With all the hubbub surrounding the arrival of Apple’s new, consciously Flash™-less consumer good (you know the one), there has been a fresh flurry of discussion on that old chestnut — the relative merits of Flash vs HTML.
While much of the talk has been boringly polarized (Flash is God/Flash kills baby seals and/or kittens) the sensible middle ground view reads something like this:
Flash is far too often used to make simple, useful things less simple and less useful. HOWEVER … when it comes to the more complex graphics and interactions common in games and applications, HTML — 5 or otherwise — has its in-built limits. Flash has its place there.
That certainly would have been my take, but Googlites Ray Cromwell, Stefan Haustein and Joel Webber have just released a jaw-dropping ’20 percent project’ that makes you question whether HTML5 does have natural limitations.
Incredibly, using mostly Google Web Toolkit (GWT), they’ve converted a Java port of id Software’s revered Quake 2 (Jake2) to run natively in Chrome and Safari – no plug-ins, extensions or third party tricks.
The GWTQuake project uses:
- The Canvas API as a foundation
- HTML5 audio elements for sound
- HTML5’s local storage for saving games and scores
- HTML5 Web Sockets
Now I have to admit, with a publishing date of April 1st, I did wonder whether this was just an elaborate geek joke. Apparently not. You need some tech wherewithal to get this humming, but it’s no prank.
Obviously this is a pretty raw, geeky, proof-of-concept type project, but it certainly changes my perception of what is possible with HTML5.
Bring it on.