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Latest HTML5 convert: YouTube

YouTube is a "good get" for HTML5, and perhaps a sign of things to come.

The gradual expansion of HTML5-powered technology across the Internet has been ongoing for years now. Ever since Apple made the calculated decision that its devices could get by without Adobe Flash, the pressure has been on for content providers to find a new way forward. As a language that does not require a plugin to display correctly, HTML5 has stepped up to take that mantle. Powering through its early challenges such as a lack of compatibility with old Web browsing software, HTML5 has proved its case among an increasing group of developers. Now, large companies are changing their programming guidelines to incorporate the language.

YouTube's new default
As Engadget recently reported, another major website has decided to make HTML5 the default, rather than an option. Video streaming titan YouTube is now based in HTML5 for new browsers that support it. The source explained that the list consists of Google Chrome, Apple Safari 8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 11. While the basic release of Firefox isn't supported, the beta version is, meaning functionality is likely just an update away. This change is major, considering the enormous popularity of YouTube as a platform. A huge element of the Web is now powered by HTML5, showing the viability of advanced content written in this language.

The source noted that for years, YouTube stuck with Adobe Flash. However, that process was laden with bugs, meaning informed users may have been eager for the site to make the switch. Similar sentiments could convince other companies to make the Flash to HTML5 switch in the months ahead. Engadget reported YouTube staff decided to make the change now because they have become satisfied on the whole with HTML5, whereas before they may have considered it too raw. The functionality of video powered by HTML5 has matured, with the source citing a good fullscreen experience and live transmission support as key features.

The battle to accept HTML5 as a general content standard has expanded beyond the desktop PC environment. As Engadget indicated, there are many video-centric devices such as set-top boxes with HTML5 acting as part of the infrastructure. This could be a good indication that developers of apps will double down on their commitment to coding in the language. Attempts to reach individuals across platforms are simpler when each piece of software can be developed once and tweaked rather than rebuilt wholesale. In fact, Engadget used the YouTube switch as a jumping-off point to wonder when Flash will vanish from the IT landscape overall.

Google's big experiments
The fact that YouTube is owned by Google makes its conversion all the more important. That tech giant controls a huge number of Web tools, and its decisions therefore carry weight. A quick look at the Google Play Music control panel confirms that HTML5 is in place as an experimental feature in this service as well. While the feature is still considered unfinished and Google concedes that the option may not always work as of now, the intent is clear. As more functions become possible without any Flash support and device-makers decide against the Adobe plugin, the future of HTML5 grows more secure.

Digital Content Development
Information Technology

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