I am almost starting to feel sorry for Adobe Flash. First it was Steve Jobs, now everyone is starting to recognise the inherent limitations of the proprietary multimedia platform.
The Apple chief executive took a swipe at Flash earlier this year, suggesting the development tool is poorly designed, has security concerns and is ill equipped for the mobile age.
Action was tough, with Apple banning Flash from its iPhone in 2007 and its iPad in 2010. I wrote in November that the attractiveness of the platform would undoubtedly be affected by Apple’s decision.
That would have been bad enough. But then it seemed everyone else turned up to give Flash a good kick in its multimedia platform. Such a backlash centred on the next-generation we framework HTML5.
Microsoft, a long-time defender of its own development framework Silverlight, has started to show open support for HTML5. Google has added HTML5 support for video playback and Facebook, with Facebook also going with the standard to provide video on Apple devices.
Such moves help illustrate how organisations are keen to break away from third party plug-ins. What once seemed normal, even convenient, now seems painful – users and suppliers want everything at once and they don’t want to rely on yet another multimedia platform.
It’s been a tough fall from grace for Flash. As well as the aforementioned ability to view movies, Flash also boasted a range of other snazzy and original features. Like video, Flash was able to support rich graphical applications and games. Once again, its originality has been trumped by HTML5.
Where Flash once offered a means to cross-browser reach, HTML5 provides a standards-based approach that is hooking in vendors and removing the necessity to rely on plug-ins.
HTML5’s additional ability to support the running of applications offline provides another significant benefit and a further break from a reliance on workarounds like Flash, Google Gears and Microsoft HTML Applications.
In short, HTML5 has the big backers and the big technology. It is a standards-based approach to web development that is paving the way for portability and accessibility, regardless of location, browser or device.
In comparison, Adobe Flash looks a bit old hat. No wonder Steve Jobs felt so frustrated. The only question is why, in the future, anyone would choose to go with Adobe Flash?
Jobs will not be alone in swerving away from Flash and towards HTML5. Get ready to switch lanes now.