Tag Archives: HTML5

Zuckerberg Says Choosing HTML5 over Native for Mobile Was Facebook’s Biggest Mistake, Promises Native Android App

FacebookAlmost four months after Facebook’s disastrous IPO, Zuckerberg finally broke his silence at TechCrunch Disrupt. Speaking to Arrington, Zuckerberg described the stock performance as ‘disappointing’, and shed his characteristic indifference towards Wall Street in an attempt to win back the confidence of investors who have been hurt by the sliding Facebook stock. However, the most interesting revelation came when Arrington enquired about mobile web, which is often highlighted by analysts as Facebook’s biggest challenge.

When I’m introspective about the last few years I think the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native… because it just wasn’t there. And it’s not that HTML5 is bad. I’m actually, on long-term, really excited about it. One of the things that’s interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile Web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined. So mobile Web is a big thing for us.

Last month, Facebook doubled its iOS app’s speed and responsiveness by ditching HTML5 in favor of native. The significant overhaul of Facebook’s iPhone app left Android users, who have long been treated as second class citizens by Facebook, disappointed once again. However, Zuckerberg has promised that a similar native Android app is on the way.

Zuckerberg also dismissed Facebook phone as “the wrong strategy”, but hinted that search might be something that Facebook will eventually get around to doing. Facebook’s deep integration into the fabric of the World Wide Web through the Open Graph enables it to collect treasure troves of metrics that can lend it a decisive advantage in deciphering the semantic web. Zuckerberg’s belief that search is a natural progression for Facebook is precisely the reason why Google has been desperately trying to get into the social media arena.

HTML5 Based Classic Snake Game

If you are someone from the early era of mobile adopters, you might be familiar with the classic Snake game which came preloaded on mobiles starting in 1998.

Snake HTML5 Game

I remember spending hours and hours playing the game on the cellphone beating records and scores alike. In the years that followed, there were several iterations and enhancements of the games and the mobile gaming market exploded with the introduction of games like and others. However, the classic version still remains favorite of many users.

If you are nostalgic about playing the Snake game on your mobile and don’t have it on your latest smartphone, you can relive those old days by playing a version of the game online.

The classic version of the Snake game has been recreated in HTML5 using JavaScript and CSS. The game is not only fun, but also goes on to show the power of the next generation of HTML. If you are someone who is looking to relive those old memories, you can also  play the Snake game online.

Have you played the Snake game on your mobile? If so, do let me know your thoughts on what you thought of the game back in the days.

Also See: Microsoft Releases HTML5 Version of Cut the Rope for Free

Windows 8: A Fantastic Opportunity for Developers

Windows 8 Start Screen

There has been a lot of discussion about Windows 8, Metro-style apps, Intel vs ARM, etc., from the time Windows 8 Developer Preview was released at //build/ last year. A lot of the discussion and debates have to do with unclear communication and secrecy from the Windows team at Microsoft. For example, what exactly is the deal with Windows on ARM devices? Are they going to be a hard cutoff from today’s Windows and not have a desktop experience at all, or will they have a desktop experience? Will the desktop experience be open for all developers or only certain developers (like Microsoft Office) to provide signed apps for ARM which use a restricted desktop?

(Ed: On February 9, Steven Sinofsky posted details about Windows on ARM on the Building Windows 8 Blog, so some of the secrecy has been taken away. However, the points made here are in fact reinforced by the details revealed in the post.)

Those discussions and speculations aside, I truly believe Windows 8 is a huge opportunity for developers. In this post, I will tell you why I believe so. First of all, some math: According to Canalys, there were 415MM PCs sold in 2011. This is after accounting for a decline in sales per original projections! Even though smartphones have exceeded the number of PCs sold, that PC sales number is still a very large number.

Now, let’s assume that those 415MM PCs are split 60-40 with regard to sales to businesses vs. consumers. Taking a round number of 400MM PCs a year gives us about 160MM PCs sold to consumers a year. I am ignoring business PCs for now because let’s face it – they are not going to Windows 8 for some time, and even if they do, there is a strong likelihood of them turning off Metro via IT policies. Consumers on the other hand, won’t have the ability to turn it off, and all new PCs will ship with Windows 8 (Intel or ARM).

Microsoft Releases HTML5 Version of Cut the Rope for Free

Even though the nitty gritty of HTML5 and related technologies are still being hammered out, they are already mature enough to be used for more than just nifty tech demos. Last year, Google brought the massively popular Angry Birds to the web by leveraging the power of HTML5, and now, Microsoft has followed suit. Microsoft has partnered with ZeptoLabs to release a browser version of the mobile game Cut the Rope.

Cut-the-Rope

Cut the Rope has already proven to be a big hit in mobile app stores thanks to its addictive gameplay, fluid graphics, and satisfying physics. However, the sophistication that helped it become a raging success also made it challenging to port it to the standard web stack. Cut the Rope for iOS was originally written in Objective C and consisted of about 15 kilo lines of code. JavaScript, which is often criticized for being heavy and slow, lacks many of the advanced programming constructs available in the object oriented programming languages used on mobile platforms. Microsoft’s stance on WebGL added further complexity to the project, as in order to be compatible with Internet Explorer, Cut the Ropes had to be rendered using Canvas. Even ZeptoLabs was not sure if web technologies had what it takes to pull off the physics computations demanded by the game in real-time. However, when the devs started building the basic framework, the common preconceptions about the “slowness” of JavaScript were quickly disproved. Modern browsers were found to have sufficiently optimised JavaScript engines to be able to do heavy number crunching with relative ease.

The end result of Microsoft’s collaboration with ZeptoLabs and Pixel Lab is pure gold. Cut the Rope for the web is as fun as the mobile version, and unlike Google’s Angry Birds, Cut the Rope is truly cross-browser compliant. It is designed to run on Internet Explorer 9 and above, but I played the game at length without experiencing any difficulty on Opera 12. Firefox and Chrome might have intermittent audio issues, but are otherwise capable of providing the desired experience. It’s inspiring to see that Microsoft not only resisted the urge to use browser sniffing to block other browsers, but also put in the effort to ensure that it was playable on all major browsers. Perhaps there is a bit of lesson in here for Google, which loves to trumpet openness whenever it’s convenient.

To begin feeding candies to Om nom, head over to cuttherope.ie.

HTML5.com Now Redirects To Microsoft’s IE Website and Not Apple’s

Back in January 2011, I had reported that the HTML5.com was being redirected to Apple’s website by a fanboy. However, it looks like whoever was behind the site has had a change in mind or has started to believe more in Microsoft.

html5

The domain HTML5.com which earlier redirected to apple.com/html5 is now redirecting to Microsoft’s Beauty of the Web website which was launched during the launch of Internet Explorer 9.

Our tipster Phil said that the domain is now owned by Microsoft, however, I could not confirm this through the WhoIS record because the domain is behind is protected by a proxy.

However, whoever made the change definitely had a huge flip of mind from Apple to Microsoft. So is Microsoft going to gain more Apple users after introducing ? What do you think?

Thanks Phil

Twitter Launches HTML 5 Version of Twitter.com Aimed at iPad Users

As time goes on, we see more and more companies embracing the fact that the iPad is a force to be reckoned with. They spend there time developing apps for Apple’s tablet, redesigning content for its form factor, and even creating special versions of their sites for it. We can now add Twitter to the list of sites that have versions specifically for the Apple iPad.

Announced by @twittermobile, there is now a HTML 5 version of Twitter’s website, twitter.com, aimed specifically for the iPad. While Twitter has had an iPad app for a while now, this new user experience is designed to be used in the tablet mobile browser. It appears to be a hybrid of the desktop site and the HTML 5 based app.  It features a dual column design that is very reminiscent of the current desktop web experience.

If you prefer to use your iPad’s browser over using an app, then this is a great update for you. It is also a great example of how good a mobile web experience can be. I think other companies (Google+) could take a few notes from Twitter. The iPad offers a greater screen real-estate than the typical mobile phone, and it should be taken advantage of.

The timing on this release is pretty interesting. Facebook announced their own HTML 5 web app initiative, Project Spartan, a few months ago. While nothing has come out of that project yet, it is expected to show fruit any day now. Its possible that Twitter felt it was necessary to beat Facebook to a launch, and they have done just that.

According to Twitter, the new version of the site is not currently available to all users. I know that I could not access it just yet, but some users can. It is said to be rolling out to all users over the next week. When I manage to access the site, I will take some screenshots and post them (or someone could send me some.)

Easily Convert Flash Content to HTML5 with Swiffy

The day Google unvieled Google+, TakeOut, and launched a  new design, they also released something called Swiffy with minimal fanfare.

Swiffy LogoSwiffy is a Google Labs product and allows developers to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing reuse of Flash content on devices without a Flash player.

You can easily convert simple animations and ad banners but since the tool is still in early stages, don’t expect it to convert all flash content. You can check out the power of the tool in these examples. To use the program, you simply upload a SWF file and Swiffy returns HTML5 output. Swiffy will be really helpful for devices such as iPhone and iPad which doesn’t support Flash content. Steve Jobs has famously resisted Flash on iOS products, saying it crashes and is a battery hog. With Swiffy, that problem can be solved, allowing users access to more compatiable content  on devices, which don’t support Flash.

Swiffy Converts SWF to HTML5

It’s interested to note that Adobe released a similar tool called Wallaby, earlier this year. Swiffy is different from Wallaby, as explained by Google.

Wallaby is an installable tool that converts .fla files, whereas Swiffy is a web-based tool that converts .swf files. Wallaby focuses on reusing parts of a Flash file in HTML, and thus produces code that can be edited by the developer, whereas Swiffy generates an efficient format that is not that easily editable.

What does Adobe thinks of Swiffy? Google has an answer for that as well.

Adobe is pleased to see the Flash platform extended to devices which don’t support the Flash player. The result is that anyone creating rich or interactive ads can continue to get all the authoring benefits of Flash Pro and have the flexibility to run the ad in the Flash Player or HTML depending on what’s available on the system. Google and Adobe look forward to close collaboration around efforts like these.

Swiffy still has a long way to go, it looks promising. You converted a Flash file using Swiffy? Don’t forget to share it with us.

Google Launches New Design; Adds Black Menu Bar And Reduces Logo Size

Update: If you hate the new Black Menu Bar in Google, here is How To Disable Black Menu Bar in Google Search.

Google has been known for it’s simplistic design on their pages except for when they decide to use some fancy on it. However, apart from that their clean white interface with minimal links has been liked my numerous amounts of people.

However, off late, Google has been playing around with a lot of new design changes for their home page and search results pages. It all started when they decided to add a Bing link background to their homepage and continued with a slew of other changes including removing the “I am feeling Lucky” button, using a new design for search results and yet more, simplifying the image search results, adding top references to results and more.

New Google Homepage

The new updates were targeted towards changing the look and feel of Google and their search results. Today, they also rolled out a major update to their home page where they have made the Google logo smaller and have moved the links to the bottom of the page. They have also added a new navigation bar at the top of the page to allow users to navigate through their services.

I found the black color used in the bar a huge contrast to their homepage. I would have preferred to see the old white background with blue colored links. Right now it looks very similar to what has as a menu bar.

Google claims that its new design provides more focus to the user and is created using the latest technologies like and WebGL. Don’t expect it to work on older browsers.

Additionally, Google has also rolled out the Google+ social media service and What Do You Love which is a new search engine to find information about what you love.

 

BlueGriffon: A Cross-Platform Open Source WYSIWYG HTML Editor [Review]

The issue that most people have with creating their own website is that they don’t know how to do it. They can figure out how to get a host, a domain, and even a .com if they want it. Where they run into trouble is the part of the process where you take a design and make it into HTML (the backbone of a lot of websites.) If that is what is holding you back, then fret no more. BlueGriffon, a free Open Source WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor based on the Firefox rendering engine, is here to help.

I don’t think that its important for me to take you through the steps of implementing a design using BlueGriffon. What I am going to do for this review is let you know what I think are the biggest strengths and short comings of the software. All screenshots will be from the Mac OS X version of the software, but there are clients available for Windows and Linux as well.

What BlueGriffon Does Right

I think its best to start with what BlueGriffon gets right. In my time playing with it and testing it out, I found myself loving the ability to manipulate my images and text and have code written for me. While I have some experience writing in HTML, I sometimes find parts of it cumbersome, like arranging images. This is one of the best things about BlueGriffon, and any WYSIWYG editor. You can move things around, and the code automatically updates to reflect the changes.

One of the biggest plusses for BlueGriffon is the range of HTML that it can support. Not only does it support the more basic HTML 4 version of the standard language, but it also supports HTML 5. HTML 5 has become very popular among developers, and is considered the gold standard at the moment. One major reason for this being such a big deal is Apple’s iOS, which supports HTML 5, but not Flash, which HTML 5 is sort of designed to replace.

BlueGriffon HTML EditorBlueGriffon has also found a great price point (FREE!) for an editor of this caliber. While the stock set of features is a little bare for my professional needs, which we will talk about later, it would be perfect for an amateur just looking to set up a simple webpage. On top of being great for amateurs, its one of the first free cross-platform editors of its kind. That has a special place in my heart because, while I write and work on a Mac, a large part of my development and web design is done on a Windows machine.

What BlueGriffon Gets Wrong

BlueGriffon Add-on only

As I said above, BlueGriffon doesn’t come with all the features I look for in a web development toolkit out of the box. These features are available, but they cost money. One of the things I really need is an advanced CSS editor, which BlueGriffon offers as an ‘add-on’ for around $15 USD, or 9.99 Euros. Another add-on that I wish came with the suite is the FTP uploader. While i understand the reasoning behind selling these more advanced features as add-ons, it is sad to see them not be made free like the main program.

Another issue that I have with BlueGriffon is its lack of support for other coding languages. While I championed its offering of HTML 5, I have to shame it by saying that all it really offers is HTML and CSS. Some of the things I need to write or implement are done in JavaScript or even PHP. Neither of these are natively supported by BlueGriffon.

Final Verdict On BlueGriffon

BlueGriffon presents its self as the “next-generation Web Editor.” While I agree that it has some fo the best potential and features of any free web editor I have come across, it doesn’t exactly live up to its name. If you need to do simple HTML work, or if you are looking to write in HTML 5, then I would check out BlueGriffon. However, if you are an advanced user, then you will probably need to buy some add-ons.

It is important to note that, even with all the add-ons, BlueGriffon is one of the most affordable web editing suites around. If you are int he market for a web editor, I recommend you check out BlueGriffon. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and the download itself is Free.

Final Rating: 4/5, for a freemium model for HTML  editors.

SkyDrive Refreshed with New Features and HTML5

Windows Live SkyDrive is the underdog of Microsoft’s Windows Live suite of web services and applications since it launched in 2007. While similar services like DropBox garner a lot of fans, an iCloud announcement from Cupertino gets favorable press. However, with 25GB free storage space offered and over 100 million users, I think SkyDrive deserves better.

Continue reading SkyDrive Refreshed with New Features and HTML5