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Flashed: Dead or Alive?

My thoughts on the state and future of Flash on the web.

I was asked about my thoughts on the whole Flash: Dead or Alive debate this weekend by someone. I gave my opinions and findings as best as I could, unfortunately misquoting about IOS and Flash (I was led to believe their was support finally, but alas Adobe made a work around). This question made me think very hard on the subject. Is Flash dead? Or is it dying? Or is it just dormant and actually relevant in the world today whether desktop or mobile? So I will begin to explain my findings and my thoughts on the subject.

Adobe Flash

I have always been partial to Flash and Actionscript 2.0/3.0. I find that the media built with this technology is beyond fascinating and truly pushes the envelope of form and function. I used to be so enthralled with the technology that I would buy and read any book on the subject to tap into the powerful potential it would unlock for me in my own software creation. But eventually I became too busy with school or work to really focus my attention on the subject, but I always kept a place in my heart for Adobe’s (once Macromedia’s) animation tool set.

Adobe’s Flash can create some of the most breathtaking websites and media applications that are out today. Something that HTML5 and JavaScript just cannot do. The web is full of incredible amazing displays of Flash use. So why is the debate that Flash is dead being propagated throughout the web?

HTML 5 / CSS3 Yay! and the Emperor Says NO!

So HTML5 and CSS3 is all the rage right now with its fingers in the responsive web design movement, canvas tag animation, and HTML5’s ability to play video without the need for a Flash plugin. These are just some of the cool technologies that can be brought to us via HTML5, with many others but that is another post. So I am the first to admit that the whole responsive web design is absolutely amazing and I am extremely excited about the potential it holds! I am also interested in seeing a more production ready approach to animation utilizing the canvas tag with JavaScript. So far it seems all theory but not ready for the big stage. Finally the HTML5 video, we can now play video in our browsers without the need of a plugin or having to download the file and play within Windows Media Player. I mean hey Netflix is using it, so why not the rest of the web.

So these are the big three reasons folks are calling for Flash’s head technology wise, now to the Emperor’s decree. In 2010 Apple finally says no to having Flash be put on its hot selling Iphone and upcoming Iphone 4G with Steve Jobs giving a slew of reasons why Flash basically sucks and HTML5 is the wave of the future. One of their reasons is that Flash kills the battery life, please really? Some of those apps on my phone drain my battery more than running a Flash website to get information. Personally I think it is because Apple is proprietary and Adobe is proprietary and lets face it Apple loves pounding its’ chest and letting the world know how “innovative” it is.

My Final Words: Lock up the Wolves

I agree that HTML5 is a much better alternative to Flash for video but for animation and media HTML5 can’t hold a candle. Flash is and always will be the king of extremely rich media delivery to the web, maybe not the best choice, definitely not the choice for video on the web but for completely interactive and rich user experience websites Flash is my main squeeze. So far HTML5 and CSS3 and all the JavaScript of the world cannot produce the amazing work that Flash has been delivery each and every time (with a solid experienced developer).