A Comparison of HTML Versions

The way that we code some of the parts of our HTML has changed greatly over the years. Here we are going to take a look at a couple of those parts of HTML that have changed the most. We'll look at the proprietary versions that were needed before 1997 (as the HTML 3.2 standard did not support these at all), the HTML 4 standard (1997 - 2015?) and the proposed HTML 5 standard (where it differs from HTML 4).

Attaching Video

HTML 3.2 did not have a tag for doing this so both IE4 and Netscape 4 added their own proprietary tags. IE added an object tag with classid and codebase attributes while Netscape added the embed tag. Both required that the appropriate flash plugin be installed to play the video. They were combined together like this:

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"
codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"
width="300" height="200">
<param name="movie" value="movie.swf">
<param name="quality" value="high">
<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF">
<param name="wmode" value="transparent">
<embed src="movie.swf" width="300" height="200">
<p>Your browser does not support flash.</p>
</embed>
</object>

The HTML 4 standard adopted the object tag but replaced the classid and codebase attributes with a type attribute. All modern browsers including older versions of IE such as IE7 support the HTML 4 standard which still requires the use of a flash plugin:

<object data="movie.swf"
width="300" height="200" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">
<param name="quality" value="high">
<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF">
<param name="wmode" value="transparent">
<param name="pluginurl" value="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">
<p>Your browser does not support flash.</p>
</object>

The HTML 5 standard introduced native support for video although browsers have yet to standardise on a specific video format. By specifying three video formats in the correct order followed by a flash version fallback, HTML 5 allows you to run videos across many browsers including some that do not support flash.

<video  width="300" height="200" poster="movie.jpg" controls>
<source src='movie.mp4'
type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2"'>
<source src='movie.webm'
type='video/webm; codecs="vp8.0, vorbis"'>
<source src='movie.ogv'
type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"'>
<object data="movie.swf" width="300" height="200" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">
<param name="quality" value="high">
<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF">
<param name="wmode" value="transparent">
<param name="pluginurl" value="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">
<p>Your browser does not support video or flash.</p>
</object>
</video>

Embedding Other Web pages

The HTML 3.2 standard did not cater for displaying multiple web pages at the same time so Netscape and IE introduced their own proprietary tags for this. Netscape introduced the idea of a frameset with the pages being displayed in separate frames. IE copied that and then went a step further to introduce the iframe tag to allow one page to be embedded into another page rather than having to display them in separate frames. IE also allowed this to be done using their proprietary object tag with a different classid to that used for flash. The IE proprietary iframe version looks like this:

<iframe src="xiframe.htm width="300" height="300">
<p>Your browser does not support nested web pages.</p>
</iframe>

The slightly more modern IE proprietary object version looks like this:

<object classid="CLSID:25336920-03F9-11CF-8FD0-00AA00686F13"
data="xiframe.htm"
style="height:200px; width:200px; overflow:hidden;">
<p>Your browser does not support nested web pages.</p>
</object>

The HTML 4 standard adopted the object tag for this but again without the classid.

<object type="text/html" data="xiframe.htm"
style="height:200px; width:200px;">
<p>Your browser does not support nested web pages.</p>
</object>

The HTML 5 standard has not provided an update to the HTML 4 code in this instance.

 

This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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