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The HTML <video> element needs to go back on the drawing board

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We’ve had the HTML <video> element for over a decade. Yet, everyone still defaults to embedding YouTube frames instead of hosting their own videos. The underlying problem is that the <video> element isn’t suitable for embedding short video files on webpages.

This post does a good job explaining why the <video> element is so hard to work with, especially for small videos. It doesn’t have the expressiveness of the <picture> element and adding expressiveness requires at least 300kb of JavaScript which is overkill for a short video.

There was an interesting note on the poster attribute which specifies the video’s thumbnail and how it should support multiple image formats1 and sizes.

It would be great if browser vendors could look into fixing this element because while it’s good enough to replace GIFs2, it’s bad as it is right now.


  1. You could try HTTP content negotiation for this. ↩︎

  2. I’m making a big series on this so stay tuned. ↩︎

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