There are a number of unsettling trends in the world of web development, and one of them is not HTML5. One major one is the number of formerly “credible” web news entities touting HTML5 as the sole and righteous assassin of Flash.
Since [Google I/O], a developer conference aimed at promoting and demonstrating new Google technologies and products, there have been a flurry of misinformed, thinly researched articles proclaiming that we should go ahead and start making burial arrangements for the Flash Platform.
I’ve already [touched on this] once, before Google I/O, but since the web information giant has openly encouraged the adoption and standardization of HTML5, tech media sites and others who seemingly have been wishing for something like this, have decided to post some of the most incredibly blatant, one-sided, and downright wrong pieces of “journalism” I’ve seen since the 9th grade. Need evidence?
- [ http://www.infoworld.com/d/developer-world/html-5-could-it-kill-flash-and-silverlight-291]
These are just examples from the the first two pages of Google Search results for the search terms ‘html5’ + ‘flash’. It’s getting out of hand. Media companies aren’t researching anymore. If they were, they wouldn’t talk about products like “Flash 4” in the same sentence as “Flex 4” (both of which do not exist), and they wouldn’t try to compare a browser to a browser plugin.
When did this start happening? Why are companies all of a sudden OK with not fact-checking or not responding when the Flash Community and Adobe call them out on their lack of professionalism and unabashed antics? To me, a big part of why this upsets me is that Google and Mozilla are companies that have worked with Adobe, even to this day, to help promote and build on the strong foundation Flash already has ([SEO], [Tamarin]). With a glimpse of a technology that is indeed very cool, and after at [least 6 years] of development and still no concrete timetable for standardization, these same companies are telling us it’s time for Flash to write its will? I don’t think so.
Adobe has [attempted ]to [put] [their] [thoughts] into the mix, even by showing how the two technologies can [work together], but these articles somehow never really get syndicated the way the sensationalized HTML5 pieces do.
A rather disappointing supporting point can be found by looking closely at any of these ‘HTML5 > Flash’ posts. Does a single one of those articles have an interview or comment from anyone who is pro-Flash or works for Adobe? I rest my case. It’s just sad to see the web’s news sources for technology an innovation fall so short. Television and print media lost what little credibility they had decades ago (regardless of which political party you belong to), but now we’re seeing the same sensationalism and blatant one-sidedness from our tech-oriented news sources.
In this case, it’s not about politics or agendas, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out exactly what it is about. I’m just trying to understand, because it doesn’t make any sense why news media sites would push a certain technology and call for another’s deprecation.
A question I would love an answer to is: ‘what did Flash ever do to anyone that generated such blind hatred?’ Now, think for a second before you answer this. If your arguments have anything to do with “splash pages” or “banner ads”, they’re automatically cancelled out by “pop-up windows” and “pop-under windows.” I don’t think those doors even need to be opened. Both sides’ arguments are moot. Now, argue either sides’ case without using any of the aforementioned topics. You can’t do it. Both are AWESOME technologies that came from [the same ECMAScript standard].
Well, HTML5 was partly born out of the necessity of a more semantic, meaningful web, and the disagreements on how [MicroFormats ]should be handled. Tags like <article>, <header>, and <nav> were designed with accessibility and structured content in mind. To that point comes the question, ‘if we rid the browser of plugins, how will Flash be handled in the browser wasteland of of this post-plugin apocalypse’?
I hate to break some hearts out there, but Flash will not just die the day HTML5 is made a W3C standard (if it ever does happen), and it’s silly to even suggest such an occurrence. What would happen to the countless sites built in Flash and the others that use Flash and HTML together? Users just wouldn’t be able to see them? Think about that for a second. It’s not going to happen. But, honoring the wishes of Google and others, I’ll state this. If we’re all about a browser sans-plugins, making a more semantic web, and know that Flash is not going anywhere anytime soon: I am suggesting that the Flash community make a formal request to the W3C and Adobe to implement a <flash> tag in the HTML5 specification.
If you are in any position of influence at the W3C, Adobe, or any other entity, I urge you to help the Flash community and the future of the web by bringing attention to this matter. HTML5 is coming, but Flash isn’t going anywhere. Spread the word.
Addendum: To head off any questions like “what about a ‘Java’ or ‘Silverlight’ tag?”, I have some answers for that as well. Short answer,
- What is the world-wide percentage of total computers that the suggested technology is installed on?
- How long has the suggested technology been around and what are the long term adoption rates (that don’t include forced Windows Update)?
- Does the suggested technology work seamlessly across all major browsers?
- Does the suggested technology work on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems?
These are just off of the top of my head, but I think it’s a good benchmark to start with. Let’s try to keep the flame wars out of the comments. Please be professional, objective and support your thoughts with research.
Update: David Tucker has done [a much better job] of conveying most of what I was trying to say here.