John Harding, Software Engineer at Google, has posted a lengthy article about the pros and cons of Flash video and HTML5 video support in today’s browsers. It’s fair to say that the post is in essence a major thumbs up to the Flash Platform.
The author points out that video on the web today is much more than a simple video tag pointed at a file, but involves other considerations such as widely supported codecs, secure delivery mechanisms where required by content owners, two way video and audio for recording live via webcam as well as immersive fullscreen options.
All this is of course supported today via the Flash Player but not via HTML5, and whilst we all agree that it’d be very nice not to have to wrap a video into a SWF wrapper we must also face the reality that in many cases a simple click and play experience just doesn’t cut it anymore. HTML5’s video capabilities could have given Flash a run for its money about 10 years ago when Flash first started building momentum for online video delivery, but they are no match for the type of features that web users today are accustomed to and demand as standard.
Sure, of course I am biased, but I am also smart enough to know when I’m beating a dead horse, and Flash definitely is not one of those. Whilst new technologies such as HTML5 are most welcome, especially when they make a developer’s life easier they also need to make sure that they don’t over-promise and under-deliver. The amount of hype some companies have been able to generate around HTML5 is almost unreal, yet the follow-up on that hype remains to be seen. In the meantime I’ll get back to work to make bling with Flash, clients are waiting and the biggest app store of all is still the web 😉