HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue


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HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue

  1. 1. HTML5: The Code to Maximizing RevenueThis whitepaper was completed on December 9, 2012.Maximize the Value of Your Content
  2. 2. 2When Tim Berners-Lee first cooked up the WorldWide Web in 1991, he included an easy-to-useformatting language suited to the borderlessnature of the Internet: hypertext markup language,or HTML. Over the years, HTML has served Webdesigners well, evolving as Websites incorporatedincreasingly varied design elements and rich mediafunctionality.Problem was, that very complexity eventually began to undermineHTML’s openness and usability. Coding became a chore as commands wererendered differently on different platforms. The ability of design featuresto flow seamlessly across desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets becamedifficult without building in redundancies and frequent updating of designand coding work.Today, with older rich media software such as Flash not supported on iPhoneand iPad, it has become more important than ever to create a new, streamlinedlanguage for the Web.Enter HTML5. Based on an Extensible Markup Language (XML) structure, alanguage developed to bring simplicity and adaptability back to Web coding,HTML5 offers the ability to build in semantic cues – instructions that expressthe use and context of a design element rather than laying out highly specificinstructions for the appearance of something. This ability makes HTML5 easy towork with and highly adaptable to operating systems, software platforms, devices,and interfaces. Critically, it is designed to work with technologies of the future aswell as those we are familiar with today. It is, simply put, the key to future productdevelopment, content delivery, and revenue opportunities in publishing.HTML5: The Format of the FutureConsumers increasingly expect to consume media seamlessly across devicesand platforms without delays, formatting problems, or compatibility issues.Developers look for scalable, efficient, cloud-based means of creating anddelivering content. HTML5 allows all concerned to “leverage the strength of adelivery device — whether tablet, laptop or smartphone — as well as the serverwhich is serving up the HTML5 content,” according to John Wheeler, Senior VicePresident of Strategy and Emerging Technologies at SPi Global.HTML5 and related specifications — the Open Web Platform — is rapidly becoming the universalarchitecture for rich interactive content experiences. ePub3 extends the Open Web Platform toencompass downloadable offline-capable eBooks and portable documents. IDPF will continue tocollaborate closely with the W3C and other industry stakeholders in ongoing development of the OpenWeb Platform vision and its realization in open, accessible global standards that enable publishers todeliver their premium content as websites, native-class applications, and publications.Bill McCoyExecutive Director, International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
  3. 3. HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue 3Seamless delivery of content that works equally well on any platform — what Today, with older rich mediamany developers call “responsive design” — allows rich media such as audio, software such as Flash notvideo, and interactive assets to be delivered through Web apps or HTML5-enabledbrowsers without needing downloaded or embedded media players. Geolocation supported on all mediaand tracking data can flow back to the server to enhance product functionality, devices, it has become moreand social media can be seamlessly integrated into Web-based content shared important than ever to createacross all platforms. Abandoning the “walled garden” environment of downloaded a new, streamlined languageapplications also has distinct SEO advantages, because only one set of search for the Web.criteria is needed to make content discoverable across platforms.Because HTML5 is XML-based, it supports all modules of CSS3, the language usedto program the look and formatting of websites, as well as other XML-basedformats, such as ePub3 (ePub defines a means of representing, packaging andencoding structured and semantically enhanced Web content — including HTML5,CSS, SVG, images and other resources — for distribution in a single-file format.Reference: Javascript, a key component of HTML5, is rendered easier to usebecause many things that used to require heavy Javascript programming can nowbe done straight in HTML5.Growing PainsWhile the promise of HTML5 to take publishing into a new era of platform-neutralcontent distribution is real, there are still many steps left to take before this can berealized. Most importantly, HTML5 is still in development, and will not be ready forfull deployment for a few more years. According to SPi Global’s John Prabhu,Vice President, Solutions Architect, this should not dissuade publishers frombeginning to use HTML5 — it is, by design, iterative, meaning it will undergocontinuous development and nothing built in HTML5 now will be made obsoleteby a later, “final” version. Developing new products and interactive assets aroundHTML5 and beginning the process of enriching older content simply makes goodbusiness sense.A second factor is the desire of some big digital media and technology playersto maintain proprietary formats. Major companies involved in HTML5development with a stake in its outcome include Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe,Google, Mozilla and RIM, among many others. Amazon, which hopes to preserveits proprietary hold over e-books formatted for the Kindle, is pulling in a differentdirection than others offering e-books rendered in ePub3 (For a list of devicessupporting ePub3, check out HTML5 allows all concernedDespite these hurdles, all major publishing industry players are implementing to “leverage the strength oflimited HTML5 functionalities even though HTML5’s planned initial full rollout willbe in 2014 ( Apple’s choosing not to support a delivery device — whetherFlash on its market-leading iPad tablets forced Adobe to begin redesigning its tablet, laptop or smartphonesuite of software products around the new language, meaning every publisher — as well as the serverneeds to prepare for HTML5-based versions of InDesign, Quark and other major which is serving up thedesign and production software. Newer browsers such as Google Chrome support HTML5 content.”HTML5 (browser support on HTML5 – andare being optimized for sophisticated browser-based functionality, which will John Wheelerallow Web apps to work like fully-functioning desktop applications within the Senior Vice President, Strategy and Emerging Technologiesbrowser window, rather than being limited by conventional browser controls. SPi Global
  4. 4. 4 HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue Critical for book publishing is the development of Readium (, an HTML5, CSS3, and Java-based ePub rendering engine that aims to provide an open-format solution for book reading on a variety of platforms. Readium was recently added to the Google Chrome Web store as a plug-in; on Chrome, it brings to life some of the functionality that points to the future of Web interactions: buttons, customization tools, and buy-within-the-app features previously seen only on proprietary, downloaded software.The combination of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript has finally reached the point where publishers donthave to worry so much about separate formats for development, storage and distribution. A singlemaster file can provide a similar, accessible experience across all platforms and environments whetherthey be controlled, browser-based, or client based. It also allows for much easier integration with thesocial media, assessment and learning management systems that are so necessary in todays educationenvironment. Finally publishers can deliver features that were difficult to achieve including interactivegraphics, equation graphing, rich media (audio, video, etc) and multi-layer markup across layers.There are certainly challenges ahead in achieving full penetration of HTML5 not the least of which arethe creation of effective authoring tools and the development of "code competence" on the part ofdesigners, editors and other staff, but these are well worth perseverance in implementation.Ken BrooksSVP, Global Production and Manufacturing Services at Cengage Learning Benefits for the Book Market The benefits of HTML5 and ePub3 are compelling for those reading books on e-readers and tablets. As already glimpsed in applications like Readium, the end-user experience can be enhanced by the ability to serve up rich media through the cloud via sophisticated new browsers and Web apps, avoiding prohibitive download times and storage limits. Features such as streaming video, text-to-speech, geolocation, drawing tools and spectographics, interactive material such as quizzes and content updates — all are facilitated and enhanced by HTML5. In addition, the always-connected nature of Web-based applications allows for real-time insight into what and how people are reading, and allows servers to “push” related content. More and more publishers are seeing the value in a seamless, cross-platform publishing solution. According to a survey conducted among nearly 500 individuals in the publishing industry by Book Business magazine and SPi Global in August 2012, 26% of respondents said they are using HTML5 as a rich media format, compared to 18% using Flash (56% did not know). All indications are that circumstances will bring the number using Flash down: 56.6% of respondents said that not having content supported on new media devices like the iPad was their main complaint about their current rich media format. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they are considering migrating to HTML5, compared to only 11% who said they are not while 35% were not sure. The number one reason to stick with a rich media format other than HTML5 was reported to be the fact that legacy content exists in an earlier format. While this may prevent some from making the leap, it’s a bad long-term decision. Sooner or later, when all browsers and devices are HTML5-optimized, legacy content will have to be converted and new content produced in HTML5.
  5. 5. HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue 5 What rich media format do you use?* Will you consider migrating to HTML5?* 26% 54% uses HTML5 will migrate to HTML5 18% 11% uses Flash will not migrate 56% 35% other, doesn’t know not sure * According to a survey conducted among nearly 500 individuals in the publishing industry by Book Business magazine and SPi Global in August 2012.Migrating to HTML5It’s generally agreed across the industry that companies not already strategizingfor HTML5 conversion need to begin. Patrick Cox of Codrops, “in order to furtherdemystify HTML5 and help these knuckle-dragging designers and developersto jump on the bandwagon,” identifies 10 reasons to convert to HTML5:(1) accessibility (for screen readers), (2) video and audio support (no need forthird-party players), (3) the “doctype” tag (allowing coders to avoid complexattribute markers), (4) cleaner code, (5) smarter local storage, (6) better Web userexperience, (7) game development, (8) cross-browser support, (9) optimal mobilesupport, and (10) “it’s the future – get with it!”But just how exactly do publishers and developers “get with it” when it comesto preparing for HTML5?The fundamental step, according to Prabhu, is preparing content semantically.“Content must be structured semantically because new technologies comeand go,” he says. “Every six months to a year, everything changes. If publishersprepare content semantically then they are able to quickly transform into any 56.6%*new standard, whether it is ePub3 or HTML5.” This requires a platform-agnosticapproach focused around converting embedded third-party assets, as well asolder HTML4 “presentation” tags (which carry information relevant to particularcontexts) to semantic HTML5. of respondents said thatIn the midst of this, however, publishers must have a “back up plan” to not having content supportedaccommodate the fact that some browsers support HTML5 and others do not. on new media devices likeAs to when to begin the conversion process, Prabhu says it depends on the the iPad was their maincompany and its particular strategy for ROI. Many are focusing now on the toptitles in their catalog and converting the rest as needed; others are in the process complaint about their currentof converting all titles and other materials. rich media format.
  6. 6. 6 HTML5: The Code to Maximizing RevenueCritical Steps to Conversion Working with new content requires bringing together print and digital workflows. Content must be authored in a “structured” manner early in the process (during manuscript and typesetting stages) so it can be transformed seamlessly into print Print and digital and multiple digital output formats. workflow convergence Content must be tagged early and consistently, validated against DTD/Schema and business rules, and monitored through good auditing and testing practices within a workflow environment. For example, certain book elements (such as Semantic tags added chapter headings) can be tagged in more than one way, and may look correct to all content in the short term even if tagged incorrectly, but will not render properly when repurposed for future use, nullifying one of the main advantages of semantic tagging. Tagging expertise must include understanding how to make content “work” through the multiple iterations enabled by multiplatform publishing. Structured authoring pushed upstream – early in product planning and workflow Why Outsource Given the complexities, challenges, and need for a strategic approach to HTML5 conversion, most publishers choose to outsource the work to a vendor with specific expertise in the field. To facilitate conversion of rich media assets, many developers (including SPi Global) have built up a “library” for HTML5 interactions around audio and video, drag and drop, pull down lists, and all other modes of digital interactivity that will constitute the Web and mobile experience of the future. “All these interaction types have been developed in HTML5 and it’s just a matter now of putting the proper content there,” Wheeler says – which, of course, is easier than starting from scratch. SPi Global has developed methodologies and workflows for content conversion through its own Innovation Lab. Given its experience with conversion, there are few challenges SPi Global has not seen and developed protocols around. “We have a whole part of our organization dedicated to tackling timely and sticky issues,” Wheeler says. “We do that on our dime because there is way more that we need to learn about the process than we could ever charge for, so we have a corporately- supported formal methodology to drive innovation within the organization and particular product types.” Add to this domain expertise, which gives SPi Global specialized knowledge around certain types of content, especially in the education and STM markets. “In Higher Ed we know there is a semester time constraint. We know what kind of questions you will be getting back as far as how the content is used. We understand your target market,” Wheeler notes. Another key advantage is scalability. Provided with materials like original storyboards and Flash files from publishers, SPi Global can utilize a series ofhow exactly do publishers anddevelopers “get with it” when protocols to render content in HTML5 both effectively and efficiently. “We have ait comes to preparing for HTML5? number of projects that are converting Flash to HTML5,” Wheeler says. “With many thousands of media components involved, there should be an expectation that itContent must be structured is less expensive with SPi Global because these elements are scalable. The jobsemantically because new will be less expensive and we can get it done in a time frame that makes sensetechnologies come and go. for the customer.”John Prabhu In an exploding digital market, publishers want to address the widest variety ofVice President, Solutions Architect devices possible, but can have difficulty knowing which channels to prioritize.SPi Global Because there is not yet enough good market intelligence to predict which
  7. 7. HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue 7e-reader formats will win and which will lose, publishers need to be on all devices. Given the complexities,The broad-based technical knowledge and industry-wide view afforded by challenges, and need for apartnering with a service provider like SPi Global is therefore a great asset. strategic approach to HTML5SPi Global can even offer strategic perspectives in the early stages of product conversion, most publishersplanning. “As a partner, we are looking at customer’s content in a broader structureof the options available, what we know works and what does not,” Prabhu says. choose to outsource the work“So we are able to offer this technology and subject matter expertise right up to a vendor like SPi Globalfront in the design phase of the project itself.” who has specific expertise inIn addition, SPi Global is involved in many consortiums shaping the future of the field.HTML5, ePub3 and global learning standards for the book industry and IMS Globallearning standards towards eLearning. Involvement in industry-wide planningand research, along with the company’s dual expertise in technology and contentprocessing, allows it to offer a holistic perspective and range of expertise that fewothers can.The ROI QuestionWhat does this all mean for the bottom line? Knowing where to prioritizeinvestments amid a rapidly changing digital landscape is the core concern forpublishers. The business case, as Prabhu notes, is “tricky” because publishersare essentially being asked to develop interactive products for platforms, browsers,and markets that are in the early stages of being built out. Working with a vendorlike SPi Global, however, allows publishers to leverage the scale and expertise of anoutside partner in order to profitably prepare for the future.With mobile and e-book use rising rapidly, especially in the education and External referencesSTM markets, the trends are unmistakable. The only question for publishers is 1. HTML5 ( to prepare now or play catch-up later. html/html5_intro.asp)“You need to align yourself with somebody who understands [these trends] 2. ePub3 ( total, and be willing to work with them to come up with best way forward for 3. SPi Global Innovation Labyour product,” Wheeler says. ”We know ways of achieving what publishers want ( achieve.”
  8. 8. About SPi GlobalSPi Global empowers leading publishers and content providers to maximizethe value of their content online and offline by infusing technology, know-how,and innovation into their businesses. SPi Global provides its clients with acompetitive advantage by creating unique strategies in redefining a businessmodel, enhancing an existing or developing a new service offering, and increasingoperational efficiencies by introducing a system or redefining workflows.With a complete suite of digital, publishing, content enrichment, marketing,and customer support services, we help companies adapt to the rapidlychanging demands and needs of their own customers through our uniqueand innovative solutions.For over 30 years, SPi Global has been helping leading publishers, not-for-profitorganizations, information providers, and Fortune 1000 companies to increasetheir revenues, reduce costs, improve time-to-market, and automate operations.With over 500 clients and 7,000 content specialists, no job is too large for us.For more information on how SPi Global can help you maximizeyour content online and offline, please contact:Jamie IsraelDirector of Marketing, Content SolutionsM 732 662 8345jamie.israel@spi-global.comwww.spi-global.comMaximize the Value of Your Content