Friday, August 5, 2011

The Changing Landscape For HTLM5 Design

Motion and Interaction Design for HTML5

Adobe Edge Preview is a new Web motion and interaction design tool that allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

The initial version of Edge focuses primarily on adding rich motion design to new or existing HTML projects, that runs beautifully on devices and desktops.

Click here to download your own copy of this free beta and examine the samples for yourself. With them, you can be up and running in only a few minutes, or click here to see an image of one of these samples that I've run on my desktop, or click here for one video that shows Edge in use and/or here for another.

{ Click on the image above for a larger view }

As much as we can give Apple credit for getting the HTML5 ball rolling, Adobe's decision to offer an HTML5 design tool is unlikely the result of Adobe giving in to Apple. It is a reasonable business decision that answers to a global trend - a decision that is driven rather by opportunity than surrender.

Few of us paid attention to this new format before Apple said it would deny Flash access to its iOS platform for performance, security and power consumption reasons (while others claim it is really the closed platform approach that killed Flash on iOS).

Within two years, HTML5 has evolved from an Apple thought process to a global movement with the conviction that HTML5 will be the future standard of how Web applications will be developed. It is a conviction that is shared by those who follow corporate interests as well as those who have the open Web in mind, such as Mozilla. Whether we like it or not, HTML5 will become a powerful application layer for the Internet within a few years - the first application layer that will enable Internet applications and services that will look and feel like desktop applications today.

Adobe sees Edge as a tool designers can use along with its Creative Suite applications such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver (discussed on a few of my earlier posts to this blog), although direct import support isn’t available yet. Adobe does, however, have plans to add import support as development continues.

Edge-created content is viewable on any HTML5-aware browser, such as Safari, Firefox and Chrome, and works on mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, HP’s WebOS, and Android-based smartphones.

The beta is still in its early stages, so it isn’t feature complete yet, and Adobe plans to use feedback from customers in the development process.

If you look at the market share for browsers, you will find that less than half the browsers in use are HTML5 compatible at this point. That percentage is certain to rise rapidly over the next couple of years, but a substantial share of the browser market will require an alternative to HTML5 for the foreseeable future. Companies will still need to be backwards compatible for older browsers at a minimum and will employ Flash for this.

In addition to raw browser support, HTML5 lacks a number of features that Flash offers. Most notably, Flash includes digital rights management (DRM) features, while in HTML5, users can quickly save videos to their own machines. That may not sound like such a bad thing for users, but for developers and content owners, it's a serious problem. A number of DRM schemes are currently under consideration for HTML5, but the issue is far from resolved. The best-fitting software depends on your use case. Many projects will benefit from technologies like Flash that are not browser controlled, for some time to come.

Adobe to Capitalize on The Rise of HTML5

While Flash has been the dominant technology used to create interactive, animated content, its market share has been decreasing as HTML5 gains ground. Apple refused to support Flash on the iPhone and the iPad citing performance issues (as noted above), which led many developers to move to adopt HTML5.

With PC sales dropping and tablet sales showing tremendous growth, many developers will eventually move on to HTML5 to create content as it is compatible with most platforms and doesn’t need any special plugins.

With Adobe Edge, Adobe plans to capitalize on this shift to HTML5. With Edge, Adobe can recapture some of its lost market share and improve sales of its Creative Suite software bundle, which currently has more than a 40% share of the global market.