Flash vs. HTML 5: The Early Years

October 14, 2010

The future of Adobe’s Flash format is murky. I first glanced at Flash technology’s murk when Steve Jobs launched an attack last April. Jobs stated that “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice…. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Jobs pointed to HTML5, a W3C proposed standard, as the preferred alternative. The W3C released a new working draft of HTML5 on October 12. The development work is continuing at a near-feverish pace (by W3C standards of developing standards).

HTML5 is hot. In a May blog entry I covered Scribd’s dramatic commitment to HTML5 in lieu of Flash.

In September Computerworld offered:

The W3C is investigating the possibility of incorporating voice recognition and speech synthesis interfaces within Web pages. A new incubator group will file a report a year from now summarizing the feasibility of adding voice and speech features into HTML, the W3C’s standard for rendering Web pages. AT&T, Google, Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation, among others, all have engineers participating in this effort.

html5-affect-seoSource: Varologic SEO Blog

But not all the news is positive. ZDNet reported this week that Facebook found that Flash still outperforms HTML5 for video on mobile devices (albeit modestly), “a zinger of sorts” in the Flash war.

And InfoWorld found a W3C official who stated that despite the hype, the HTML5 specification isn’t yet ready due to interoperability issues.

I guess I’m just the show-me tech guy. Here’s all I know about the technical limitations of Flash:

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More Trouble for Adobe: Scribd “Betting the Company” on HTML5

May 6, 2010

Scribd is the largest social publishing company in the world. It has more than 50 million readers each month. Tens of millions of documents have been published on the site, containing over 100 billion words. Until today those tens of millions of documents have been published using Adobe’s Flash. Starting today, they will be published in HTML5.

In an interview with Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch, Scribd co-founder and chief technology officer Jared Friedman said “We are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5 is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash. Now any document can become a Web page.”

To see the impact of the change, go to the Scribd site and check out “Scribd in HTML5.” You’ll understand the thinking behind the decision very quickly.

scribd-in-html5_page_06

Schonfeld’s article continues:

Friedman has been working secretly on this project for the last six months. You can tell he’s excited about it. He believes the Web is finally ready to ditch Flash for documents. Unlike video players, the parts of the HTML5 standard that impact documents have to do with support for fonts, vector graphics, and rotating text. Friedman estimates that 97 percent of browsers will be able to read Scribd’s HTML5 documents because those parts of the standard are older and more widely adopted. HTML5 documents will still be embeddable in other sites using an iFrame.

Poor Adobe. Even as it too embraces HTML5, the Web is moving away from Flash.

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