Alpha Edition!, e-mail spelling/grammer/topic suggestions to email@example.com
The Professional Developer Series
Volume 2, Web Development
Chapter 1.4 Web Development Trends
Audio is also a continuing trend on the net, I expect that to continue, most audio players are based on flash based mp3 players these days, and you often see audo used on social networking sites particularly myspace. I will also expect to see crowd sourcing efforts with audio in the future, but I won’t clutter this book on what that might look like. Html 5 is also mandating native support for non-synthasized audio in the future.
Native Music Formats:
There is a couple natively supported audio formats in the browser; one is called .midi, although .midi media is not very good since it is an “instrumental” based media format, midi is basically synthesized music. The music generated and played from the format that is similar to a sheet of music. Thus you can’t actually “record” music and play it back in .midi, for example you could never listen to the latest metallica recording through the midi format.
If I were to compare midi to an mp3, its a bit like comparing clip art to a picture of a person. They are both images, but one is very realistic, and the other is a drawing and not so realistic. Midi music usually sounds like the keyboard music heard back in the 1980′s, and it doesn’t always sound the same computer to computer, since it is synthasized. One advantage of midi is that a 4 minute song can usually be crammed into 70k to 80k, versus a mp3 which would be a solid 4MB to 5MB. Midi, can be leveraged to add short little sounds to you web application, and it is very efficient, and relevant in that case.
The second supported format is .wav, the wav format is similar to the one used with cd-roms (cdma) that being .wav is a loss-less format meaning that .wav audio is an exact binary copy of audio (with no compression loss, as mp3′s have). While being a lossless format is great from a quality of sound perspective, compression not being available for wav format is huge issue because a wav file can consume as much as 10MB just for 1 minute of audio. Compared to mp3′s, wavs take 10-11 times as much bandwidth and disk space, thus wavs are not really used to much in internet media because of this very issue.
Video was originally leverage (as so many things are) by porn sites, but later many popular video sites started springing up all over some of the best ones are youtube, internet archive video, hulu, and hundreds more, including many that are built into blogging software like wordpress. I expect videos to become an even more populat trend on the internet. Infact the next big fronteer for video will probably be intelligently integrating and tagging, and commenting on top of the video in real-time. This will allow search engines to begin searching video based on what people tagged and commented on it. Nothing like this exists yet, but here is a simple example.
Media, and Bandwidth
If you decide to travel down the path of media, something you should be aware of is the intense amounts of bandwidth that it consumes, while media is excellent for a user experience at this time its bandwidth cost/profit ratio is not so good. Although you can often offset the bandwidth costs by uploading content to free services like youtube, and internet archive. Keep in mind though if you do this, the content service often mandates an open/free copyright of content on their system.
So really it is all about control of the content, if you are just planning on giving your content away, then upload it to a free service all you like. Although, if you absolutely need to retain copyrights, and don’t want to fumble around with all the legal issues associated with protecting your content on a free service, then you will need to host the content yourself and take a hit with bandwidth costs.
I expect that eventually a client technology will come along that will allow browsers to effectively make themselves a sort-of, bit-torrent-like type of technology which will allow for streamlined distribution of all web content including video. Several things need to happen though for that to become a reality, so you probably should not expect it to happen anytime soon (next 10-15 years).