HTML5: A Closer Look

Our technology team has been looking at the HTML5 working draft for several months now.  Here’s a quick round up of the features that will impact the publishing industry. 

Element Details Impact
<svg> <svg> allows the Scalable Vector Graphics formats to be embedded directly as part of HTML5 Pages will be lighter, thus reducing load time when we use the SVG element to draw shapes
<canvas> This feature allow users to draw any shapes/lines/strokes

The current version of Canvas supports 2D and SVG formats

Dynamic images and graphs made using Canvas make pages lighter

Application simulation exercise

Photo editing applications

<video> and <audio> Enable embedding of audio and video components along with controls HTML5 video and audio media playbacks remove the dependency on third-party plug-ins like Adobe Flash
Fonts HTML5 allows fonts which are not installed in the end user’s system to be delivered using the CSS functionality Facilitates the retention of the look and feel of the PDF in the HTML5 version
MathML Direct embedding of MathML supported Advantage for STM publishing

Enables rendering of mathematics content as text instead of graphics/images

New Parsing rules New parsing rules, which are not based on SGML Enable flexibility and compatibility
Drag and drop API Drag and drop API helps in building drag and drop functionalities Increases interactivity with published content
Geo location API Allows the user’s location to be identified Possibility of dynamically changing location names that occur in the content
CSS3 and JavaScript Cascaded Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript are supported HTML5 when combined with CSS and JavaScript offers tremendous capabilities to build different functionalities over the web
Content-Specific elements The introduction of content-specific elements, such as <article>, <footer>, <header>, <nav>, <section>, <figure>, and <figcaption> will define the structure and hierarchy of documents This will help transform content such as articles and chapters from a custom specific DTD/schema to a generic content structure

This could be a starting point for the publishing industry (at least trade publishing) to start looking at using HTML as the DTD instead of the custom/other public domain DTDs they are using at the moment

Global attributes such as spellcheck, hidden, etc. Enable formatting/rendering options for specific content/part Some of the new global attributes such as spellcheck, hidden, etc. can be utilized in a collaborative working environment
New form controls and input type attributes New form controls and input type attributes like <date>, <time>, <email>, <url>, <search>, etc. allow specific use of contents, without the need for additional scripting/controls Can add value to the collaborative working environment.

Eliminates many form validation requirements with current web form-filling

HTML5 standard  Better standards for Web 2.0 style functionalities Will enable better cross-browser compatibility and better support for ‘Web 2.0-style’ Web applications in addition to documents
Web Storage Two methods for storing data on the client side—LocalStorage and SessionStorage. Earlier this was done using cookies HTML5 enables mobile and desktop Website designers to deliver the advantages of client-side and server-side development to their users simultaneously.

Local offline storage helps in the automatic saving of end-user data

While we’re very excited about the possibilities HTML5 will bring, there are a few caveats that need to be remembered.  First and foremost, this is a working draft – the final standard may take years.  As a result, it’s still far less mature than Flash when it comes to delivering streaming videos, high-end interactivity, animations, and 3D capability.  HTML5 also offers only limited scope for DRM as compared to Flash.  The other problem with HTML5 right now is that although most browsers now support it to some extent, we are not yet at a stage where all browsers support all features.  In practice what that means is that it is not yet possible to deliver HTML5 content across all devices and channels as different browsers may not be able to handle certain aspects of that content.

All of these limitations, though, will be overcome in time.  For us, there’s no doubt that HTML5 will be of great importance to publishers; the only question is how soon. 

Naren Kumar

SVP, Production Technology – MPS Limited

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3 Responses to HTML5: A Closer Look

  1. Very nice; will pass along to friends/customers

  2. John Amstrad says:

    Hi Naren,

    Great overview – Thanks!
    Can you expand please on the 3D capabilities of HTML5?

    Cheers,
    John

  3. John Amstrad says:

    Hi Naren,

    Great overview – Thanks!
    Can you expand please on the 3D capabilities of HTML5?

    Cheers,
    John

    Reply

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