Did Apple weaken the case for HTML5 and strengthen Flash with their “HTML5 Showcase”?

My blog post on Friday about Apple's "HTML Showcase", which neither used a lot of actual HTML5, nor seemed to promote HTML5 as a cross-browser standard (it even requires QuickTime, apparently), received quite a bit of attention.

Even though the blog post was written as a response to questions about why Opera and other browsers couldn't show the demos, it partially ended up as a discussion about the viability of HTML5 as a cross-browser solution! That was not my intention, nor do I believe that it was Apple's intention to send that message with their "HTML5 Showcase". I am confident that HTML5 is not only future-proof, but also a necessary step in the evolution of the web. …

But we cannot ignore the reality of things: It seems that HTML5 has taken a blow among some people. Instead of promoting HTML5, Apple's "HTML5 Showcase" may have unwittingly strengthened Flash's position in the market, and raised questions among some people (whether these questions are justifiable or not):

Since Apple saw the need block other browsers, does that mean that HTML5 is lacking when it comes to cross-browser support?

Since Apple had to resort to mostly using anything but HTML5 to promote HTML5, does that mean that HTML5 is severely lacking?

My response, of course, is a resounding NO! HTML5 is here to stay, and it has support from all the major browser vendors. They are all working together to ensure that HTML5 works well across all browsers and platforms.

But Apple's "showcase" was indeed seen by some as a lack of confidence in HTML5 as a future-proof technology as well as a cross-browser delivery platform. As one Adobe employee put it (like myself, he likely speaks on behalf of himself rather than his employer): "A Web standards demo that doesn't work across browsers reminds me of lame, counterproductive Flash Player demos."

Apple did receive a lot of criticism across the web (perhaps one of the most scathing by Mozilla's Christopher Blizzard in his "intellectual honesty and html5" where he also takes Google to to task), and maybe it can serve as a lesson and reminder for everyone: Let's not try to promote HTML5 by making it a walled garden.

And let's not reduce HTML5 to a meaningless buzzword.

Note: If you want to know what HTML5 actually is beyond a misused buzzword, take a look at the Wikipedia article on HTML5 (note that CSS3 is not HTML5!). You can also read the HTML5 specification to learn more about the scope of HTML5.


8 thoughts on “Did Apple weaken the case for HTML5 and strengthen Flash with their “HTML5 Showcase”?

  1. No, Apple did not weaken the case for HTML 5, but they did strengthen the case for Flash with their "HTML 5afari Showcase".HTML 5 is not weakened because the majority of main browser vendors are playing a fair game, and many voices have expressed disgust. It has highlighted what has flawed us previously and provides another big opportunity to educate proper HTML 5 practices and address misinterpretation. It is what we do from here that matters now.Apple has a shiny skin, but is rotten underneath.

  2. The problem was their odd choice of an .MOV container, which apparently even Safari can't handle by itself. Even .mp4 or possibly .mkv should have worked fine. We got to see that anyone can experience a standards-rich internet (if we don't use Linux, and are willing to install tons of CrApple).

  3. Let's not try to promote HTML5 by making it a walled garden.

    May be applied to anything. πŸ˜‰ Hm, but Apple used to promote their products by making them a walled garden with β€želite” feeling. πŸ˜‰

  4. Apple doesn't market its products as walled gardens. They are fanciful theme parks where you pay for admission, pay for rides, pay for food, and pay for the parking on your way out. They also sell trinkets like cameras and memory card readers to enhance the experience.Also Apple portrays Android as a strip club, where anything can happen. But some of us think that's great. πŸ˜‰

  5. Originally posted by tudsta:

    Apple has a shiny skin, but is rotten underneath.

    I like that one. Can I steal that? πŸ˜†

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