Tag: HTML5

Apple Runs Afoul of W3C on HTML5 Tech Patents

It appears, at least, that Apple has filed for patents on two technologies that are considered part of the core specifications for HTML5 and has already been issued one of the patents.

That's not terribly unusual; companies who are members of the W3C, keeper of the specs, occasionally patent technologies that are part of an emerging standard. What is unusual in this case is that Apple has apparently not responded to W3C requests to provide royalty-free licenses for the technologies so that all who use the publicly available HTML5 stack can do so without fear of having to pay Apple royalties.

I don't know if this is a real dispute or not, but the W3C, which is normally a pretty staid organization, has published a request for prior art. Such a request asks anyone with information about technology in use prior to Apple's patent claims that would invalidate those claims to provide information to the W3C. The Consortium can then use that information in negotiations or litigation attempting to invalidate the Apple patents.

It certainly seems counter-productive for Apple, which has been part of the W3C committee working on the HTML5 spec, to try to claim a proprietary and licensable interest in these somewhat obscure technologies, both of which have to do with accessing secure information from a browser. But of course at this point we have only the W3C's position on the question. It may well be that Apple held or applied for the patents before the technologies were incorporated into the HTML5 specification, in which case the fault lies not with Apple but with the Consortium.

Still, regardless of where the fault lies, good corporate Netizenship would suggest that Apple not try to hold these technologies hostage from Web developers wishing to adopt the HTML5 emerging standard in their Web work. Hopefully, Apple will see the light before this gets too out of hand.

Add Salesforce to the HTML5 Backers List

According to this piece on the ZDNet site, Salesforce has ended its search for the right mobile platform strategy and is placing its bets squarely on HTML5. The list of major players who are adopting HTML5 rather than doing proprietary app development for a highly fragmented mobile market is growing every day. Combine that with the ever-widening browser support for the new emerging standard and you have the makings of a wholesale shift that will change the Web nearly as much as the Web changed everything else.

A significant number of major players in the Web app space have already converted, begun converting or announced that they plan to convert existing data in proprietary formats such as Flash video and animations to HTML5. The momentum is strong and growing stronger every day.

It won't be long until we'll be talking about HTML5 as the Wave of the Present instead of the Wave of the Future. I can hardly wait!

Pugpig Shows a Ton of Promise, Raises the HTML5 Tool Bar

I spent a bit of time yesterday with Pugpig, a really fascinating new technology (in beta at the moment) designed to facilitate the relatively easy publishing of HTML5-based interactive content like magazines, newspapers, ebooks and guides. I'm impressed so far.

Pugpig ships as a library with an installer that gives you a complete template for XCode4 on OS X. In literally less than 15 minutes, I downloaded it, installed it, created my first app with it, and then downloaded their sample app and took it apart, tweaking it a bit to get a feel for what's involved in creating custom content. It is really well thought-out.

In its present form, it enables you to deliver AppStore apps (within content guidelines, of course) written entirely in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. It's specifically designed for content-driven apps, not productivity tools or games, but within that limitation, only your JS skills will be the gating factor in getting cool stuff working for the platform.

I'm definitely going to keep a close eye on this one.

Firefox to Crowd Adobe From the Other Side With HTML5 PDF Renderer

As HTML5 continues to make inroads into proprietary technology bases like Adobe Flash, along comes Firefox and announces it has a low-profile HTML5 project under way to render the PDF format files that normally require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader. I'm not sure that's as big a deal as Computerworld made it sound, particularly given the fact that they didn't even acknowledge that Safari has had this capability for a long time. Instead, they gave Chrome credit for the feature which is built into Apple's WebKit, on which Chrome relies. We Mac guys can't get no respect!

But the Firefox project is important from the perspective that it doesn't use an API into the PDF document format to render the content but rather relies exclusively on HTML5 and JavaScript to do the job. At the very least, this is a great proof-of-concept project. Ultimately, it could dent Adobe's Acrobat franchise a bit but it will probably be several years before it can displace the free reader that has become so ubiquitous people don't even think twice before downloading it when asked.

Big Milestone: HTML5 Spec Enters Review Phase

The W3C has announced that the spec for the next major upgrade in the lingua franca of the Web, HTML5, is now available for open review. This is a major milestone in the process of adopting any new Web technology under the auspices of the chief governing body of Web tech.

Here's a pretty decent summary of the progress, status and future of HTML5 vis a vis the W3C from CNET.

Even though it is probably still at least two years from formal adoption, HTML5 is gaining a lot of traction among browser companies and I expect its final announcement to be a real yawner that will have been preceded by its virtual adoption by all of the significant browser makers well before that date.

Is WebGL Unsafe At Any Speed?

The open source component that allows HTML5-compliant browsers to display 3D content may be a dangerous gateway for malicious activity and should not be used, according to Context Information Security Ltd.'s Web site.

WebGL is the component in question. The Context folk claim it opens a user's machine to a broad range of potential abuse (exploits) primarily because it allows the Web browser in which it is implemented low-level access to the user system's hardware. If these allegations — based, as Context admits, on very limited testing — turn out to be true, this discovery could be a setback for the early adoption push for HTML5. I can't tell whether Context has an axe to grind here and I don't know if their jabs are real or just designed to get a conversation going.

I'm not sure, though, how big a deal 3D is going to be in the early adoption process. Clearly video and music are far more important and the other advantages HTML5 brings to the party are pretty compelling. So maybe it won't delay HTML5 adoption, just 3D adoption.

Why Would You WANT to Bypass the Browser?

An intriguing story about a guy who figured out how to create games for Apple iOS without using PhoneGap or Titanium while completely bypassing the built-in browser has me somewhat puzzled.

Dominic Szablewski (blog) has created a game development library called Impact that allows you to write iOS apps completely in JavaScript. Graphics and sound are rendered using OpenGL and OpenAL respectively. So no dependency at all on Apple's OS or infrastructure. That's a cool-sounding idea alright but I'm not sure what it gets you in exchange for what has to be a tremendous amount of additional work to create your apps in the first place. (Reading his blog will reveal at least some of the hoops through which Szablewski had to jump to make his app work.)

The reason this idea caught my eye is that the author is using HTML5 to render the games, which then run on all HTML5-capable browsers, which includes all of the important browsers with more support coming out every day. So doesn't that mean the games will already run on iOS in the Safari browser? Why, then, go to the additional work to make them run naked stand-alone without the browser? I don't get it.

Szablewski says on his blog that, "This means you can take your JavaScript games written for Impact and run them on iOS with perfect sound and touch input and way better drawing performance than with Mobile Safari." I'm not a gamer, so I don't know if that's true. If it is, of course, then I stand corrected and this approach may well have some real value for folks who want to write snappy games for the iOS that also run in all of the major HTML5-supporting browsers.

Whether there is something real here or it's just a mental exercise by someone who doesn't like the way Apple renders game stuff in the Safari browser, the exercise is intriguing. The fact that Apple approved two demo games the author built for deployment in the App Store also suggests that this probe opens another avenue in the anti-scripting bias Apple has clearly shown in screening app submissions to the store.

Scribd to Convert Millions of Pages to HTML5

According to this article, Scribd.com will convert all of its millions and millions (billions?) of pages from Flash and other proprietary formats to HTML5 over the next few weeks. This is yet another Big Win for Team HTML5 as more and more of the large content-hosting sites make the switch. And I think this news is critical in trying to understand what's going on in HTMLand.

In the past few years, the old Browser Wars have been somewhat subdued, no because they've gone away but because the idea that standards matter has begun to catch on to a point where only Microsoft has been arrogant enough to go its own way. (Even MS is showing signs of becoming a real part of the standards world, including the latest mobile release of their Bing.com search engine.) At one time, the browser publishers — essentially Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, and Opera — dictated what new features would be implemented to bring Web developers success. Now, it's the mega-content-hosts like YouTube and Scribd and Wikipedia who will drive that decision. Browsers and platforms that fail to deliver on the promise of those sites because they're out of synch with standards will find increasingly rapid and unforgiving use abandonment.

I'm glad it's the folks who care about content who are driving this bus now. It'll be a smoother ride for sure.