3 years to go from HTML2 to HTML4, but the HTML4.01 specifications were published 10 years ago and even though today's web looks very different, we are still waiting for HTML5. The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group started preliminary work on what is now known as HTML5 in 2004 and the W3C HTML Working Group was adopted this draft as the basis for the HTML5 specs in 2007. Some modern browsers already offer partial support for HTML5, but there are still quite a few issues that need to be resolved before we will see the finalized version of the HTML5 specifications. One area where there is still a lot of discussion is support for video in HTML5.It only took
Philippe Le Hegaret, the interaction domain leader for the W3C, talked about this issue in an interview with WebMonkey's Michael Calore.
According to Le Hegaret, video support is still one of the main issues surrounding the development of HTML5. Safari and Chrome are both based on the same open-source WebKit engine. Video support, however, is not part of WebKit yet, so every vendor implements it differently. Currently, browser developer disagree over how to implement this feature and what codec to use. Apple wants to use uses H.264 and Mozilla, Google and Opera support Ogg Theora. As of now, HTML5 still includes the <video> tag, but doesn't specify which codec to use.
Transition from Plugins
Until these issues are sorted out, users will have to continue to rely on plugins. Of course, the only way to do away with video plugins would be to make sure that every online video provider also adopted this new standard. As Le Hegaret rightly points out in the interview with WebMonkey, people don't like to install plugins, but everybody installs the Flash plugin because "if you can't see YouTube, your life on the web is pretty miserable. You're missing a lot." Le Hegaret acknowledges that there has to be a transition period before users can switch from Flash to HTML5 video.
For developers, the fact that the video is not running in a plugin that can't talk to the browser is a major advantage of having built-in video support in the browser. With video in HTML5, developers can connect the video to the rest of the page and have actions on the page or video influence other parts of the site.
What About Microsoft?
If you want to learn more about HTML5, also have a look at this story: 5 Exciting Things to Look Forward to in HTML5.