Adobe's (news, site) latest release allows coders to help site visitors watch video online or on their smartphone without the infamous Flash video plugin.

Kaltura Offers the Solution, With a Minefield of Detail

The arrival of the HTML5 video tag has put Flash's lack of traction in the mobile space and its existence in the Web arena under further scrutiny. The company's response is a new widget that helps developers support the tag in compatible browsers but will drop back to Flash if it is available.

The new app uses Kaltura's open source library but is, in typical Adobe fashion, a minefield of proprietary detail. For a start, would-be users need to install either Dreamweaver or Adobe AIR to get it. Both downloads are available at Widget Exchange, Adobe's own mini app store.

"Plugin Missing" No More

Once a developer has the widget, it is used to create some extra HTML coding in their pages that will trigger the HTML5 video tag, if available, or revert to Flash if it isn't. All of this is done regardless of the supported browser or device, so it will come as a relief to mobile users who visit Flash-dominant sites and are fed up of seeing the "Plugin missing" message.

Smart coders have been able to do this already, but the widget provides a neat solution to the problem for all site builders and goes the distance when addressing the thorny issue of the lack of Flash on iPhones or iPads and its feeble performance on Android devices.

Down the Tracks

Admittedly, it will take some time for major sites to enact such a change, and since HTML5 won't really be commonplace for some years to come, this is really a little bit of future-proofing in hopes to spread a little compatibility love.

From Adobe's perspective, it makes it easier for the company to sell copies of Dreamweaver to those who wish to develop for Apple or Android products and to those existing customers who were thinking of making the move to other tools.