Sunday, February 26, 2012

HTML 5 to the rescue !!

In my last post in the tech-talks category , I left you with a question -  Will the technology in near future be radically different ?? If yes, what will be its new look ?? Here I am, to discuss one aspect of it - The HTML 5 vs Adobe flash saga. There has a been a long rivalry between the two .The most popular opinion being - HTML 5 is on the way to killing adobe flash . At least for mobile applications, it has .Two years ago if I asked you to imagine web without flash , the general reaction would be - What crap!!  But one man did . Steve Jobs foresaw this very early . In april 2010 , he said -
Flash was created during the PC era for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards all areas where Flash falls short. Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content."

He also described Flash's performance and security as sub-standard and refused to allow Flash on the iOS due to the many bugs and crashes it experiences. There is no Adobe Flash Player for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Being in  this part of the world it is not that evident but The iPhone accounts for more than 60% of global smartphone web traffic and the iPod touch makes up more than 95% of "mobile Internet device" traffic. This hurt Adobe's ability to market Flash as a ubiquitous mobile platform. Lately adobe flash seems to be completely  out of flavour with the mobile version of Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Phone not supporting Flash. The IE9 web browser on Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 ('Mango') does not support Flash either.

The SWF crash torture:

Some people hate flash. Not because it’s slow or drains battery life or makes the computer hot. Mostly these go unnoticed . Its  because it constantly crashes and it’s not getting any better.  For long my web browser of choice was Google Chrome and if you happen to be on the same boat , these pictures will seem very familiar :

I think I don’t need to explain why I dont like  Chrome anymore . It pretty  much forces  to use Flash since it’s built in to the browser. But Google seems to have realised that  :) for google has bet big on HTML 5 too. YouTube has offered users the option to opt into  HTML5 beta for over a year now, which allows you to dispense with Flash when watching videos on the website.Unfortunately, YouTube still forces you to watch videos using its Flash-based player when it has ads in it, so you’ll often end up doing so despite being a member of the HTML5 beta, forcing you to resort to other, browser-based methods to get access to the HTML5 version of the video. However, the fact that YouTube is silently working on improving its HTML5 player signals good things for the technology.

Flash is Dead, Long live HTML 5

Adobe's love affair with its Flash format has finally come to an end. On November 9, 2011, Adobe announced that it will no longer develop Flash for Mobile Platforms and is planning on developing new products with more open technologies and standards like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. Adobe’s VP and general manager of interactive development, wrote-

Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.

In simpler terms , Adobe is Stopping development on Flash Player for browsers on mobile. To add to that , In February 2012 Adobe announced: For Flash Player releases after 11.2, the Flash Player browser plugin for Linux will only be available via the "Pepper" API as part of the Google Chrome browser distribution and will no longer be available as a direct download from Adobe. Adobe will continue to provide security updates to non-Pepper distributions of Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for five years from its release. It seems that getting by without Flash is becoming easier.

The flavour of the season - HTML5:

Many have embraced it, a few have discarded it  as too far in the future, and some have abandoned a misused friend  in favor of an old flame in preparation. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, you’ve most likely heard all the blogging chatter surrounding the “new hotness” that is HTML5. It’s everywhere, it’s coming, and you want to know everything you can before it’s old news.

HTML5 is well on its way to becoming more than just a markup language for web pages. Rather, it will be a development platform in its own right. In practical terms, this means support for HTML5, along with CSS3 and JavaScript, as a way to create real applications, not just webpages. HTML5 still has a long way to go before it becomes a final standard but many of its advanced features are being implemented now. Latest versions of browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari have already implement HTML5 to some extent. It will take some time for HTML to completely take over . Even though HTML5 video is becoming more commonplace, I don’t think I could do without having Flash installed on my machine just yet. But  yes I can imagine it coming . For now , it may interest you to look at these:

  1. showcases websites from all over the world made with the HTML5 markup laungauge.

  2. 45 examples of ebsites designed with HTML5

  3. Top 10 best HTML5 websites of 2012

Or if you belong to a developer community and want to know the nitty-gritty details , you may find some helpful content here.

The Desktop context:

If analysts are to be believed, Adobe's move to ditch Flash Player for mobile browsers was smart. To me it occurs that Keeping Flash Player alive on the desktop will work for a while, but eventually it too will be supplanted by HTML5, With the large mobile and tablet market free of the already diminished influence of Flash, and with sites like YouTube and Vimeo going the Flash-free route, it’s a good bet that HTML5 will overtake the resource-heavy plugin on the desktop eventually, despite its current dominance. Microsoft, for one, has already said it will block the Flash Player plug-in from being installed on the touch edition of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) within next year's Windows 8.What do you think, though? Could you live without Flash?

[polldaddy poll=5980642]

References: Here are a few things that helped me gain insight into the matter:

  1. Adobe Flash - wikipedia ,

  2. Comparison of HTML 5 and Flash - wikipedia

  3. Youtube's HTML 5 player steadily gaining ground on Flash

  4. Surviving the world without adobe flash

  5. Networking blogs by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Any corrections are welcome !!


  1. thanks abhishek !! and the "follow" button u asked for once , I have put it :)

  2. explained in a nice manner

  3. I would like to thank the anonymous reader for pointing out that I did not include the references !! The blog has been edited .

  4. You did not say "why is it better?" (apart from crashes and low power devices, btw why does it consume less power? ) , you just said, everyone will be using it in future, right ?

  5. I guess this is the best comments I have come across on one of my posts . ty :)

    Why HTML 5 appear better ??
    Ans : crashes , less power consumption , cross-platform existence , apple's lack of confidence with flash ,+ Google banking big on HTML gives me a lot of faith in HTML 5.
    Here are a few links that may interest you -
    With so much of support and backing , that too long before standardization , I think its a wise bet to vote in favour of HTML 5 .

    Why low consumption ??
    Ans : I guess HTML5 has got audio and video codecs which would consume less of power compared to an equivalent Flash player. But I am not very sure about this right now, will try to google it and get to you soon :)
    By the way , If you want to experimentally verify the same, you may find this useful -