[whatwg] <video> element feedback

Sander Tekelenburg st at isoc.nl
Wed Mar 21 05:43:51 PDT 2007

At 09:25 +0000 UTC, on 2007-03-20, Ian Hickson wrote:


> [...] I completely agree that on the long term this is something we need to
> offer. However, we musn't bite off more than we can chew. There are
> several sets of use cases, some of which require browser-provided UI, and
> some of which need just video playback under the control of the author.

I thought the idea of the Web was that the user is always in control (because
the author cannot know the user's browsing environment). Why would authors
ever have to be in control?


> If JS is turned off, applications won't work. :-) Just like when you turn
> JS off and try to use Google Calendar, or turn off Flash and try to use
> YouTube.

If <video> is to be a first-class Netizen, it'd better not be
javascript-dependant. Currently Flash and QT plug-ins handle embedded video
just fine without JS (unless when misguided authors purposely made it
javascript-dependant). If <video> is specced to be javascript-dependant, you
make it too difficult for both users and authors. I'd have to vote against
that. Simply <video src="URL"> should suffice. (I'm all for allowing more
sophisicated things through javascript, just not for *dependancy*.)

Something else concerning first-class Netizenry: I'd like to see the spec to
require UAs support implicit anchors, so that one can link to a specific
startpoint: <URL:http://domain.example/movie.ogg#21:08>, to mean "fetch the
movie and start playing it at 21 minutes 8 seconds into the movie". (Or
better yet, if this can be achieved reliably, don't fetch the entire movie,
but only from 21:08 on.)

Without this/currently, video consumption just costs too much time. It's
usually much more practical to deal with text, because users can imediately
go to the part they're interested in. With video (and audio) you are forced
to watch the whole thing to find out if there is anything interesting. It
seems to me that's one of the main reasons video is very much a second-class
Netizen today.

Note that such an implicit anchor mechanism would in a sense make <video>
even better than text, because this wouldn't require authors to bother to
provide anchors. The less work for authors, the better the chance at
first-class Netizenry.

(Btw, the same mechanism could be used to, through cookies, or even through a
cache-like local mechanism (and thus again not author-dependant), allow UAs
to provide a bookmarkish function for a "start playing from where I left last
time" feature.)


> I agree that <video> needs a standard UI (in v2, at least).

It needs it right from the start, in v1.0. Without it, it would be like a
browser without its own back button, relying on authors to provide such

IMO this is no different than CSS being icing on the cake. It's nice to allow
authors to suggest UI-styling and even add functionaility, but it's a mistake
to make basic functinality (start, stop, pause, (fast)forward, etc.)

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>

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