No mention of the 800 lbs. gorilla–codec licensing and royalties. Who is paying for all of this plugin killing? Are we relying on “proprietary” OS vendors such as Apple and Microsoft to provide a common set of codecs and foot the bill (where’s the gain in that)? What about open source solutions like FreeBSD, Linux and Open Solaris? Oh and there’s this little thing called mobile–given its ascendancy it might be the major player in this market by the time HTML 5 comes along. And you guessed it–that means some sort of standard set of codecs will need to be on all of these devices before the HTML 5 video tag means much of anything.
While we’re at it I should mention that HTML 5 developers will need a whole slew of low level media APIs that allow them to build interesting media centric functionality into their widgets and web applications. I mean, you want all those fancy playback controls, tagging ratings, searching, etc., right?
Get all of this squared away and maybe you could talk about the death of web plugins (hell, existing plugin vendors are probably more afraid of new plugins than they are of HTML 5).
Gulp, looks like the folks at Wired don’t really know what they’re talking about.
I spent a little time checking out (high level) JavaFX multimedia capabilities. You can actually boil Sun’s entire JavaFX campaign down to a single 1 second sound bite (watch video excerpt below – full video found here).
According to Sun, they have the full support of any multimedia codecs installed on the native system as well as an on2 codec embedded within the runtime (see video quote below to hear their words for yourself).
Native codec support is sort of a mixed bag of control vs utility. JavaFX wants to do everything for every system even if that means you are effectively writing system specific code and delivering uneven experiences. If you manage to actually get the JavaFX runtime installed (no mean feat) you’ll be confronted by a wonderful security dialog which seems to ignore attempts to always trust the cert.
Once you’ve run the gauntlet of JavaFX impediments, you can actually watch some “native” (h.264 .mov files) overview videos playing inside JavaFX. The problem is that the rendering of these videos is far from native–any scrolling or resizing of the browser causes the video to stop rendering (a white rectangle is painted during these movements). I’m also surprised to see Sun using MPEG4-AVC / h.264, but not using aac audio. If you’ve got native codec support why use a crappy audio codec in your videos? The video below illustrates the rendering and audio issues (3 asides: 1) I’m bound and determined to ruin AfterEffects cartoon effect–look for me to overuse it and misapply it, 2) watch in fullscreen mode for 1:1 clarity, and 3) listen half way through to hear one of my kittens snoring).
If you ever wanted evidence of how important video is today, you need look no further than than the gigantic amounts of money Adobe, Microsoft and Sun are sinking into media centric runtimes. Like Silverlight 1.0, the initial JavaFX offering is a half-baked “me too” stab at capturing some video glory. Sure media has been a glaring hole for Java and I can appreciate how all the development platforms in the universe need to provide easier development and enable richer experiences, but so far I’ve been disappointed by the same ol’, same ol’ offerings from Microsoft and Sun. I’m sorry, but “hey look at the same stuff on my platform” isn’t innovative or visionary. As we watch Detroit’s “big three” burn out, I wonder if there aren’t lessons to be learned in our own industry as the nascent “media three” rise (maybe it should be w3m–web three media).