To say that Adobe Flash is dying can be somewhat of an overstatement. But the emergence of HTML5 is significant in the annals of user experience, and is a core standard partners usually focus on. Most browsers cannot render HTML 5 as of date, and it is not very hard to find significant differences in resulting behavior.
Codec support is another challenge, and there is no agreed-upon standard for rich media across all browsers. Steve Jobs was instrumental in eroding Flash share. To explain simply, programmers use Flash to enable web sites and other media to display more visually appealing pages. HTML 5 is a technology, actually an open standard that enables programmers to display engaging pages. There are some differences and limitations in Flash that can lead to system crashes.
The Whole Nine Yards
Adobe has killed off the mobile version. Security vulnerabilities have led to repeated infections on the desktop. This has prompted most vendors including Microsoft to skip Flash in their latest OS. Apple has been openly antagonistic. In an open letter, Steve Jobs claims that the technology is more suited to the PC era. The mobile arena requires low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards, all of which make Flash a has-been.
Also, according to some, the current standard contains bugs. Work on the HTML 5 specification began in 2003, and is ongoing. Also, Flash has been around for some time, and has a developer network. Currently, HTML 5 is controlled by three companies: the Mozilla Foundation, Apple, and Opera Software. Video sites including YouTube, Vimeo and blip.tv have implemented partial experimental support for HTML5.
For users, authoring using Adobe tools is relatively easier than an integrated environment that comprises of CSS, HTML and JavaScipt. Also, the Adobe tool suite is more expensive. There is also a debate on the cross-platform support. According to a few naysayers, HTML 5 is wider, while some believe that Flash is available to most users.
A Billion Phones
The Apple v/s Adobe clash made it a pariah in the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch etc. universe. HTML5 supports multiple codecs right now, but because it doesn’t use a wrapper, the browser has to support the codec used. HTML 5.0 is at least 2-3 years from a semblance of a real W3C standard. Flash on Android and other non-phone iOS systems can ensure viability. Most sites that used it have now phased it out: Yahoo, MSN, IGN etc. Also,Ajax, jQuery and HTML5 have combined to sound the death-knell of Flash.
Clients online are increasingly focusing on Search Engine Optimization, and Flash is kind of inaccessible. There are other gripes on the UX experience, and there are some skeptics who believe that Flash is suited only for complex apps or a larger user base. Research analysts predict that there will be around a billion phones sold in the next few years, and HTML5 video for the mobile has definitely gained ground. The technology has to evolve further, and incorporate categories like graphics, storage, multimedia and user interactions.
Limited APIs as compared to Apple’s iOS and the Android platform are also potential detractors. The future for most Adobe aficionados depends on the number of devices still using Flash. The future is a very different ballgame and the turf war for global supremacy is set to escalate.