[whatwg] video element not ready for prime time

Kit Grose kit at iqmultimedia.com.au
Thu Jan 12 16:32:07 PST 2012

On 13/01/2012, at 4:46 AM, Francis Boumphrey wrote:

> Firstly if I use a video with the src attribute
> e.g. <video src='myvideo.mp4' controls>
> and my user agent does not support the format, all I get (in my versions of
> Opera and Firefox) is a blank screen. No message (as I would get with
> <embed>) and as far as I can see there is no way for me as an author to
> know that the video is not being played so I cannot code a 'write around'.

I brought up this same concern in Dec 2009 and Hixie seemed to concur:

On 9/02/2010, Ian Hickson wrote:

> Indeed, if we can't get a common codec, the spec as written today is not 
> a particularly good design. If we really can't solve this problem, then 
> we'll have to introduce a declarative way of saying "if you can't play any 
> of the videos, here's what I want you to do instead" -- but hopefully we 
> won't have to go there.

(see http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2010-February/025028.html)

I'd argue that while we did receive in WebM "a common codec" it does not enjoy the sort of universal adoption required to be able to mandate its support in the spec, so on that logic, I think establishing a declarative fallback mechanism is probably required to prevent a situation where you cannot write a robust HTML5 page with video and without resorting to JS.

—Kit Grose

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