Via Arve. Opera releases the first Beta for Version 9 of their browser today. Big news from my perspective is support for the audio object.

Obviously I haven't spent enough time looking at the Web Applications 1.0 (HTML5) spec, so this was an eye opener for me. Once we get over the graphics hump in the browser, the silent (no pun intended) stumbling block for producing a quality gaming experience in the browser is audio. Ironically this is something I planned to blog about soon so this news is rather timely (and thankfully, avoids some embarrasment on my part).

Some folks (like my cousin, Scott) have got around this current browser limitation by making JavaScript audio libraries that sneakily use Adobe's Flash underneath.

Personally, I was eagerly awaiting browser implementations of SVGT 1.2 (which has not yet been released as a Candidate Recommendation) where audio and video media can be embedded/triggered. As of today, no browser has made mention of supporting SVG 1.2.

On a somewhat related sidenote: Some have questioned what audio is doing in a graphics specification in the first place, but members of the SVG Working Group have stated words to the effect that "SVG" is just an acronym and the specification is now extending beyond the realm of just "graphics" and into the realm of a more complete RIA specification for mobile devices (as well as desktop browsers). In my mind, it begs the question of what the Web Applications Formats Working Group will do and how the WHATWG's HTML5 fits into the picture (if at all).

Hey, at this point, I don't care where/how it's implemented, just give me the cross-browser capability for Pac-Man to make "gobble" sounds.

If I have to cast a vote, I say browsers should go with the HTML5's audio object because SVGT 1.2 will be a long time coming. So I think it would be great if other browsers pick up on this and provide support for the audio object. The capabilities look a little crude at the moment (play a sound, loop a sound, stop a sound and only via script) and the spec does not specify a required format that browsers must support (WAV format is mentioned in the examples).

If enough browsers pick up support for for audio and graphical capabilities this would be a way for OpenLaszlo to get DHTML targets at parity with Flash-based output targets. Something I've been thinking heavily about lately.

Congratulations to Opera on being first to implement this. I bet it catches other browser developers by surprise...

§250 · April 20, 2006 · Ajax, Laszlo, Opera, RIA, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · · [Print]

5 Comments to “Audio In Web Pages”

  1. Rob says:

    I do wish that SVG would stick to graphics and put stuff that’s not about vector graphics (even tangentially) like audio and networking in another document, but at this point it’s beyond stupid that there’s no standard way to deliver sound across browsers.

    If other browsers will support it, then I’ll definitely use the audio tag. And for platforms that don’t I’ll try Scott’s JavaScript/Flash thing. I just don’t like the idea of doing a Flash-only solution.

  2. Jeff Schiller says:

    FYI: audio is not a tag. It’s only accessible via script…

  3. Why would you need an element anyway? Games are mostly scripted so…

  4. Jeff Schiller says:


    I agree. When I first read the HTML5 spec, my thought was: what if I want to use it declaratively and don’t want to script its invocation (like the media01.svg example at There is power in declarative programming (especially with auto-generation of code), but with power comes great complexity 😉

    In the short term, I think the HTML5 provides a very quick and simple solution.

  5. Jonny says:

    Not that it really is that relevant, but Opera does actually support an ‘audio’ element (in the VoiceXML namespace) by virtue of supporting XHTML+Voice. It is nothing to get highly excited about, in practice it is the VoiceXML equivalent of ‘object’ limited to (you guessed it) audio.