The Evolution of HTML5 over Flash

Chris HolmokiPhones and iPads do not support Flash. If you ask Steve Jobs why, he will probably say something about HTML5 being open… and the future of the Web… and that Flash is proprietary… and it causes too many system crashes… and so on.
So, in order for YouTube to be able to offer its content on iPhones, they started converting their hosted videos to an HTML5-friendly format called H.264. As iPhones and iPads are eating up Web usage market share, more video hosts are switching from Flash to H.264 – or at least offering both. In the past year, Flash has lost its dominance to H.264 in Web video. YouTube even has the option to browse their site as pure HTML5, completely eliminating the need for flash, but adding the requirement for using a modern browser that supports HTML5.

But what is HTML5?!?! Let’s start at the beginning, 1991.

Tim Berners-Lee invents the Web by coming up with the Web server, the Web browser and the language of the Web, HTML. HTML was a way to create online documents that were formatted (headers, lists, paragraphs, etc.) and could be linked and related to each other. Essentially, the Web was meant to store documents that users could search and browse from anywhere in the world.

Flash forward 20 years. Now we watch movies on the Web. We play video games. There are whole applications that are accessed via the Web. All this is done on a platform originally designed to electronically publish and link academic papers. Up until a year or two ago, the Rich Internet Applications (RIA) used Flash, Java Applets, or some other browser plug-in for “special effects.”

In 2008, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) introduced a draft for the HTML5 specification. It included many aspects that were only available in an RIA plug-in. Stuff like video, animation, drawing, and other RIA aspects that were only available in Flash would now be available in the universal language of the Web, HTML. No more plug-ins to download. With just a browser, you can watch videos or play video games over the Internet.

It’s been two years and the HTML5 specification is still in draft form, on its 8th revision. It’s not close to becoming a standard yet, and there more than a few browsers that do not fully support it. But there are some big players, like Apple, Google, YouTube, and others that are betting pretty heavy on it.

Here are some links for more info:,,

One Comment

  1. Posted March 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Adobe Releases Flash-to-HTML5 Converter, Codenamed Wallaby – Now this does change everything! –

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  1. […] Useful Industry News Roundup It’s been a busy (and ridiculously hot) summer for the direct digital marketing industry. To help you keep up, here is a roundup of some of the most useful industry news from the past couple of weeks. To start things off, let’s take a look at the mobile space. Internet Retailer reports that in 5 years more than 2 billion mobile devices will have HTML5 browsers. Various smartphones and tablet devices are already equipped with HTML5 browsers, making it easier for developers to provide an ‘app-like’ experience for consumers who visit mobile web destinations. Mobile sites built using HTML5 provide a better mobile experience for the user. (To learn more about HTML5, check out Chris’ take on it in this post.) […]

  2. […] the only game in town with regards to the creation and handling of the kind of content it supports.But HTML5 has pretty much won the fight for the future of Web browsing. Not only has the new syntax proven to be very multimedia friendly, thus eliminating the need to […]

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