Friday, January 14, 2011

HTML5 And Flash: Why It’s Not A War, And Why Flash Won’t Die.

This is a false scenario: HTML5 and Flash Programming are not meant to be fighting in the same ring, or to be fighting at all. Each has its proper place on the Web and in the graphic community.

Flash’s Place

Why would Flash Programming do so well in the mobile space compared to Web-based tools and frameworks? First of all, because Flash is a powerful development tool, beyond its graphic and animation capabilities. ActionScript 3 has brought serious improvements to the overall structure and functionality of applications, allowing developers to create powerful apps.

Secondly, Flash being used across multiple platforms brings a much higher probability of consistency and compatibility. Even if comprehensive Web standards were supported across all mobile devices, there is no guarantee that we wouldn’t run into the same cross-browser headaches on the variety of mobile browsers. If Flash were supported on all mobile devices, I could be reasonably certain that my Flash module would run smoothly on each one.

HTML5′s Place

HTML5′s place, on the other hand, is entirely on the Web. And this is an outstanding development. I remember switching from table-based designs to CSS, a liberating move that gave Web designers a freedom that only we could truly appreciate. Moving forward with standards-based browsers and rich functionality via CSS3 and HTML5 will take our industry to new heights and lead to a flourishing of gorgeous websites and functionality that we’ve never before witnessed.

The Web In Two Years

Where will the chips fall when the Web design industry reaches its next stage? I may be idealistic, but I would like to see the following:

* HTML5 and CSS3 as the new Web standard.
* All browsers being compatible and standards-based.
* Flash being used more limitedly as a tool for multimedia and gaming and interaction, both online and offline.
* Mobile platforms and mobile content development being the newest and fastest-growing subset of the industry.
* Sporting Flash capabilities for robust application development across all platforms.
* And offering HTML5 , CSS3 and complex JavaScript capabilities for mobile browsing.


Flash has been misused and overused for the past eight years, spreading its tentacles too far into the fabric of Web design. But rather than getting beaten out of the picture by these practical new Web frameworks, Flash will retreat to its proper place: those niche areas where it belongs and can truly excel. The first niche is multimedia and learning solutions for the corporate space. Only time will tell if Flash finds its second niche on mobile platforms.