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RAD on HTML 5 and timed media

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 15:00 UK time, Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The BBC RAD team have just put up a post about their experiment's into HTML5.

As part of our work on the P2P-Next project, we built a simple HTML5 demo that works in current versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome: a sample of RAD's R&D TV with subtitles and chapter navigation. This will not work in current versions of Internet Explorer, nor earlier versions of Firefox etc.

This prototype plays video and audio without plugins, and allows jumping to chapters and 'scrubbing' within the content. It uses simple JavaScript framework to enable web page elements to be changed via individual HTML or CSS 'events', and for loosely-coupled publish/subscribe control of page components such as carousels. In particular, our JavaScript enables synchronised changes to HTML and CSS relative to a 'time parent', such as an audio or video clip, or even clock time. In addition, our solution needs to work with live events, whereby pages would be propagated in real-time.

Flash and other Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) provide something like this already via timeline scripting, but RIAs are 'black boxes', using compilers and obfuscators to hide code and data: great if you want to protect intellectual property, whereas we needed to provide a mechanism whereby data and the code acting on it were open and accessible. HTML 5 and the jQuery JavaScript framework gave us the tools we needed without requiring extra plugins or proprietary software.

So positive signs for open solutions using open standards with BBC content into the future? We certainly think so and I'm sure there's much more to come from this fresh new line of work.

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