Working with HTML5… so far
At first I was not very excited about this new tool. HTML5 does less than Flash, not more. New technology is usually a step forward, not back. But, there is no sense in fighting it, it’s reality. If you want to make interactive web art and you want it to work on mobile, HTML5 is your only choice.
Some thoughts so far:
- Sound in Safari Mobile is very limited. You cannot play more than one sound file at the same time. That means you can not have a background loop and play event sounds at the same time. I’m sure Apple is limiting their browser so people buy more apps.
- Gradients look better in HTML5 than in Flash. Flash for some reason uses only 256 colors in gradients (probably better for performance). That’s the only performance advantage I’ve discovered so far.
- I like that you don’t have to “publish” your project in HTML5. Source files and online files are one and the same.
- It’s really nice to see my works on an iPad. Since my works are vector based, they are resolution independent, so retina screens are definitely an improvement.
- Performance on mobile is a lot less than on desktop. There is something good about developing for slower devices, it forces me to simplify my ideas, to abstract more.
- In the next few years we will see HTML5 on very different kinds of devices. TV’s, coffee machines, refrigerators, cars… I hope HTML5 will work consistently across all of them. I always wanted my works to be available everywhere, at any time, on any device.
- I’ve heard rumors of a Flash emulator in HTML5. It’s probably a bit too much to ask right now but I’m sure it’ll exist in a few years.
- At some point I will convert all my Flash pieces to HTML5. There are some early tools available but I believe those tools will get better over time.
- I wonder how fast browsers can implement new features. When Adobe wants to add a new feature to Flash, it’s just one company deciding. When browsers want to implement a new feature, it takes years for it to be added across all browsers.
- I will use HTML5 when possible, but if the idea requires more, I will use Flash.
- WebGL offers a lot, but is not yet widely supported. I’m not touching it yet.
- I was worried about cross browser consistency. It’s pretty good so far. Things look the same across different browsers. Performance across different browsers is different, Chrome definitely wins there.
To summarize… we are in a transition period. Perhaps we are always in transition, especially in the world of software. Nothing stands still. The only way to keep up is to adapt all the time.
Change is inevitable.
PS: This article looks at HTML5 as a replacement for Flash. I never liked Flash as a tool to build websites, meaning a website with a lot of information and navigation. When it comes to building websites, HTML5 is definitely a step forward. I’m looking at it just as a tool to create interactive games/experiences/art.