobile – heck, even my Android phone (MyTouch) doesn’t support it, forget about iPhone/iPad.

    I’ve now more or less switched to HTML/CSS/JavaScript for mobile mainly. And with GWT (Google Web Toolkit) because it’s a fantastic environment for developing with HTML/CSS/JavaScript, with the goodness of Java and without the usual hassle (at least not as much hassle) of messing with JavaScript and multiple browsers.

  • Muzi

    Change is good, therefore we must embrace HTML5 instead of squashing it. It will become an awesome technology once we all contribute to making it better. yes Flash is great, I’ve seen awesome websites done in Flash, I’ve used Flash but being a Developer I prefer coding. Maybe its because I’m not good at flash but I’m not a hater too, in fact when I was still a junior developer i always used flash for websites I developed.

    To me HTML5 sounds promising because it offers more functionality but still using the main things in Web creation HTML/CSS/JS.

    I would like to see HTML5 being supported by the Development community and working with WC3 to making it a great foundation for websites & web apps.

    We need to get rid of this mentality of squashing technology which has a potential of surpassing the current technology we have. How are we ever going to move forward if we keep looking back?

    Think about it look at Oil companies they have also done the same with technologies that were better and look were we are now? still burning fossil fuels when we could using zero point energy!

    HTML5 is here to stay and we should embrace it!!!

  • Paul

    How about intellectual property protection? I don’t see that HTML5 includes the ability to package a set of javascript, html, css and image files and at least make them more difficult to decompile. Developers use Flash because of its runtime performance, portability across browsers and OSs, rich set of opensource libraries, and the ability to obfuscate the code. What develpment platform would you choose for your richly interactive online game?

    @Muzi, you can code the heck out of javascript or actionscript; no designers needed. Take a look at FlashDevelop and Flex Builder.

    Paul

  • Pat

    Don Marti mentions the issue I have…what codec is going to be standardized in the browsers? The internet browser was never intended for rich internet applications/HTML + JS + CSS. Its a coding nightmare. Debugging this hacking garbage is a crazy mess. Ideally we would have interchangable rendering engines and communication protocols in a pluggable browser like application that would allow the end user to select the most efficient mechanism for usability. Silverlight and Flash are on the right path in providing consistant programming standards and rich user interfaces demanded by the marketplace. HTML 5 is moving forward on a broken path.

  • Alex

    None of the points mentioned are solid.

    Author is simply bias towards HTML5. I wonder if he really know what Flash can do today or is he still stuck with the Flash 5 days?

  • Eric Meyer

    I’m fascinated by all the saying I claimed HTML+CSS+JS is a complete replacement for Flash. I said, to quote myself, “…technically do just about anything…”. As in, just about, but not quite, everything. Yes, that’s really how I meant it. I’m aware that Flash can do things HTML can’t. The converse is also true, of course.

    And John, your retort implying that my points are wrongheaded because if Flash folks should learn the web stack then web stack people should learn Flash (Flex) is interesting since I said, and again I quote, “it’s not a bad idea to add Flash to the tool belt”.

    Flex offers a powerful authoring environment, and that’s the biggest thing the web stack is missing right now. It’ll get there, and in fact I’d be very surprised if Adobe, with all its experience in creating powerful authoring environments, doesn’t play a central role.

    The whole topic of Flash and HTML is so interesting to me because it’s so polarizing, and I really can’t figure out why. But on the flip side, I understand why interviewers ask about it: they know getting answers will drive traffic.

    Still, there is hope that we’ll eventually grow out of it. I think Dan Mall said it best: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/flashstandards/

  • Rick

    Until browsers get a real, standard virtual machine, HTMLx will never kill Silverlight or Flash.

  • Matt McLoughlin

    Eric,

    first of all thank you for bringing to light this debate.

    In regards to your comment: “the whole topic of Flash and HTML is so interesting to me because it’s so polarizing, and I really can’t figure out why.”

    Let’s first make the assumption that both of these technologies can make the same quality end-product. For the sake of argument let’s assume their end-results are the same. I think the reason why it’s so polarizing, is that a technology expert will recommend using the technologies they are most competent at for any work that they do. When pressed from management to justify their choice of technologies, they must present their technology of choice in the best light possible, while highlighting the competing technologies weaknesses at the same time. This is done in an effort to secure their value and role in the project. I think it is precisely this reason why we see raging debate on both sides. “Experts” will speak to the contrary but we must question their obvious bias and conflicts of interest when joining these debates.

    Another reason I find people defend their technology of choice is simply because that’s what they are used to. For example I’m a C# .NET guy and have been for a few years. I’ve read countless book on .NET and the CLR. As a result, I have many positive things to say about these technologies and really only negative things to say about J2EE out of pure ignorance and naivety, but at least I can admit my bias!

  • Web Developer

    Everyone here arguing for flash are taking a defensive stance. I ask what are they defending against?

    Everyone here arguing for HTML/CSS/JavaScript are doing the same. What are they defending?

    The truth is flash is better for programming an enhanced user interface.

    It is also the truth that if you want to make your flash apps visible to the world (i.e. search-able by robots and therefore people) you must make additional efforts. Where as this is inherently part of HTML/CSS/JavaScript.

  • Darin

    Those who purport that flash is some savior and that HTML5 will bring browser-specific code/layouts are what HTML5 are, themselves, uninformed. Just because flash/silverlight/whatever provides a standardized platform doesn’t mean it works consistently. I’d rather write an application knowing the the impression of my site (its content, the interactivity with the user, and other aesthetic features) will be appreciated and communicated with every single user visiting my site (whereas you gotta get lucky using flash: does the OS even support it? oh it does? do they have the right version? better send them to some other page to download this tool, which they need to install, go through the UAC/security, etc…not a very pleasant user experience, especially from a mobile device).

    The concept of writing HTML/CSS/JavaScript for a specific browser has been feax pas for as long as all these new amazing interface options flash has brought to the table, so at worst, both sides are guilty of not keeping up w/the other. Does a separate platform such as flash eliminate this concern? Yes, and its one of the only things it has going for it, imo. For those that dont care about accessibility, Flash could very well be a good solution, but take a screen reader to a flash app and lets see how they measure up (oh wait, flash just upgraded, i have to wait for my screen reader to become compatible…). I dont think flash is 100% dead as some seem to suggest, but i think its becoming more and more a fringe technology as the HTML5 standard develops. Those that suggest HTML5 is a step backward are like apple freaks who pre-purchased the ipad…

  • John Dowdell

    Eric, sorry I’m “wrongheaded”… such certainly wasn’t my intent when pointing out that the title of this piece could apply as well or better to Flex. ;-)

    (Why “better”? Let’s see what the W3C’s eventual Recommendation turns out to be, and how it then is implemented by the competing browser vendors.)

    Thierry: It’s hard to get the Apple HTML runtime on Linux, the Microsoft HTML runtime anywhere else, the Google HTML runtime with identical capabilities across operating systems, etc… the Adobe Flash SWF runtime does give a single engine with advanced capabilities predictably running across the greatest range of configurations.

    Sekhar: Wouldn’t it be nice if browsers opened up their “Find In Page” to plugins? There’s been progress lately on “Privacy Mode”, so there’s hope. Seems faster than re-proprietarizing rich displays into their own stacks…. ;-)

    jd/adobe

  • Eric Meyer

    This just reinforces the point I was making about not reading what I actually said (or wrote), John: I did not, repeat NOT, call you “wrongheaded”.

  • AhHatem

    1. HTML5 is supporting the mic and camera, it is not done yet, but they are currently working on it…

    2. Flash is currently a lot easier mainly because it has has a lot better tools, HTML5 vs Flash debate concerning animations should not be discussed for a some time, I mean until the browsers support fully support it, and enough tools appear.
    I think on the long term they will be very similar, but that won’t happen for many years.

    3. Flash developers and Adobe always claims that it is fast, I personally don’t think so, it has always been slower (except with IE of course) native apps always *feel* faster.

    4. I believe Flash and flex need to merge into something consistent for designers and developers work. Currently using flash with real dev is very hard.

    5. GWT is really really really great, without it, I would have gone with flash a looooong ago… If you didn’t try it yet, I really suggest you do.

  • bowerbird

    a pox on all your houses…

    it’s now time to fire all the techo-bureaucrats who have
    mucked up .html so badly, and start over from scratch.

    and adobe should be shot and put out of its misery…

    -bowerbird

  • lep

    Wow, what a great thread.

    As both a former Macromedian back in the flash 4,5,6 days and former Yahoo! (a massive corporate champion of standards), I love watching the head to head battle for hearts and minds.

    IMHO, HTML and standards based development is superior for websites, simply because of accessibility and openness. An open agreed-upon standard will beat out proprietary enironments, despite differing implementations. It’s simply more democratic, and will become what developers need (maybe not as quickly as we would like :).

    That being said, there is no possible way that the Web would be as rich as it is without the innovation of flash. Having been created outside of the standards, there is a very long list of games, content, and sites that have enriched us.

    Without Flash, the Web would be a very different landscape, however the hostile environment of mobile, the competition from silverlight, and the emergence of stronger browser native video support, could signal a wane in the importance of Flash content.

    John, I know you have something amazing up your sleeve ;) can’t wait to see it.

  • simonjohnroberts

    Oddly, I have always avoided using flash.

    Choosing to deliver what was available without plugins.

    And yes, I remember laying out with tables.

    I embrace the HTML5 development and agree that a well thought out toolset could turn the HtmlJsCss combo into something as easily digested as flash.

    I’m playing with silverlight now since it’s introduction of c# support.

    I never missed using flash.
    seems like now perhaps I didnt miss much after all.

    For the record:
    I am an Adobe Certifed Expert web developer

  • simonjohnroberts

    heh, and a MacroMedia Certified expert.

    Yes, that old. :)

  • Jason Smith

    Odd that no one seems to be aware of the integration of SVG into HTML5. This lets you script vector graphics right in the web page, intermixed with HTML (yeah, the pieces can overlap on the page), and scriptable using JavaScript. This is already fully supported on Opera (*very* fast – uses your 3D card’s GPU), Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. IE is quite late to the party. If Microsoft weren’t so far behind, we’d already all be developing much cooler apps. Unfortunately, they have the market share.

  • Jedi Web Master

    Eric Meyer is a true CSS master and always has a quality view and opinion when it comes to web related topics. This article has further proved that point.

  • gkay

    lunascape gives you that freedom of selecting which engine you want

  • http://beta.profeval.com Derrick

    HTML alone has been around for a while, and all major browsers are “almost” to the point of rendering it the same way (not to mention JavaScript). I’ve read books authored by Eric that mention various CSS hacks to get things to look the same in x browser vs y browser. Do we really want to go through that all over again? HTML5 is more complex than previous version of HTML by a large margin. It seems to have taken a leap in terms of what it actually defines. We not only have a “canvas” tag, we now have specific details of “how” JavaScript interacts with it, at a per pixel level.

    Also, keep in mind that several technologies that are not included – yet are often munged with HTML5 – are not HTML5. WebGL, for example. People see 3D graphics in the browser, and think “wow, this HTML5 thing is awesome!”. Is that “really” HTML5? OpenGL is a very nice, mature technology that has been around for 20 years. What’s upsetting is that it’s just now making it into the web browser.

    That said, I’m a Flex/Flash developer who hopes that HTML5 and its accompanying technologies succeed. I’m all for using the best tool for the job. Right now, HTML5/JavaScript/CSS/Canvas, to me, are not the best tool for the job.

  • Mick Lehr

    Table designs are still great for displaying tabular data in a website.

  • Mick Lehr

    Flash still has advanced features that are inherent in the authoring which put it far ahead of HTML5.

  • Mick Lehr

    This site has had server problems……that is why I get double postings. It isn’t intentional

  • Pedro Abreu

    The biggest problem as far I see it is in javascript. Developing using a prototype language is way slower (and boring) than with an OOP language like actionscript, c# or java.

  • Antony Test

    hi,

    your explanations and suggestions are very much helpful to me.

    I wish to get touch with you to improve my skills by the way of getting clarification from you.

    Thanks.