If you’ve ever watched a video on sites such as YouTube or played a game in a web browser (outside working hours of course..), chances are you’ve already been using Flash on the net. However, with the growing number of people using mobile phones and tablets to browse the web, there has long been a call for a more open/standard format that can handle web-based media and the like. Thanks to HTML5, this is now becoming a reality.
For those unaware – HTML5 is the next iteration of HTML (funnily enough HTML 4!), and now supports (amongst many other new features) video and audio without the need to install third-party browser plugins. This makes it much easier for both the developer to implement and the end user to well…use!
Adobe, have long been in talks (more like heated arguments) with Apple over the release of their Flash plugin on Apples mobile operating system – iOS. The pinnacle of these ‘talks’ came when Steve Jobs (recently deceased Apple CEO and Co-founder) posted an open letter in April 2010 titled “Thoughts on Flash” http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/ – a long, damning article heavily criticising Adobe over its Flash plugin and why it (Flash) should move over and make way for HTML5 as a standard platform for websites and online media. This initially caused huge uproar from both developers and users alike.
Now however, more and more people are warming to the idea of HTML5 as a replacement for Flash. Even Adobe themselves recently announced that they are abandoning Flash on mobile devices and will only release the odd security update every now and then so that they can focus on making HTML5 development tools such as Adobe Edge http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/
While Flash will remain strong on desktops for a few years to come, it is clear which way the web is shifting, especially with the rapidly growing number of mobile/tablet devices available.
Flash, bang walloped perhaps?
James Wills, Digital Developer