Chris J Powell

To Flash or Not to Flash…the ongoing battle between Adobe and Apple

With the acceptance and building of solid working HTML5 sites that include video, games and fully interactive connections…is the leveraging of Flash on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad becoming a moot point?

Before I got my iPad almost a month ago I would have said that the dominance of an Android Tablet being able to run Flash 10.2 or better was huge.  I would sit and debate the merits with anyone who would listen, leveraging full interaction with my Facebook Time Waster games, proper connection to YouTube and other Flash enabled sites.  Post iPad Krispy is singing a slightly different tune and so is the rest of the industry.

Having played around with a few HTML5 compliant sites on the iPad I do believe now that if your browser has the horsepower that Flash will go the way of the Microsoft Bob interface and within a few years be an all but forgotten technology.  This will be the same for its main competitor for our hearts and minds from the Redmond, WA crew with their Silverlight plugin.

What is HTML5?  What can it do that Flash can’t?  Why is this relevant to me?  All valid questions and lets get into it now!

What is HTML5?
An International Member Community called the W3C is the “keeper of the code” that governs how every web page is built, the way that different browsers display content and  the “World Wide Web Consortium” is the holder of the future direction of the web that we all interact with.  HTML5 is the current generation of code that takes lines of programmer jargon and transforms it into the wonderful websites that we enjoy every day.

It is part of a group of Standards that have been built to make the web more uniform and Open.  The W3C is open to input and here are a few of the areas that the govern:

HTML5 is the backbone of most of the future projects and from their own description:

HTML is the language for describing the structure of Web pages. HTML gives authors the means to:

  • Publish online documents with headings, text, tables, lists, photos, etc.
  • Retrieve online information via hypertext links, at the click of a button.
  • Design forms for conducting transactions with remote services, for use in searching for information, making reservations, ordering products, etc.
  • Include spread-sheets, video clips, sound clips, and other applications directly in their documents.

With HTML, authors describe the structure of pages using markup. The elements of the language label pieces of content such as “paragraph,” “list,” “table,” and so on. 

What can HTML5  do that Flash Can’t?

As a standard that is still being built it is not the interactive interface that Flash is but this is where its strength lies.  No plugin necessary.  Nothing extra to download.  No more waiting for IT to update your browser so that you can actually do what you “want to do”.

Here is a sample of progressive web designers who have embraced HTML5 and are already ahead of the next big thing on the web.

But what can you expect from your unmodified Browser??? Well check this out:
Some of the exciting features proposed in the spec for me are:

All things that currently you need something else to do for your webpage (ie a plugin) to both build and to view.

Why is this relevant?

For most people their interaction with the web is open a browser and surf.  For business, for pleasure…to waste time or to get information.  Does it matter to the majority how or why Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari do their job.  Absolutely not, the same way as we look to our cars as a tool to get us from point A to point B…we want it to work and all we should have to do is put more GoGo Juice in it.

My point though is that as we put our eggs into one basket and while I agree with the concept that baking all the “nutritional goodness” into the underlying code of a website is good…putting too much control into one area can also be a bad thing.

Flash had some notable vulnerabilities that Adobe for the most part was able to plug with updates to their plugin but what happens when not if there is a vulnerability in the underlying code of a webpage.  This is the core of the Interwebs we are talking about.  A webpage can be cobbled together in a few minutes but what if you accidentally or intentionally place an exploit into the main webpage….not as a cookie or as plugin but as the basic structure of the code.  It can’t be changed and depending on your browser it could be a hole into the heart of your personal information…just something to think about.

Well, the weekend is almost here and that means for me that my daughter will be registering for her new sport…FULL CONTACT FOOTBALL (no not European Soccer – the full on helmet wearing, shoulder pad gripping, skull crunching football).

For anyone who is wondering about the future of Girls, Women, Females in this sport…check out the reigning World Champs from here in Canada: Montreal Blitz

Wish us luck on getting a good coach.


Chris J Powell

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