5 Things Publishers Need to Know About HTML5

Pam Horan is the president of the Online Publishers Association, a not-for-profit trade organization that represents high-quality online publishers.

Last November, Adobe announced its decision to halt Flash development for mobile browsers, chipsets and operating systems.

Instead, the company plans to develop on the open HTML5 platform. While the announcement may seem startling given the legacy of Adobe’s business, the launch of Adobe Edge back in August marked the clear beginning of the company’s pivot toward HTML5.

Following the lead of many publishers in the space, most notably The Financial Times, the elimination of Flash will further enable publishers to focus their resources and streamline digital development.

In a company blog post, Adobe vice president and general manager Danny Winokur explained, “Adobe is all about enabling designers and developers to create the most expressive content possible, regardless of platform or technology,” he wrote. “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively.”

So what does that mean for your business? Here are the five things every publisher should know about HTML5.

1. Enhanced Web Development

HTML5 has long been dubbed a game changer. Mashable has said that HTML5 will bring the web back. While that may sound like a strange notion, it refers to the fact that innovation has shifted from the web to applications for mobile and gaming – and while these may rely on the web, they do not reside there. HTML5 brings the focus back to web-based development.

According to the New York Times, “Engineers say the [HTML5] technology will make it possible to write web applications, accessed with a browser, that are as visually rich and lively as the so-called native applications that are now designed to run on a specific device, like an iPad or an Android-based tablet.”

2. Streamlined Development

The latest version of HTML includes features that streamline development and deliver a richer experience to users. And its new API, in concert with new browsers, enables top functionality, making things possible that weren’t before.

For instance, geolocation services are easily enhanced with HTML5. With permission, web browsers can access the physical location of users that visit their sites, simplifying the development of sites that want to deliver location-based content and services.

3. What it Means for Advertisers

While this may seem like a major tech play, HTML5 presents huge benefits for advertisers and marketers. It enhances online advertising by making ads rich and scalable. Advertisers have been waiting for technology to catch up with their mobile needs, and HTML5 does just that. It can be downloaded from an ad server and displayed on the web and in apps. And it makes rich media display ads more accessible across browsers and applications on mobile devices.

4. Video Challenges

It would be a disservice to ignore challenges that exist with HTML5. Flash has been around far longer than HTML5, and its advancements in video reflect its legacy. The third-party integration that made Flash popular and robust set the stage for online video to take off. And while HTML5 is still in its early innings, when it comes to video, the same innovations are starting to emerge within HTML5 as well.

5. Updates for Flash

While a Flash-free world may seem daunting to some, there’s no need to worry. According to Winokur, “We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.”

Overall, HTML5 will enhance the web for consumers, marketers and developers. Adobe has indicated that although its doesn’t plan to actively enhance Flash, it will continue to release security updates for its Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Image courtesy of Flickr, justinsomnia

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