An Open Letter to Mozilla Regarding Their Use and Promotion of HTML5 Video
Success! Mozilla have
published a new
article on hacks.mozilla.org describing HTML5 Video
with fallbacks and even link to Video for Everybody!
Even better news though is the actual use of Video for Everybody on a new page demonstrating
“What’s New in Firefox
3.5”! This is a great stride ahead for sensible and forward-facing video embedding in websites.
I would like to thank Mozilla for their support and putting up with my ranting, and also all those who signed the
letter and supported me on Twitter, OSNews and elsewhere on the ’Web.
The content of this letter is based upon
this blog post at the
HTML5 video is coming, and a million web-developers up and down the ’Web will be soon looking for advice and
sample code to make use of HTML5 video. Web-developers vary massively in skill and understanding of the open
principles of web-development, promoted by yourselves via the
We cannot expect all developers to understand the knock-on effect of code snippets that they are copy-pasting from
people’s sites. It is one thing to educate people with a piece of code, it is another to communicate effectively
the principles behind a piece of code. Some developers do not care, and never will—that is a fact of life.
drawbacks, counter-intuitive to the points outlined in the Mozilla Manifesto.
In other blog posts you have promoted the
<video> element as a glorified
<img> element—being fundamentally a part of the document with all the same
capabilities CSS-wise. Some
incredible examples have
been demonstrated that go well beyond what is possible with plugins.
responsible if so), the same should be true of video.
otherwise not trust. Viruses and malware have travelled far by hiding behind videos, and XSS attacks could
- Non-aggregatable, mashable
goes beyond just the traditional ‘web-browser’ and may be parsed in many ways and environments
outside of the traditional browser.
preventing the user from seeing the content.
Robots and spiders also would not be able to spider HTML5 video content if it is only present with
a TV station could be created using nothing but
<video> tags found on the
<video> largely puts a stop to mash-ups
wanting to pull video from the ’Web.
A Solution Has Been Presented
A solution for using HTML5 video with fallbacks for Adobe Flash, QuickTime and Windows Media Player that works on a
“Video for Everybody”.
The market is made up of more OSes, browsers and processor architectures than it was five years ago. More
people (especially geeks) are browsing with AdBlock / NoScript / FlashBlock than ever before. We can no
longer just assume people are going to have Flash and are allowing you to use it.
The same rules apply to video. If my platform / device / browser of choice cannot see your video, or you do
not offer me the means to download the video to view offline, then I don’t see whatever it is you’ve
got to show me.
Kroc Camen: “Video for Everybody”
It helps web-developers promote HTML5 video as an equal citizen alongside Flash and QuickTime. The necessary
video is not able to play within the browser helpful fallback text is displayed to offer the users a means of
downloading the video file, or how to get the video to play in the webpage by installing an HTML5-capable browser,
Flash or QuickTime.
This means that it is almost impossible for the user to not be able to view the video—one way or another—and
What You Can Do
I ask you to please do the following:
- Remove the content of that blog post and replace it with new content that covers two main factors:
How to insert HTML5 video using HTML and providing levels of fallback for legacy
Why providing good fallback options / text is so important to a range of users
solution rather than be a requirement
- Adopt HTML5 video (with fallbacks) across all Mozilla branded blogs, sites and ’Web properties, unilaterally
I personally don’t have Flash installed, it is—after all—an optional install, and I don’t
like what it does to my computer. It seems counter to the work you are doing providing HTML5 video
in your browser that I cannot see your
I believe Mozilla need to make a company-wide (and community-wide) commitment to using HTML5 video
in all of their ventures—past, present and future.
- Kroc Camen—camendesign.com—HTML5
web-developer, publicus defensor
- Thom Holwerda—Cogs Can
Think—OSNews Managing Editor
Developper / Programmer / Blogger
/ Interface Designer
Designer / Developer
- Mike Laughton—libdmtx.org—Occasional Web
- Jordan Spencer
/ OSNews Editor / Upstanding Blogger
- Antoni Grzymala—firstname.lastname@example.org—Systems
Administrator and integrator with a special focus on accessibility
- Kurtis Nusbaum—email@example.com—Web Designer /
Programmer / Trilinos Developer / Blogger
- Neil Santos—dpi.sourceforge.net—Head
code monkey and mad tinkerer for Qool Media
- Justin Burris—prxi.net—Interested in mobile
devices, web interfaces, AI, OSs and programming languages
- Evert Mouw—animamundi.eu—part-time system
administrator, student of medical informatics and political science
- Ricardo Governa—ricardo.governa.net—New
Technologies / Media / Telecommunications Consultant
- Torbjørn Vik
Designer / Web Designer
- Morgan Johnson—firstname.lastname@example.org—Occasional Web
- Witold Krakowski—email@example.com—System
Administrator and occasional web developer
- Fernando Medina—tunicaragua.com—Operate a
retail site with need for video
- Dave Snowdon—davesnowdon.com—Professional
- Xavier Mouton-Dubosc—dascritch.net—Freelance
- Nikolai Lifanov—lifanov.com—Network
the Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC, BC, Canada
- Marcin Szewczyk, Wodny—wodny.org—C/C++
programmer, network admin, OSS fan and occasional web developer
Admin, PostgreSQL community member, free software supporter
- Georgi Ivanov—netage.bg—Web Developer
- Andrew Pam—sericyb.com.au—Software
Developer, researcher and Open Source advocate
- C. Williams—firstname.lastname@example.org—System Admin /
- Ville Koskinen—email@example.com—Bioinformatics software
- Ross McDonald—Professional Web Developer working with open technologies, all cross platform
- Andy Elvey—Analyst / Programmer and Intranet report-writer
- Kristian Meier—Web application developer and web security analyst
- Rei Kagetsuki—Software and Hardware Design and Development
- Anthony Harris—Novice web developer and game designer
- Kiefer O. Hicks—bleeding edge web programmer
- Loris Cuoghi—Occasional Web developer
- Fernando Scandolo—Web app developer
- Markus Ingalsuo
- Kirby Dunsmore
- Robert Watkins
- L.J. Boatwright
- Ryan Quinn
- Steven Rowat