Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight have been the only options for playing media for a while. At one point, knowing AS3 was a huge asset. I’m sure flash developers will argue it still is. However, this post is dedicated to whats NEXT, and that’s HTML5
The catch is, HTML5 is not released i.e. still being created. Everyone is so hungry for an alternative that they have jumped onto the wagon whether its ready or not. We will cover the benefits and downfalls of jumping now rather than later.
CROSS BROWSER SUPPORT
This has always been an issue. Browser companies care more about being unique and competitive than being uniform. Some browsers companies, we can assume, simply just don’t care what you think as a developer but that’s a topic on its own. The fact is, since the HTML5 technology is new and constantly evolving, you can anticipate two issues out of the gate.
- Older Browsers – The technology is new, so older browsers won’t have any idea what you are referring to
- Current Browsers – The technology is new, so new browsers are not responding to HTML5 in the same dependable way.
This is important to consider seeing that your customers don’t all use the same browser. Its definitely gut wrenching, to find that your video focused website, isn’t playing videos for an entire subset of your users.
If compatible, all browsers will render the html5 player the same way. What changes is the files they support. Some will support mp4 and m3u8 while others will just ignore them altogether. Without checking for compatibility, you cannot guarantee that your files are working with any browser, not even modern ones.
HTML5, FLASH, OR SILVERLIGHT
Well, for those with the technical skills or resources, HTML5 is widely considered to be the optimal option. Reasons include
- Looks – the players look better
- Speed – Flash and silverlight players are notoriously slow to load. HTML5 has been compared and proven to load quicker
You have to accept that the technology will change and this is not a set and forget option. You will have to monitor how HTML5 evolves and adjust your code to match it. Although much of the video and audio rules are implemented, no one should be surprised if they are drastically changed before the official launch of the technology
Flash is old and tested like java. Set it and forget it paradigm. Funny thing is, just like people were proven wrong when they considered Java dead, they are definitely wrong if they believe AS3 Flash is going anywhere anytime soon. However, for those ready for a not so perfect technology for a better result, HTML5 may be a great choice for you.