Steve Jobs wins. He debarred Flash on Apple products to avoid his company from depending on Adobe. In the end, Adobe decided to drop the development of Flash for mobile, and with it we can see the dawn of Flash’s decline. Sticking to an open standard technology over that which is privately-owned is a smart move, and it’s no surprise why most developers stand by HTML5.
Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash:
Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.
Flash is a programming language used by programmers to enable websites and other media to display more visually engaging web pages, owned and licensed by Adobe. HTML5, on the other hand, is an open standard programming language that provides many of the benefits of Flash, carrying with it the industry standardization for mobile devices.
The biggest point of differentiation between Flash and HTML5 is that Flash requires you to download a Flash player to view related content, while HTML5 is something that your web browser can understand without any other software support. And this is a big deal that Adobe readily recognizes. The company’s been fleshing out its HTML5 support with some key developments this year, including the acquisition of Phonegap and Nitobi.
According to Binvions, some 34 percent of the 100 most popular websites used HTML5 in Q3 of 2011. Moreover, resume searches by hiring managers looking for HTML5 expertise more than doubled between the first quarter and the third quarter, according the tech job site Dice.com.
On the business side of things, one has to carefully consider whether to use Flash or not. Sit it down with your consultant to see what’s best for your website. It’s also important to take note that iPads, which don’t support Flash, are the leading tablet in the market.
While Flash has become an ubiquitous technology for certain platforms like YouTube, many companies have been toying with HTML5 to build out a strategy more specific to the mobile industry.
“HTML5 has quickly become an emerging standard for presenting content on the Web and it gives developers an effective way to provide common functionality across mobile platforms,” says Ashraf Alkarmi, Director of Product Management at Brightcove. ”But, HTML5 is still a work in progress. Various smartphones, tablets and connected devices render HTML5 differently depending on the specific version of iOS or Android they are running.
“In fact, in tests we recently ran, the HTML5 video tag generated significantly different experiences across devices and operating systems, resulting in poor user experiences and differences in advertising and analytics behavior. This indicates that any video player that utilizes the HTML5 video tag must account for major variances in these areas to ensure consistent playback and stable plug-in behavior across devices.”
But this isn’t the only side of the argument. One developer thinks that while Flash is on its last leg, HTML5 is not ready for desktops and clients. Programmers will fall back to DHTML and things like JQuery for mobile and the desktop. Therefore, AIR 3 is a seasoned alternative, according to some.
Flash isn’t dead yet, but Adobe’s announcement was a big step in that direction. And their blog post was actually about mobile development, though the media’s presented it as the death of the entire platform.
“HTML5 is the future, and companies such as TalkPoint have already embraced HTML5,” says Nick Balletta, founder and CEO of TalkPoint. ”What most people don’t realize is that there is an entire ecosystem built around the Flash platform that utilizes features that just aren’t available using HTML5. Despite the overwhelming success of the iPad, many sites still deliver content to non-iOS visitors in Flash. For example, many content distributors still provide Flash video with HTML5 fallback. Go to YouTube or Hulu on a PC. Even using a browser that fully supports HTML5, you still get a Flash stream, and there are some very important reasons for that.”