HTML5 - Game Changer
Without boring you to death on the details of HTML5, what I will say is this will be a game changer in our industry for a number of reasons.
What is the downside?
Right now, the only downside are video codecs. Sadly, there is not one standard. Video codecs enable you to view video on your computer (they exist in your player for example), and are already installed. Sometimes, you may see the infamous, "unable to play video" or "codec not installed", which means you are missing that codec. So, you have to go online to a codec directory and download the appropriate codec. Codecs exist for audio and video.
So, who uses what?
Google Chrome, Microsoft IE9 and Apple Safari supports h.264, a proprietary format. Chrome also supports VP8 - proprietary only to Google
Firefox 4.0 and Opera will support Ogg Theora, a free codec.
Can I see HTML5 sites now?
Yes and No
Somewhat: Microsoft IE9 (in beta) plus the Google Chrome Frame Installed - you can see HTML5 sites, without the Chrome Frame installed you can see only a few sites. One that you definitely cannot see is YouTube's HTML5 beta player. Opera, you can only see a few HTML5 sites.
What if I have one of those browsers, but the site is not HTML5 or supports HTML5?
No worry. If you visit a site that does not support or has implemented HTML5, the browser will automatically revert back, so that you can still view the page, the video, images, everything as you currently see it today. Even Flash.
How Superior is HTML5 to Flash?
Here are some sites, there players and examples:
Is Flash dead?
Not in the foreseeable future. Some camps have full HTML5 web page development implementation somewhere around 2012-2021, which clearly is a big gap. It will be interesting though to see how Adobe handles this battle, since it is clear that the browsers and especially Microsoft support HTML5.
In the who wins category, many people compare it to HD-DVD (Flash) vs Blu-Ray (HTML5), and we all know how that turned out.
Betamax vs DVD. End of story. Uh, and Flash isn't DVD.