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Apple's "HTML 5 and Web Standards" Showcase Criticized for Not Being Standard At All

by Dio Synodinos on Jun 06, 2010 |

Apple has created an HTML 5 Showcase that presents its vision for the next generation of the WWW. The fact that this page is only accessible using the Safari browser, while Apple advocates about web standards, has caused many to criticize the company’s lack of broader platform support.

The showcase demonstrates several HTML 5 capabilities and features that have to do with video, typography, transitions, audio, etc. Further more on the front page the company states that:

Standards aren’t add-ons to the web. They are the web. And you can start using them today.

The later statement falls short by the fact that the featured examples only work with the Safari browser and in the case of CSS 3D transforms demonstration, require Mac OS X Snow Leopard (Safari PC or plain Leopard won’t do).

This has caused negative reactions from prominent figures in the community:

Tim Bray: I go to apple.com/html5 and click on the demos in anything but Safari (Ffox, Chrome) and see http://tbray.org/tmp/sh5.jpg Hm?

Dion Almaer: "We are based on standards. As long as you only use our implementation." errrr http://www.apple.com/html5/

Aza Raskin: Web standards are open and reliable" says Apple in their HTML 5 showcase which blocks non-Safari browsers http://bit.ly/9LH0Uh

WebMonkey disapproved Apple decision to offer a browser specific gallery:

So much for web standards. Not only is user-agent sniffing absolutely the wrong way to determine the HTML5 capabilities of the current user, the implicit suggestion is that HTML5 is something only Apple supports. Microsoft recently published its own HTML5 showcase to hype the coming release of Internet Explorer 9, and its demo pages are viewable (and work) in any non-IE browser with the proper support. Mozilla’s HTML5 demo pages are geared to work with experimental builds of Firefox, but at least other browsers aren’t blocked, and most of the demos actually work in Chrome.

Also Haavard writing on the Opera blog, notices that the “Standards” demos actually use vendor specific prefixes for the CSS3:

Apple claim to promote HTML5 and an open Web, but the page uses browser sniffing to block other browsers, vendor prefixes for the CSS3 stuff they are using (even if other browsers support border-radius it won't work because it's coded using -webkit-border-radius), and the patent-encumbered H.264 for video. In fact, it seems that the only things that are HTML5 on that page are HTML5 <audio> and <video>.

On the other hand, some Safari Demos that demonstrate similar functionality seem to be working with the Google Chrome browser. This has lead people like Joe Wilcox to believe that this was just a marketing stunt by Apple to promote Safari:

It turns out the error message is a marketing stunt. Apple must be detecting the browser and blocking the demo to encourage people to download Safari -- and also to insinuate that other browsers are inferior. I say this because from the direct Safari Technology Demos page, the demos work just fine in Chrome.

You can find more information on browsers and HTML 5, right here on InfoQ.

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If you want to change the world, start with your self by Maxim Zaks

In my opinion there is nothing bad of showing demos on a single platform only. (The platform you tested this demo on)
I think anybody who ever made a presentation know what I mean.

Showcases should inspire and make publicity.
The showcase of Apple achieves this goals pretty good in my opinion.
The demos work pretty smooth on Safari and it would be much worse if they wasn't, as some earlier examples I saw.

Usage of showcase by Wong Franz

Showcase is tailor made to suit a kind of implementation. It is used to show what the superior side of the implementation. It only shows lack of confidence if it does not allow comparison.

Apple's HTML 5 demo done right... by Warp Design

I'm wondering what was the point of Apple's demo pages. Seems like it's more a showcase of their products than HTML 5. Plus with the lock to Safari and the use of browser specific tags it looks like we're back in 1995 with the battle between Microsft and Netscape to *own* the internet... Pathetic.

To really show something interesting, here is a rewrite of the "360" demo done right:
www.warpdesign.fr/html4/showcase/threesixty/

It's HTML 4, just like Apple's demo, and will work in anything from IE to Safari/iPhone.

Apple and the Web by Jean-Jacques Dubray

Apple chairing the future of HTML5 is a bit like asking Microsoft to chair the future of Linux. Browsers will soon join DOS prompt and Terminal in the Accessories/Utilities folder. Enduser will never settle for a subpar UX and security. Developers will never struggle again with their business model.

If you look at applications like Zillow / ZipRealty on the iPad and their Web app counter part, you understand that, in the mobile world, the UX is key and the browser will never ever be able to catch up. The choice is now in the hands (and fingers) of the end-users, not the developers or Google. So I don't see why Apple would even bother spending any cycle in that space.

Re: If you want to change the world, start with your self by S M

apple is claiming to be standard, but browser specific CSS code that apple used is not defined in the standard. so in future full implementation of standard HTML5 & standard CSS3 will not allow other browsers to run safari specific codes.

Re: If you want to change the world, start with your self by Dmitry Tsygankov


Showcases should inspire and make publicity.
The showcase of Apple achieves this goals pretty good in my opinion.


Right, now I'm feeling really inspired not to use browsers, laptops and cell phones of a certain Vendor-That-Must-Not-Be-Named :) And I'll try to make my opinion as public as possible.

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