By now, most tech enthusiasts are familiar with the well-publicized battle between Steve Jobs and Adobe regarding Adobe’s multimedia platform "Flash." Adobe Flash is an application used to create video and rich Internet content.
The heated debate was further fueled when Apple’s CEO published the now-infamous essay "Thoughts on Flash" back in April. In that post, Jobs noted that Apple has adopted HTML 5 and listed several shortcomings for Flash, especially relating to the mobile Web. A synopsis:
1. Adobe’s Flash products are 100 percent proprietary.
2. The reliability, security and performance of the application.
3. The drain Flash videos have on battery life.
4. Flash was designed for PCs and not touchscreens.
5. Adobe’s desire to have apps developed in the Flash environment.
He also refuted a claim that Apple products (iPhones, iPods and iPads) cannot access the "full Web" because 75 percent of the video on the Web is delivered in Flash.
Apple has chosen not to support Adobe Flash and on Oct. 22 the company announced that it would no longer ship computers with Flash preinstalled.
As you can imagine, this sparked numerous debates in the programming world. It also made "HTML 5" a household name. Well, maybe not in every household but certainly in mine!
As you may already know, HTML (hypertext markup language) is the foundation of Web pages. Version four has been around since 1997 and version five is still in development. With the popularity of smart phones, smart TVs, tablets and Internet-ready devices, the emergence of HTML 5 takes center stage as a major rival to Adobe Flash.
Cross-platform video is certainly an intriguing element to HTML 5. Pew Internet & American Life Project reported this summer that "69 percent of adult Internet users, or roughly half of all U.S. adults (52 percent), have used the Internet to watch or download video, with 18- and 29-year-olds leading the way."
Brokers are embracing video by creating property tours, community videos, video blogs and more. The production value of these films is becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Utilizing HTML 5 video, movies can be viewed in a browser without the need for a plug-in. Check out this example: http://www.html5video.org/.
Both Youtube and Vimeo have rolled out HTML 5 video players. There are different video formats available, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. MPEG 4 is a popular format supported by Apple and Google products. Here’s an informative guide to the video formats and supported browsers.
Another exciting addition to HTML 5 is the geolocation capability. Your browser can now pinpoint your exact location based on your IP address, just like your GPS app on your smart phone.
Just imagine the possibilities there are for adding this type of feature to your site or even creating a lifestyle mashup? The possibilities are endless. See it in action.
HTML 5 also incorporates scalable vector graphics. Utilizing vector graphics has advantages over JPG-formatted images — vector images do not pixelate when enlarged, for example. This feature will allow for some pretty sophisticated drawings and animation, again without the need for a plug-in. Those familiar with Adobe Illustrator should find this feature to be very appealing.
The introduction of HTML 5 opens the door to some new and exciting possibilities, especially for the real estate industry. Check out some of these experimental examples: http://html5demos.com/.
However, there are a few things to know. HTML 5 is still in development. Standards are still being finalized, and not all browsers and browser versions support the new features. As with any new technology, it is always best to know your audience and to analyze your website metrics.
Do you have users viewing your site on the iPad or another tablet? Do you see an increasing number of visitors on iPhone or Droid devices? These are certainly important questions to discuss as the Web transitions to HTML 5. Nonetheless, the Web should be an exciting place in 2011.