Representatives of Microsoft and Adobe on Tuesday both espoused their companies' love for HTML5 technology at the HTML5 Live conference held within a few blocks of New York's Times Square, even though the vendors offer technologies perceived as HTML5 competitors.
Although Microsoft's Silverlight and Adobe's Flash rich Internet plug-in technologies compete in some ways with HTML5, both vendors reiterated support for the budding Web specification. HTML5 capabilities include video and audio and a host of other functions such as bidirectional Web communications, but HTML5 is also held back by issues such as lack of a standard video codec and a lack of testing tools, so developers will have to encode for multiple video and audio codecs.
Adobe and Microsoft see places for both HTML5 and their own in-house platforms. "It's not the either-or polarized world that the media seems to depict," said Adobe's James Ward, a technical evangelist for Flex. Adobe is looking to make its Flash Player the best player for rich Internet applications, video, and games while also building tools for HTML5 for developers and designers: "We at Adobe love HTML5," he said.
Adobe supports HTML5 in products such as the Dreamweaver Web design software, with backing for HTML5 tags and cascading style sheets (CSS) code-hinting. Adobe's Project Edge serves as a tool for HTML5 animations. Ward also noted the open source Jangaroo project, enabling the conversion of Flash to HTML5.
Microsoft's Rachel Appel, a developer evangelist, echoed Ward's sentiments: "We love HTML5." Microsoft is building HTML5 technologies for its Visual Studio IDE. Visual Studio's Intellisense coding capabilities are being fitted for HTML5. Canvas 2D graphics support from HTML5 is being added to the IDE as well. These incremental technologies are being offered on places such as the CodePlex and MSDN Code Gallery websites.
"HTML is just going to have all these great features and it is going to be the future of the Web," Appel said. She also noted Microsoft's plans to support HTML5 in the Internet Explorer 9 browser. Although Microsoft views HTML5 as its technology for the Web, Silverlight still has a place on desktops and Windows Phone 7, Appel said. Microsoft's positioning of Silverlight vis à vis HTML5 recently created controversy over the fate of the Silverlight platform.
Show sponsor Kaazing touted WebSocket, considered an HTML5 technology even though it is the subject of separate specifications at the W3C and Internet Engineering Task Force. WebSocket provides full duplex and bidirectional communications for Web-enabled devices, particularly browsers, said Kaazing CEO Jonas Jacobi. "The simplest way to think about WebSocket is [as] TCP for the Web," said John Fallows, Kaazing's CTO.
Arthur Barbey, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, expressed interest in WebSocket, HTML5, and the ability to accommodate real-time data. "As a bank it's critical to update our systems, [but] we're still stuck with IE7" at the moment, he said.
Also at the conference, Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond said HTML5 is "clearly in our future." The technology offers capabilities such as improved hyperlinking, but HTML is restrained by video codec concerns and a lack of testing tools. (HTML5 has no official video codec.) One codec, H.264, requires licensing and could be subject to "submarine patents" problems, Hammond said. Developers will have to encode for multiple video and audio codecs.
Developers should be using HTML5 doctype today and plan for users who do not have HTML5-enabled browsers, Hammond said. Putting video in Flash is one way to accommodate these users, he said.
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