The Null Device

Recent advances in HTML5

Some increasingly impressive things are being done with modern web browsers these days, taking advantage of new features in HTML5. A guy named Ben Joffe has developed a number of demos, including a full-featured 3D function plotter (using the canvas element) and a toroidal Tetris game. Another developer, going only by the name "Mr. doob", has developed some nifty 2D physics demos, including Ball Pool and Google Gravity. (Google, of course, entered the fray recently with their pure HTML5 implementation of Pac-Man.) Meanwhile, Apple, who are fighting their own (quite laudable, IMHO) battle against the dominance of Flash, have their own showcase of HTML5's capabilities, though it's coded to refuse to run on non-Safari browsers.

Chrome or Safari are recommended for the above demos; Firefox is still lagging behind in speed, though that's likely to improve in the near future. Firefox also has a new, experimental, API for manipulating audio data in JavaScript. (Apparently people are going to be doing FFTs in JavaScript in the future, which presumably won't make your browsing experience any faster.) It requires custom developer builds of Firefox (i.e., it's only for the hardcore at the moment), but people are already starting to experiment with it. Potentially most impressive so far is a project to port the Pd graphic audio programming language to JavaScript and have it run entirely in a browser. Meanwhile, here are some more audio API dems, including ones combining the audio APIs with WebGL to present 3D landscapes which respond to the beat in music and and graphic equalizer, sampler and speech synthesiser written entirely in JavaScript. I wonder how long until someone writes an entirely HTML5-based Ableton Live-style sequencer.

Typography is also shaping up nicely under HTML5, with a standard embeddable font format agreed upon. Google have released a web font embedding API, and made available several free font libraries through their content distribution system. They look, well, like free fonts; for those wanting more (and willing to pay for it), other groups of type foundries are jumping on the bandwagon; has fonts from major foundries like Linotype, Monotype and ITC (at last, you can set your site in authentic Helvetica for people who aren't Mac owners), and über-cool Berlin-based outfit FontShop have joined the game as well (bringing the clean European stylings of the likes of FF DIN and FF Meta to the web). One notable omission, though, are 1990s grunge-typography hellraisers Emigre, who haven't yet made the leap.

Finally, here is an article on some of the things one can do with CSS3, from transformations (i.e., rotating entire elements, including text and layout) to keyframe animation, all done without a single line of JavaScript.

There are 4 comments on "Recent advances in HTML5":

Posted by: datakid Sat Jun 5 03:17:45 2010

The Apple showcase is funniest because it doesn't work on Linux. All of the other pages work in Chromium (from the ubuntu ppa) and Firefox (v3.6.3)...but Apple throws an error - "You’ll need to download Safari to view this demo." Demos of the future of the web, using the marketing technologies of the past!

Posted by: acb Sat Jun 5 13:16:04 2010

Can't you run Safari under Wine?

Posted by: datakid Mon Jun 7 00:23:16 2010

You actually made me lol. You know, it never ever occurred to me. Given that I've already got FX, Ch, Opera, Konq, and Midori installed, the idea of using wine to install a browser extravagance? An Oddity? Heh. I also note that I'm not the first whining mongrel to feel this way:

Posted by: datakid Mon Jun 7 00:36:12 2010

Which, if I had actually followed through and rtfa before posting here, I would have discovered that it's a marketing ploy - if you go straight to the demo page in any html5 compliant browser, mostly it will work (apart from the non web standard stuff :) )

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.