I have a love and hate relationship with YouTube. While the idea is awesome and clearly a huge success, so much that it end up in pop culture, I always hated it because of Flash. I hate Flash, as I believe it does not belong to the openness nature of the web. I got called names for that, including "Apple fanboy". Seriously? I hated Flash before even the iPhone and Steve Jobs just happen to agree with me. ;-)

Now, YouTube supports, in an experimental way, HTML5 video. With Google backing WebM, most of the YouTube content is now encoded in WebM like they have been H264 for a while[1]. To make things more awesome and useful, my favorite browser, Firefox 4, supports WebM natively.

Just visit the Youtube HTML5 opt-in page.

While so far I refused to link to Youtube, some may have noticed I starting to doing so; and only when I can view the video myself. You can also embed using IFRAME[2].

But this is not without hurdle. The experimental HTML5 still have some very rough edges. There is no way to know if it is enabled without visiting the page. Sometime it deactivate itself, sometime the video is just not available in HTML5 because there are ads. Gotcha. Ads. Anyway. In neither case you know why there is a placeholder (or why it loads Flash). These are probably easily fixable by YouTube: just add a little indicator saying HTML5 and a message when it has to fallback on Flash.

As an alternative, vimeo supports HTML5 natively for quite a while but they wrongly assume HTML5 is H264 only. Does not work in Firefox. Bummer. They suck.


[1] which is what the apps for both Android and iOS use

[2] but I'm not sure of all the privacy implications