Recently, Scribd announced that they were going to drop Flash in favor of HTML5. Instead of transcoding documents and presentations into a proprietary format, they decided to go open. But Scribd is by far not the only company to jump onto the HTML5 bandwagon. Indeed, there are so many companies announcing their support for HTML5 each week, that it’s easier to highlight the few that don’t, like Hulu.
HTML5 is a lot of things to a lot of people. For many, it’s about the ability to natively embed audio and video into web-pages without resorting to risky <embed> or <object> tags. For others, it’s about new input elements for forms which provide more fine grained controls for selecting a date or entering an email address. For proud iPad owners, both the media and forms enhancements are the saving grace of Safari. Ever wonder how the iPhone/iPad keyboard knows which keyboard layout to present, then look no further than the new HTML5 form elements. Personally, I like the new content structure elements. It’s a bit more esoteric, but to each their own. :)
Regardless of what you fancy in HTML5, there is a bit for everyone. But most importantly is that HTML5 is fundamentally an open format. Years ago, I made the decision that MindTouch would use HTML instead of wikitext. I never understood the appeal of wikitext and even less the need for it. HTML5 is only going to make the differences even more dramatic.
With HTML5, you’ll be able to publish and edit rich documents directly in your web-based WYSIWYG editor without losing anything in translation. Imagine all of the content you had trouble getting web-ready in the past suddenly becoming natively web-based. Find a great document on Scribd? No problem! Select what you want from it and copy-paste it into MindTouch for further editing and revisioning. See a video you like and want to embed in your documentation? Again, copy-paste and you are done! No more fiddling with embed codes and all that messiness.
In short, HTML5 will change dramatically how authors interact with online content and how good our content will look. The change won’t happen overnight, but direction has been set by the industry and each of us will benefit from it, and MindTouch will play it’s part to enable the HTML5 revolution!