How HTML 5 is Changing Multimedia

HTML has been the basis for nearly all internet coding since websites first began to appear. There have been a few changes, such as ASP and PHP, which allow server side processes. But in essence, the long standing HTML 4 has not changed for quite some time.

The most recent version of HTML 5 is still very much under development, which has been slowed by the competitive browser market (Firefox, Chrome, and IE). Nevertheless, HML 5 is looking very promising, and promises to remove the need for many of the multimedia add-ons which we currently use with today’s browsers.

One of the biggest developments in HTML 5 is how it affects multimedia presentations on the Internet. Most notably, the clumsy, encumbered, ‘Object’ tag has now been replaced with specific, orientated tags, such as ‘video’ and ‘audio’. These changes seem minor, but they allow the developer to add specific attributes for browser based multimedia processing.

The majority of the benefits to HTML 5 are to do with its graphical capabilities. Whereas most current browsers simply load an image, HTML 5 is expected to include a built in powerful vector engine, capable of producing vector graphics, and animations, and user interactive applications, without the need for numerous plug-ins, such as Flash and Silverlight (Which are in essence vector image processors).

The vector processing, using the tag ‘canvas’, allows a developer to section off an area of the webpage in which pictures, animation, chart, games, and interactive elements can be directly coded, with no plug-ins required.

HTML 5 will probably not look much different from your everyday web browser, and Google Chrome with Google Gears is a good example. It provides local offline application use, as well as local database storage to ensure speedy web browsing and application processing.

As with XML and other emerging Internet standards, CSS is not only an option, but a requirement in HTML, it will form the backbone of any HTML 5 compliant website to ensure it processed perfectly while allowing multimedia to fit in with the look and style of your website. This may make life more difficult for amateur web developers, especially those who focus more on multimedia and presentation rather than coding, but it is a skill well worth learning.

HTML 5 does include a lot of additional benefits to multimedia, my favourite of which is geo location. While they have released few details on exactly how this is being implemented, the geo-location functionality will allow automatic tagging (to your pictures, videos, Twitter, YouTube etc) and give huge functionality to Geo-dependent applications, which you may use to track your progress on a round the world trip or similar. This has however raised quite a few privacy concerns, some of which are well founded.

The power of HTML 5 in multimedia is only just being realized. The most important aspect is the ability to include web based applications with increased accessibility and utility. This capability not only guarantees the user will be able to view what you want, but also interact with it on an unprecedented scale.