Adobe’s Flash hasn’t had a good time of late, first with a recent security flaw that caused mild panic across the Internet, and now news that YouTube, the world’s most popular video website, has ditched Flash and will use HTML5 video instead.
Flash player replaced by HTML5 video on YouTube
The changes have been on the cards for a very long time. It was 2010 that Google (who owns YouTube) first announced the test version of the HTML5 video player. Last year, most of the content was already switched over to HTML5 in the most popular browsers, but now the switch has been flipped.
Even Steve Jobs, the former Apple CEO, had a thing against Flash, saying that it was a resource hog and wasn’t well suited for mobile devices. It was only a few years ago that Adobe also stopped official support for Flash on Android and other mobile devices.
What is HTML5 video?
What does all this mean and what’s all the fuss about “HTML5 video”?
Here’s the really technical bit:
HTML5 video is an element within the HTML5 specification that allows browsers to play video without relying on plug-ins or external applications. Traditionally, video content was specified in HTML markup using an <object> tag which meant there was always a disjoint and limited interaction possible between the browser and the plug-in being used to render and control the content. Unlike images and some media formats, video and audio has never had a unique HTML tag which can be rendered natively by the browser. The principle with HTML5 video is that the video playback capabilities are directly included in the browser or the underlying media framework, making the need for plug-ins redundant.
The complete HTML5 specification is a comprehensive update to HTML that covers all aspects of web content, rendering, multimedia formats and so on, and it’s important to realise that the video element is simply a subsection of this. HTML5 video was intended to be a universal standard to play online videos, with the content embedded inside a webpage using the <video> tag.
These advancements have benefitted not just YouTube’s community, but the entire industry. Other content providers like Netflix and Vimeo, as well as companies like Microsoft and Apple have embraced HTML5 and been key contributors to its success – YouTube
There have been a lot of huge companies working to push HTML5 as the de facto video standard for the web, and it’s now come a little closer to reality. The benefit for you and me will be less reliance on browser plugins and less exposure to their flaws and security issues (hopefully).