HTML5 empire is coming

by Kamil Stachowicz on 5th January 2012

Html5 empire

The IT Market is amazing. Even when starting a college, you never know what to expect when you finish it. Which technology will be the most popular? What kind of knowledge will give you the opportunity to find a job quickly and easily? You have to stay up-to-date even if you were believing in something else. Look at the recent changes…

How fast can the web king change?

I remember when a few years ago Flash technology reigned the Internet. Billions of time-consuming mini-games and thousands of webpages were designed in it. I remember the need to install additional plugins to smoothly browse the Internet. Who would have thought that the king will die? Okay, that was certain, but who would have thought that it would happen so quickly? There was supposed to be the Flash vs. Silverlight war. However, before Adobe and Microsoft crossed the swords for good, HTML5 appeared.

And since then, nothing is the same!

Neither Microsoft, nor Google and Mozilla are preparing any alternative

Some time ago I wrote that despite the concerns of Silverlight’s death, it is holding on pretty well. It is still the main platform for creating Windows Phone system applications. Additionally, the Windows 8′s support should extend its life by several years. But this does not exclude the fact that we are now entering the era of HTML5/CSS3/JS. Just look at Google’s offers in its Chrome Web Store (web apps for Chrome browser and Chrome OS). Clearly, Mozilla is heading the same direction. Microsoft has also begun threatening web applications, almost in the same manner, with the desktop ones. Just look at the Internet Explorer 9′s pinning sites to the taskbar feature.

In a moment we won’t see the difference between web and desktop applications (apparently Windows Store app in Windows 8 has been created using HTML5 technology).

Let’s face it – despite the fact that HTML5 is not ready yet, it’s already a part of our lives.

Small HTML5’s steps to domination

Recently my attention was attracted by another milestone made by HTML5/CSS3/JS developers. I mean the first 3D game written entirely using those three technologies. If you have a Google+ account you can play it here: click . This is not a simple mini-game. It’s actually a full (multiplayer) game with tens of cars and roads. So, the question arises whether Flash still has got a weapon to fight with the competitors? It probably hasn’t, at least not according to Adobe’s new fascinations demo. Has Adobe surrendered?

Use HTML5 to build native mobile apps

What about the mobile market? You might be interested in the PhoneGap framework that allows you to build cross-platform mobile apps using HTML5/Javascript. What is most important – it gives you access to native mobile phone functionalities. Look at the picture below showing the supported features. 

PhoneGap 

Applications written in PhoneGap naturally run slower than those written for example in Silverlight for WP7 or Objective-C for iOS – but well, it is a price we are willing to pay for the multi platform development, aren’t we?

The new Emperor is here

We can see, that the BIG THREE (HTML5/CSS3/JAVASCRIPT) have already started building their empire across the platforms. Web apps/Desktop apps/Mobile apps/Games, HTML5 is everywhere already! A few years ago nobody could have predicted that invasion. What is the future of IT? Will HTML5 dominate our lives? The history has shown that nothing is as certain as it seems .

And what do you think? Have you expected those changes? Was it easy for you to choose your technology? Is there something that might be able to defeat the emperor? Share your thoughts below!

  • http://twitter.com/clintonbegin Clinton Begin

    The lack of understanding of both Flash and HTML5 is absolutely shocking.  It’s clear that blogs like this are written by people who know neither technology with any depth.   This article in particular gets a number of things wrong, including the date when the spec is supposed to be finalized (2022), and the fact that iOS absolutely does not support Media tags fully or properly. That table is an oversimplification and has no sense of HOW those features are supported and doesn’t respect the inconsistencies.  There is no single audio or video type that will satisfy all browsers at the moment.  And that’s not likely to change soon.  Double up on your server disk space, you’ll need it.

    HTML5 isn’t even remotely close to Flash.  There are massive problems with performance, formats, inconsistencies and capabilities.  HTML5 Canvas on Android?  5 frames per second.  HTML5 on iOS?  No audio suitable for games.  HTML5 on the desktop?  Not too bad, but Flash works there too.  API quality?   Check the video tag canPlayFormat() method… returns “”, “maybe” or “probably”… there is no “yes” or “no”.  It’s like they’re designing it to suck.  Plus the fact that HTML5 is no longer guaranteed to be well formed XML makes it harder to parse and rolls back the clock to the day when closing tags was optional (and browser rendering inconsistencies were even worse).  And BTW: WebGL isn’t part of HTML5.  It’s a separate spec.

    Mad because a crappily written Flash app crashed your browser once?  Well guess what!  HTML5 will crash your browser too, especially when all of the same capabilities are implemented 12 different ways by various browser makers and they need to access your video card to get higher than 5fps in the canvas.  These people have no idea what they’re looking forward to, because they either didn’t use computers in the 90s, or they have forgotten what that was like — and is still like today.  There’s no consistency with HTML4, CSS2 and JavaScript today… why does anyone think the number 5 will change that?

    Think I’m wrong?  Why not head over to InfoQ and watch the presentation on Google and Rovio implementing Angry Birds in HTML5.  Two billion dollar companies – including one responsible for the Chrome browser and Android OS — couldn’t get it to work on ANY mobile device, including Android and iOS.  And on the desktop for Audio they had to fall back to … FLASH.  While you’re there, try the HTML5 Angry Birds game *specificallly made for Chrome* on the Chrome browser on a Mac… yeah, back to 5 frames per second… a game specifically made for that browser is practically unplayable in that browser on a different operating system. 

    And we’re supposed to bet on the “Big Three” to work together?  I’ll leave Mozilla out of it.  But let me tell you a little secret:  Microsoft, Google and Apple HATE HTML5 just as much as they hated Java and Flash.  And they hate each other even more.  Anything that allows for competitive cross platform solutions that invalidates their proprietary platform will not be supported the way you think it will be.  Even Google is building in custom extensions to Chrome that allow apps to only work in Chrome… (google “Chrome is the new IE6″.  

    I am not buying it.  Not one bit.  Adobe is probably sitting back laughing, knowing full well that the pendulum will snap back very quick, once people realize what they wished for, and the consequences.

    HTML5:  I need 3 browsers to make sure everything works right… but at least I don’t have to have one plug-in.

  • http://twitter.com/kstachowicz Kamil Stachowicz

    Hi Clinton,

    Thank you for your comment, but I feel, you haven’t fully read the post and understood its message. It doesn’t dispute the performance of HTML5. I realize, that the specification is not yet finished and that the browsers have a lot to catch up and implement. It doesn’t change the fact that sooner or later everything will work as it should. You’re saying that html5 will not be ready before 2022? The W3C consortium has changed the date itself to 2014 (http://www.w3.org/2011/02/htmlwg-pr.html ). A drawing included comes from the official website phonegap.com. 

    Do you think that Adobe believes in flash? I have read a lot of information that this is untrue, for example here: http://www.bitsandbuzz.com/article/adobe-quits-flash-goes-full-html5/ 

    You are right in many aspects, but you have to sit back tight and get the conclusion of the post, read all the links and browse the internet. Html5/css3/js have already entered into common use. Internet is full of applications written it those three (I mean applications). The lack of support for flash by Apple and soon Microsoft (IE10 for Metro) even more prejudge its exit from the market. 

  • http://twitter.com/aidanmack aidanmack

    meh not sure why I’m  switching languages… just feel like I have too because everyone else is…
    I still dont understand why?I could still build an awesome site in flash…  I could still build an awesome phone app in flash…But instead I have chosen to use Corona to build apps… Its nice but I could of built stuff quicker in flash and with alot less trouble. And thats not for lack of understanding of syntax.Im just writing stuff in a different language because (www) tell me I should be? Very sheepish I think but I have to move with the times… even if don’t quite understand why.. A language like action script is infact, to me at least leaps a head of the likes of javascript and lua…. Its weird looking at the syntax for these languages… I just think “aint that what actionscript 1.0 looked like 9/10 years ago?”… seems to me like im taking a step back in time syntax wise.

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-146979358:disqus +1. I could not emphasized enough.

  • http://twitter.com/D3M80L Marcin Dembowski

    That’s true that HTML isn’t even close to flash and probably it will not be close to flash and/or silverlight in the near future. Kamil described his point of view and I agree with him in many cases, well not only I will share his opinion.
    The biggest problem which I see now with HTML is: performance as you described… and it probably will be, because there is no document describing how the performance should be ‘implemented’ in browsers.

    Flash and the whole HTML5 stuff are quite different. Flash will be available for a long time in the market to support for example older browsers for fallback compatibility or quickly create some nice applications. There are a lot of media players written in flash which simulate HTML5 audio and video tag on older browsers. What is more flash and silverlight is a mature and stable technology today, where HTML5 is at least at alpha stadium. The other advantage is that flash is a browser plugin which means that it will work on any browser in the same way, where when you will use HTML5 it can depend on the web browser, on another point of view with HTML5 I do not need any plugins which in some cases is more desired.

    If you would ask me “should I learn HTML5 or flash today”, I would answer you that HTML5, for many reasons. Of course it also depends, on what are you actually doing. For example I will not deep into silverlight or flash because I want to learn HTML5 or some bigger part of it and use it with MVC pages. With usage of some CSS and basic SVG elements I can easily implement some fancy graphics effects in a notepad without any flash or silverlight designers. On another site, many more advanced users like to use blocking plugins which disable flash on many pages…

    The whole web is changing dramatically. Some years ago I heard this sentence: why to use Flash, when there are JavaApplets! Now this seems to be with flash/silverlight and HTML5. Unfortunatelly, you need to have an open mind for other technologies and solutions…

    Everyone has his own opinion about the html5, and really I like to hear such opinions as yours!
    By the way, If you know some pro/contra links for flash/html5 please leave them here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/havehoup Witold Bołt

    As you said – technology comes and goes. And it’s not always the “best” technologies that win. Hopefully couple of years from now HTML5 will be gone ;) All in all it seems that technology choices spin as if they were in a big wheel. So maybe one day we will again be coding in some hardcore native platform with explicit memory and resource management and convince everyone how cool it is.

    And for now – it’s somehow sad but true – there is no other good choice for new web/mobile/cross domain apps than HTML5. And the fact that there is NO such thing as HTML5 yet (standard not ready, full of extensions and custom additions, lots of buzz without much sense) doesn’t change it.

  • http://twitter.com/clintonbegin Clinton Begin

    Indeed.  2022 is what Wikipedia said, but I see it has now estimated closer down to 2014.  My bad.  But let me ask you two questions: 

    1) Do you believe it?
    2) Does it matter?  

    CSS2 was never finalized, and CSS2.1 took 7 years to finalize.  It’s not just HTML5 itself that needs to be finalized, we need CSS3 as well.  And now CSS3 is broken up into 50 (yes FIFTY) sub-modules that need to be individually closed.  Not to mention, many of the things that people talk about with HTML5 – like WebGL – are not part of the standard at all.  
    So I doubt we’ll really see this closed off, especially given the state of things currently.

    BUT, does it really matter?  HTML4, XHTML1, CSS2… they’ve been around for a decade and how consistently do browsers implement them?  Performance aside, how consistently do they render given the exact same code?  Not well…

    Performance didn’t matter all that much before.  But now with Canvas, Audio and Video, performance has to be at the forefront.  I don’t see how so many browsers, platforms and devices will be able to come together and render this stuff consistently, when Microsoft IE 6 – 9 alone don’t render things consistently between them — let alone browsers made by completely different companies.  

    And sure this is subjective, but what about the fact that the standard itself sucks?  Surely I’m not the only one who thinks it’s absolutely insane to make closing tags optional again?

    As for Adobe, I think they did give up on the mobile browser plugin, because they agree that browser plugins on mobile don’t work particularly well… however I believe they also think the browser experience in general sucks on mobile.  And for that reason they’ve instead re-invested their efforts in AIR.  So YES, I think they do believe in Flash, but they also believe in the Apps model, over and above the Web.  So that’s something that Adobe, Microsoft and Apple agree upon… leaving only Google to the side.  In a way, Adobe is going to eat Java’s lunch and compete with Appcelerator with both PhoneGap (for apps) and AIR (for games and rich media). 

    Flash will be around for a long time.  I agree that the plugin is threatened, which is unfortunate for the web game space.  But as I said… Microsoft, Google and Apple love that.  It means more platform proprietary apps, and more app store royalties!  So Adobe doesn’t hold any influence there. From a user and developer perspective, things will be worse without Flash… at least for a while.  But HTML5 won’t be the savior.  The move to native apps will be inevitable, because of the inadequacy of HTML5.   And by the time it’s “good enough”, it will be irrelevant. Either connected native apps will dominate, and HTML5 will be too old and incapable. Or some other disruptive technology similar to Flash (e.g. Unity) will emerge and further invalidate HTML5.To be clear, I’m not talking about basic web apps with forms and shopping carts… I’m talking about rich media — primarily games.  For the other stuff, HTML5 is a modest improvement at best.  Plugin free video at the cost of twice as much server disk space… YAY!>>@Marcin: RE: some pro/contra links for flash/html5 please leave them here We’d need an entire blog to dedicate to such a topic… this forum is an inappropriate place to discuss it. :-)  But I think a simpler question/challenge would be:  Is there even a single thing, just one thing, anything at all… that HTML5 can currently do better than Flash? Or even equal to?One example would impress me.

  • http://twitter.com/D3M80L Marcin Dembowski

    I agree with you. HTML5 is not a topic for one post, probably sooner or later there will be more posts here. That’s true that HTML4 and the other stuff is on the market for a long time. But most of this stuff was made in the IE6 and FF 1.0 time, where no one cared about it. Now many are fascinated about HTML5, we will see what will happen. Here is a very simple sample that shows you that Flash  is quite equal to HTML5 (from a user perspective of course): http://dev.sencha.com/deploy/css3-ads/

  • http://twitter.com/clintonbegin Clinton Begin

    Marcin, I appreciate your optimism.  However, you really have to be careful when looking at comparisons.  First, that comparison is far too simplistic to be worth anything… no audio, no real complex animation etc.

    Plus… look very closely, inspect the element. They’re not using Canvas at all (not that they need to, but that’s really what should be compared).  My primary gripes with HTML5 are with Canvas, Audio and Video… in this example they’re just using DOM and CSS… neat, but it doesn’t impress me.  :-)  

    In fact, I’d suggest that this is a case of an abuse of Flash.. it really isn’t all that necessary.  So it’s kind of a silly example from Sencha.  

    Nobody ever liked HTML for ads… see my Mercedes link above for an example of nightmarish abuse of Flash… :-)

  • http://twitter.com/clintonbegin Clinton Begin

    Here’s an interesting post confirming that I’m not crazy.  :-)

    http://esdot.ca/site/2011/mobile-performance-tests-html5-vs-air 

    Note the point about audio at the bottom… 

  • http://twitter.com/D3M80L Marcin Dembowski

    Thanks for your link!
    That’s true that on mobile devices Canvas performance is terrible. But we will se how (or if) it will change in the next upcoming months.

  • burger b

    Ok, so their point is that HTML 5 sucks for doing large numbers of sprites, etc.

    Frankly who’d write that sort of think for a browser anyway?  It’s stupid.. like bitching because your knife sucks at being a fork.

  • Anonymous

    “Here is a very simple sample that shows you that Flash  is quite equal to HTML5 (from a user perspective of course)”

    I think that’s a really poor example as the Flash adverts are very easy to spot, they look much better (the HTML versions aren’t even coded up that well)! In the case of an advert, the effort to code those using HTML, surely an image fall back is a much better option? I think the example misses both on the delivery and the context of it’s own attempted argument!

    Clinton’s first two comments completely nail the issues in my eyes, HTML5 is slapdash and I can see the problems mentioned in those first two comments as forever plaguing the future of HTML5 as a standard. Google, Micorsoft and Apple have no advantage in the seemless implementation of a messy ‘standard’ that has the potential to help lose them some market control they have built to this date. As Clinton mentioned, I can see Browser specific advancements becoming a norm, I remember a period when the massive difference in load times of Google Maps in Chrome compared to other browsers (was IE being bottlenecked?), I can see more of that in the future.

    I really feel people are forgetting the strengths and the purpose of what html (with some gentle UX improvements via css + javascript) offers in creating large article driven and engaging (for their content and ease of use) websites. The slow, jittery 3D animations I’m seeing in CSS3 would be put to shame by Flash Apps from at least 5 years ago, I can’t understand the clamour to attempt to produce these hack jobs.

    The only reason I can see for attempting this is “but well,
    it is a price we are willing to pay for the multi platform development,
    aren’t we?” but as has been mentioned, won’t these always be the case? Why would Apple want to lose any market share from one of their biggest earners the AppStore thanks to HTML5?

  • Anonymous

    My last quote paragraph should have been:

    The only reason I can see for attempting this is “Applications written in PhoneGap naturally run slower than those written
    for example in Silverlight for WP7 or Objective-C for iOS – but well,
    it is a price we are willing to pay for the multi platform development, aren’t
    we?” but as has been mentioned, won’t these always be the case? Why
    would Apple want to lose any market share from one of their biggest
    earners the AppStore thanks to HTML5?

    * I missed out some of the initial quote that made my final two questions look odd *

  • http://twitter.com/clintonbegin Clinton Begin

    People already do it in browsers… but they use Flash.  The industry is suggesting HTML5 is the Flash killer… but unfortunately it cannot be.

    Perhaps before claiming it’s “stupid”, you should look at the money Zynga and PopCap are making with social/casual games.

    Hundreds of millions or billions don’t sound stupid to me.