Flash Or HTML5 – Is Flash Really Dead?
Lennon and McCartney, Federer and Nadal, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. They are all great rivalries and Adobe Flash and HTML5 can now be added to the list.
A lot has been made of the competition between Flash and HTML5 over the past few years, as web developers try to decide which platform will become dominant in the future and best serve their needs.
The beginning of the debate can be traced back to 2010, when Apple's Steve Jobs posted an open letter saying that he thought HTML5 represented the future as Flash was "no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content".
He pointed out Flash was made for the PC era, whereas the mobile era is all about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards, and Flash does not perform well in any of these categories.
The big difference between the two is that HTML5 offers mobile capabilities and semantic markup and this will undoubtedly have a massive impact on online video. With advertising, shopping and entertainment all going viral, there is no doubt the web is going to be HTML5 led.
The rise of mobile
Erika Trautman, chief executive officer of Rapt Media, pointed out that as Flash is not supported by either iOS or Android, it is bound to PCs. Considering this market seems to be in terminal decline, it would appear as though the future does not look bright for Flash.
"Those in the advertising, shopping and enterprise industries are also beginning to focus their attention on mobile's importance, as well as on Flash's limitations with online video," she added.
With the Interactive Advertising Bureau recently releasing an open letter aimed at advertisers – and signed major firms such as AOL, Conde Nast, Forbes and Google – urging them to adopt HTML5 as standard for mobile ads so they run on different platforms, it would seem Flash's days are numbered.
Does Flash have a future?
Despite compelling evidence suggesting otherwise, there are industry commentators – particularly those associated with gaming – who are refusing to throw in the towel when it comes to Flash.
They point to the fact many current languages out there are trying to do what Flash has been doing for years; unified cross-platform development. They also suggest that many people are missing the crux of the debate, as they were never truly direct competitors – instead Flash was just a tool to provide developers with features that HTML couldn't.
According to a blog post on ShepHertz, Flash has always been very successful at "giving its developers the freedom to use their creativity beyond the limits". It stated developers shouldn't leave the platform just because there is a newer, shinier option on the market, especially if they've had great experiences of using Flash.
Indeed, nearly 95 per cent of browsers have Flash support, underlining just how important it is for certain sections of the computing world. One thing's for sure, this debate will not be over in a Flash!