HTML5 has been a buzzword flying around the Internet for quite some time now. We've had many people ask if our new Cirrus™ Player would be built using HTML5. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time, we decided that it was best to avoid that route. Then after, we found out that Facebook scrapped HTML5 for their iOS app after 2 years of research and implementation since there were serious performance issues with it. Firefox OS is repeating the same mistake of trying to use HTML5 for their OS. This week, we sat down with our CIO, Nick Csakany, as he discusses why we didn't use HTML5 for our Cirrus™ Player and, instead, decided on a Flash-based player.
"HTML5, a relatively recent technology, holds great potential when it comes to offering expanded support across platforms and devices. When we drew the specifications for our new v5 player, a significant effort was put into analyzing the benefits of HTML5 as it pertains to this specific application, at this point in time, and keeping in mind the still large number of computers with older browsers which do not support (in part or in whole) the HTML5 underpinnings for live media streaming. Flash, on the other hand, has a more widespread support across desktops, and using it as the media streaming component (in an otherwise strictly-validated HTML player) ensures a much farther reach than HTML5 at this time.
Having ascertained the pros and cons of each technology, including the fact that HTML5 does not offer a native way to stream the high-quality HE-AACv2 on mobile devices, a decision was made to offer the best possible experience to each listener in part, regardless of how the player is accessed - smartphones and tablets benefit from native apps, optimized to take every bit of advantage from their capabilities (such as high-resolution graphics for high-DPI - or retina - displays, for instance), while desktop players are backwards-compatible even with browsers from 5-6 years ago due to Flash's wide footprint.
Interestingly enough, this is not unlike the path Facebook has taken with HTML5 - after 2 years of development, it was decided it was not the optimum way to build their apps at this time.
I would like to end by assuring you that we like HTML5, and believe in its potential going forward; it's just that "right here, right now", Flash for desktop players, in conjunction with native apps for mobile, offers a more sensible way of reaching a greater share of listeners."