At the 9th Annual SVG Open Conference this week, Silicon Publishing ( presented a prototype for an HTML5 version of their Silicon Designer online editing platform.

The reference implementation of Silicon Designer, expected mid-2012, will be free to all licensees of the original, Flash-based, version, and will include both Flash and HTML5 versions of the web client. Chad Siegel, director of Product Management at Silicon Publishing, expressed satisfaction that “this will be a milestone that both validates and coincides with HTML5 coming of age.”

Instead of accommodating all browsers that support HTML5, Silicon Designer will target Webkit, the engine that powers Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Adobe AIR. The Webkit and Flash forms of Silicon Designer will vary only in terms of the web client, with shared tooling for document setup and rendition for print, says Siegel. This is made possible by what Silicon Publishing calls the “render-agnostic document model.”

“Deploying the Flash player and Webkit with parallel forms of the same application lets us reach the entire browser base, from legacy computer browsers to the full spectrum of mobile devices, without degrading user experience. We write once, and don’t have to test everywhere,” says Max Dunn, Silicon Publishing CEO and co-founder. “Our approach is: ‘Flash where Flash goes, HTML5 where Flash doesn’t go.’ And we don’t see Flash going away anytime soon in the online editing space; it still provides the richest experience in many contexts. Targeting the most powerful media available on each distinct client lets us ensure the optimal user experience across all devices.:

Silicon Publishing’s signature product for online editing, Silicon Designer was released in September 2009. Over 20 Silicon Designer implementations are deployed or in the works, with either Flash or HTML5 front-ends for web authoring and Adobe InDesign Server or Adobe Scene7 Web-to-Print back-ends for print composition.