Today's Web programmers face a big choice when it comes to fancier
aspects of their sites: HTML or Flash? One start-up hopes it can bridge
the gap with a technology called FluidHTML.
The start-up, FHTML, announced software Monday at the TechCrunch50 conference that's intended to give HTML-style programmers the ability to use Flash features.
FluidHTML's language is an extension of HTML, the company said. "We
borrow a lot of the really good ideas from HTML, because why wouldn't
we?" said Chief Executive Michael Collette at the conference.
The approach holds some promise--but it also poses some risks. It
may be complicated trying to get HTML and Flash programmers to work
together, but at least those are established disciplines. FluidHTML
requires a language known by neither set of coders right now, and the
technology is supported just by a start-up still seeking its own
programming staff and $1 million to $2 million in venture funding.
HTML, the traditional language of the Web, got its start showing
just text and images with basic layouts. The second, begun by
Macromedia and now led by Adobe Systems, is better suited for
animations and flashy graphics, video, and increasingly, applications
But a different set of programming skills are required to build
Flash-powered sites or applications, so it doesn't always coexist
easily on the same Web site. Programming is getting even more
FluidHTML relies on a Flash software module that programmers
can embed in their Web pages. It interprets the HTML-esque code to
supply Flash features such as vector graphics, sound, and video.
"The markup language supports very powerful commands (tags) and
can do remarkable things that take enormous development effort in
Flash," the company said. "FluidHTML RIAs (rich Internet applications)
can be developed by less expensive programmers and require fewer
man-hours to build than Flash."