Flash is undoubtedly cool, but if you’re a web designer, web developer, or even just an avid web surfer, you know that it can also be problematic. The problems with this robust multimedia platform are now more evident than ever in a digital era dominated by smartphones, tablets and other gadgets commonly grouped in the mobile device category. With HTML 5 on the horizon, the days of Flash’s usefulness may literally be numbered.
What HTML 5 Brings to the Table
HTML 5 is the fifth generation of the widely used programming language known as Hyper Text Markup Language. It offers many powerful features, including advanced 3D effects and animations as well as interactive application interfaces for taking web-based interactivity to the next level – all without the need to be implemented via browser plugins. More importantly, HTML 5 is being designed with mobile devices in mind, which is one of the main reasons it has been able to garner the support of Apple, Google and other mobile technology providers.
HTML 4, the current implementation of Hyper Text Markup Language, is still of course serviceable in many regards, but has been tweaked to the point where its foundation is unstable at best. And while applications such as Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight have certainly been useful, their limitations have shown us that more reliable technology is needed to support the rapid evolution of the digital channel. If internet powerhouses like Apple and Google have their way, it will be HTML 5 that carries us into the future.
HTML 5 vs. Flash
Although some pundits have already crowned HTML 5 as the heir apparent to Flash’s thrown, there is no guarantee that it will replace Adobe’s veteran multimedia technology – at least not completely. Here are three reasons why:
1. Flash is Still Relevant – Regardless of its incompatibility issues with the typical mobile device, Flash is still widely used across the internet landscape. Disney and video streaming service Hulu are two of numerous brands that use it to create interactive experiences for their audiences.
2. Flash is Better For Certain Applications – Flash is a multipurpose technology, but one area it truly excels in is rich media applications. Despite having problems in the mobile arena, it is very efficient at creating interactive experiences through web video, games and advertising. The fact that Flash works so well in so many instances makes it unlikely that developers and brands will drop it any time soon.
3. HTML 5 Has Some Maturing to Do – Even though it appears to have a bright future ahead of it, HTML 5 is still a work in progress at this point. According to the WC3, it will not be ready to take the torch until at least 2014, which for now, is the projected official launch time.
HTML 5 may not be able to replace Flash, but it looks to be more than capable of picking up the slack. It is very possible that one will drive the mobile platform, while the other remains prevalent in the desktop environment.