Altabel Group's Blog

Wanted: serial killer. Nickname: HTML5. Victims: Silverlight, Flash….What`s next?

Posted on: November 23, 2011

Not so long ago we discussed that HTML5 will replace Silverlight in Windows8. And now new triumph of HTML5. Adobe decided to kill Flash for mobile and focus its attention on HTML5. Think most of you have heard about it as Adobe`s message triggered hot discussions on different techforums and in Ln.

To my mind, this must have been a hard decision for Adobe to make. Adobe’s chief of developer relations Mike Chambers in order to clear the situation, gave in his blog three main reasons why they decided to do it:
HTML5 is already almost universally supported in mobile browsers and Adobe realized that Flash would never get there. “Our goal has always been to obtain the same level of ubiquity for the Flash Player on mobile browsers, but, at the end of the day, it is something that did not, and was not going to happen.”
Apps made browser-based apps less necessary. “Essentially, users’ preferences to consume rich content on mobile devices via applications means that there is not as much need or demand for the Flash Player on mobile devices as there is on the desktop.”

Fragmentation. To make Flash work on mobile platforms, Adobe had to work with multiple hardware makers (Motorola, Samsung), platform companies (Google, RIM), and component manufacturers (like Nvidia). That took too much time. “This is something that we realized is simply not scalable or sustainable.”
So now it`s clear that Adobe will increase investment in HTML5 and shift resources from Flash to HTML5.

In his blog Mike Chambers underlined that Adobe is not killing Flash completely. They will continue investing in and promoting Flash for desktop browsers, as well as AIR on mobile devices. However here a few pitfalls and questions can arise. Firstly: why should we use Air instead of native application? Air depends on a huge runtime and it doesn’t have access to too many things. Second: why to keep AIR alive when the new PhoneGap technology allows to achieve the same result – native apps for the same number of platforms but developed with HTML, CSS and JS? AIR seems to be just a temporary solution for all those Flash developers that hasn’t got a chance to switch yet… What is more Adobe`s message can lead to the mass panic of the clients: Why should they want something in Flash when they can have it in html5 and it will be viewable from mobile? As the result the future of flash is still not clear.

Flash biggest selling point was the motto “Build once, deploy anywhere”, and now it is no longer true. It seems to me that Adobe`s message led to quite an important communication error and there isn’t much Adobe can do to reverse the message. As Adobe finally admitted that Apple was right and named HTML5 ‘the best and only solution’ , it completely deteriorated the image of Flash and admitted the victory of HTML5 for mobile.

Best regards,
Anna Kozik
Altabel Group – professional software development

1 Response to "Wanted: serial killer. Nickname: HTML5. Victims: Silverlight, Flash….What`s next?"

Fundamentally, HTML 5 is still HTML. The business logic of an application is still written in a language which in the HTML 5 world JavaScript is remains king. But JavaScript is a tricky little devil and I wouldn’t trust my primary business logic to it. That then, leads us to the server and potentially the cloud. In the end, HTML 5 and JavaScript are merely the face of our applications, the real guts stay on the server with the languages and engines we’ve been trusting for some time.

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