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The HTML 5 future is now!

364 words on

HTML 5 is being developed and pushed everywhere. With niceties such as the <video> element, its advantages are starting to pop up all over the web, before the standard has been well defined.

With better support for scripting and features like the <canvas> element, these new developments also create fears that the HMTL 5 web may give unprecendented powers to annoying advertisers who want to shove animated crap into web users’ faces: So far they had to use Flash for that and a simple Flash blocker usually solves those problems. Once HTML and JavaScript are powerful enough for similar effects, though, advertisers will surely use them as it reduces their dependency on Flash and makes blocking a bit less trivial.

In fact, it seems that the future is here already. Instead of displaying a single image of crap you don’t want, amazon Germany now display a rotating collection of three images of three kinds of crap you don’t want on the page. The scaling isn’t particularly good, the animation is jerky and the CPU usage of the browser is increased by this – though not to the 100% level that would be used by a Flash animation: So I decided to poke at it with WebKit’s Web Inspector and, voilà, it’s all HTML and JavaScript with each image being part of the DOM:

Screenshot of rotating images on amazon.de page

Looking at the markup more closely reveals that this particular setup even uses the <canvas&rt; element to create the ‘reflection’ beneath the image (which other implementations of this do not do)

Web Inspector showing DOM of the ad which contains a canvas-element

It seems like the future has already begun. And I’m not terribly impressed by what I’m seeing.

The Flash problem is made up of two issues. One is its poor implementation which maxes out CPUs, kills batteries and burns your laps. It’s merely a technical problem. The big philosophical problem, however, is that Flash provides a powerful set of tools to people who want to annoy people surfing the web, e.g. advertisers. With HTML 5 providing them a set of very similar tools right there in the browser, I am tempted to think that killing Flash will only solve the small technical problem but not the really annoying one.

November 4, 2010, 8:56

Tagged as advertising, amazon, html, javascript.


Comment by Ryan: User icon

yo it’s &gt semicolon not &rt semicolon (for “greater than”, not “right tag” which seems how you have interpreted it!)

November 4, 2010, 23:37

Comment by ssp: User icon

@Ryan: cheers, fixed!

November 4, 2010, 23:58

Comment by Anonymous: User icon

Not quite!

December 23, 2010, 4:12

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