Long-time business partners Google and Adobe cosied up pretty close last week at Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, where Adobe unveiled its HTML5 development kit and announced that it will use Google’s newly open-sourced VP8 video codec.
Adobe’s adoption of VP8 means that web developers will be able to use the codec to encode video and then view it via Flash or HTML5. Google open-sourced the codec shortly after it acquired the technology by purchasing video compression company On2 Technologies for $124.6 million.
All of this was good news for both HTML and Flash developers, concerned about the future of Flash and Adobe’s slowness to incorporate HTML5 into its hefty bag of tricks.
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said HTML5 is a great move forward for HTML and for the web, noting that the new kit will give Adobe developers more options to create, deliver and optimize web sites.
The Adobe HTML5 Pack is an extension to Adobe existing HTML editing kit, Dreamweaver CS5, which was released a few weeks ago.
One of the key enhancements in the kit is new code hinting for HTML5 and CSS3 designed to enable Dreamweaver users to "easily" make use of new HTML5 tags.
The kit also includes WebKit engine updates and improvements that support video and audio in Dreamweaver CS5's Live View. New CSS3 capabilities allows users to more easily design multiscreen web pages, with previews of how they will render across multiple browsers and devices.
As well, the kit includes HTML5 starter layouts to the New Document dialog box in Dreamweaver CS5.
The addition of HTML5 support is a smart move for Adobe, said IDC software analyst Al Hilwa.
“As one of the biggest tool providers, Adobe needs to give its developers choices, Flash and HTML5,” said Hilwa. “Flash and HTML5 are not an either/or debate. Developers want to be able to use both.”
The world of web development at the moment is like the beginning of ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ said David Powers, founder and developer, Foundation PHP. “It’s the best of times, and it’s the worst of times.”
Powers said HTML5 and CSS3 promise the next major leaps forward for the web, noting that roughly half the browsers in current use have no support for HTML5 and minimal support for CSS3.
“The new kit builds on Dreamweaver’s greatest strength, its extensibility,” said Powers.
Rather than try to second-guess or dictate what the future standards are going to be, Adobe has created a flexible tool that can be rapidly adapted to reflect real-world developments in standards and browser support, said Powers.
“Even for developers hesitant to move to HTML5 and CSS3, the Multiscreen Preview in the HTML5 Pack is a real eye-opener, allowing you to see at a glance what your website looks like at different screen sizes,” Powers added.
“Sites that don’t look good on mobile devices are going to lose out, regardless of whether they’re using HTML 4.01 or HTML5,” said Powers. Although the Multiscreen Preview is primarily intended for HTML5 development, it’s just as valuable for working with existing standards, he noted.
“By adding support through an extension, rather than hard-baking it into the core program, Dreamweaver should be able to keep pace with developments as the specifications and browsers evolve,” said Powers.