Christian Heilmann

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Archive for February, 2011

A few HTML5 questions that need answering

Monday, February 14th, 2011

I just released the notes of my “Using HTML5 sensibly” talk over on the Mozilla hacks blog and there are a few questions that need answering by anyone who wants to be part of publishing on the web in the future:

  • Can innovation be based on “people never did this correctly anyways”?
  • Is it HTML or BML? (HyperText Markup Language or Browser Markup Language)
  • Should HTML be there only for browsers? What about conversion Services? Search bots? Content scrapers?
  • Should we shoe-horn new technology into legacy browsers?
  • Do patches add complexity as we need to test their performance? (there is no point in giving an old browser functionality that simply looks bad or grinds it down to a halt)
  • How about moving IE fixes to the server side? Padding with DIVs with classes in PHP/Ruby/Python after checking the browser and no JS for IE?
  • Can we expect content creators to create video in many formats to support an open technology?
  • Can a service like be trusted for content creation and storage?
  • Is HTML5 not applicable for premium content?

Check the detailed notes on the Mozilla blog, and – as a reminder – here are the slides and the video of the talk:

You can get the slides on Slideshare or see them here:

You can see “Using HTML5 sensibly” on any HTML5 enabled device here (courtesy of

Using HTML5 sensibly and Multimedia on the web – speaking at the London Ajax Meetup

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Yesterday night I spoke at the London Ajax Meetup about Multimedia on the web (a repeat of my MIT talk as I wanted a video of it) and “Using HTML5” sensibly.

Especially the second talk was close to my heart as I think it is high time us developers take back HTML5 from the marketing people. HTML5 is the evolution of our web technologies, not another flashy add-on to already badly used outdated practices.

You can find the Slides of the talk on Slideshare:

The audio recording of the talk is also available on

The organisers promised that the video of the talks is available soon.

I am also going to write a detailed post on Mozilla once the video is available.

Google’s playing with balls again – pretty but still no HTML5

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As just announced – the Google IO conference registration is open and they have created a very cool countdown animation:

Google I/O

In the blog post they describe the cool countdown as HTML5:

If you liked our HTML5 countdown, stay tuned for more surprises. We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments for Google I/O 2011 at the website, on Twitter (@Googleio) and Google Buzz. Get your tickets early—last year we sold out in record time!

Whilst awesome, there is not much new HTML in there right now. This time there is no need for beauitfying – the code is not at all minified or packed and includes comments – which I love, thanks guys! Seems most of the work was done by Matt King and the balls use the box2D physics engine.

Strangely enough, however it does not use the CANVAS tag for the animation (as box2d does), but instead creates images which get moved around. I guess this is a performance issue, but seeing that this MBA has its fan running after half a minute of the countdown it didn’t help too much.

Images created by the script on the Google IO site

There is also no sign of any of the new semantic HTML elements in the source – instead of header, section and footer there are DIVs with IDs. There’s a NOSCRIPT element telling people to go to to download a better browser and a screenshot of the animation if it doesn’t work for you. This is a good way of getting people excited but I don’t know why you would need a NOSCRIPT when you generate all the images of the balls anyways. Just replace this message when the page loads.

Just setting the record straight here, thanks for keeping the source open, Google!

Finally – a fold for the web (your clients can rest easy)

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

For years our clients have been confused about the elusive fold on the web. We all * know * that content should be above it but designers always squirm when we ask them about it.

Time to make it easy for designers to show their clients where the fold is. For this, I wrote a bookmarklet:

Just by showing people you can stop a lot of fruitless discussions.

(might contain irony)