I am not a big fan of comparing technologies using simple performance tests. These tend to never convince the naysayers, they make fans sound rabid at times, and the tests themselves are always called into question. So, I held my applause when reading recent articles comparing Flash and HTML5 (this Fortune post and this post by Chris Black).
However, I still think articles like these are sometimes informative, for two reasons. 1: The comments validate that these debates tend to be far too emotional and seldom based on real facts, 2: They validate that there is room for both, and neither Flash not HTML5 will (or even should) kill each other. Or as Chris sums it up, “HTML5 will sit side by side with Flash. Gradient fonts, drop shadows, basic video and simple transitions are probably better suited for HTML5. When it comes to rendering display objects, animation and digital rights management for video, it would be silly not to use Flash”.
You are free to agree or disagree with Chris and his assertions, and I expect that we’ll be talking about when to use HTML5 and when to use Flash (and when to use both) for some time to come. It’s not black and white, and it is most definitely a work in progress.
But I do agree with the sentiment that the “either or” propositions that have been tossed around the past few months are petty pedantic hysteria inducing juvenile fanboism, and not an accurate reflection of reality. It’s a big pond out there, and there’s room for lots of fish, especially fish that innovate. Flash’s job has always been do to things that HTML does not, and as HTML has evolved, so has Flash. As HTML becomes more capable, then yes, there will definitely be apps and operations for which it is better suited. In which case, use HTML (and we’ll be happy to sell you tools to make using HTML easier and more efficient). And when you run into limitations and need Flash, or when you just need the consistency of experience that Flash can provide, well, then use Flash, which is also continuing to evolve.
It’s called choice, and that’s a good thing.

5 thoughts

  1. I agree with you Ben, the more the choice the better or perhaps more choice can be worse than less choice? πŸ™‚

  2. I think I agree with you Ben, the more the choice the better, or perhaps… more choice can be worse than less choice? πŸ™‚

  3. I have a simple web page displaying a cfform/cfgrid information.. My droid X is using flash 10.1. is there some reason that this wont be
    working on a cell phone display? I get a grid presented but its always empty.. is this too complicated for flash to display on a cell phone?
    if so then will html5 be able to do this better?

  4. is the a reason than a cfform/cfgrid will no display on a cell pone that supports flash 10.1 now like my droid X does> i get a grid display with no data

  5. Biggest problem right now is not flash or html5 as flash well works with what ever you give it if it will be html5 and flash hybrids or not.. The biggest problem is the ‘cool’ factor for years and years flash was the ‘cool’ thing.
    there was a while where WEB2.0 , AJAX (HTML4?) was the word but at some point the big flash pushers media and advertising companies just needed ways to make users say wow on a new product and they just couldn’t wow people with the limited set of options and time/budgets…
    Will html5 make things flash a bit unclear for a while. yep they will they are right now as media/add agencies are clambering to get there ipads to show stuff. Is that sustainable in an economy that isn’t doing that hot probably not and not in 12 months from now when the buzz about making an image move in javascript dies (as amazing and as cool as that is). In the end the big factor is how important will non flash browser interacting be and that will be the big story here in 2 years from now.
    and i’m not ignoring the big question of media companies if there is a large rush of media companies(youtube,hulu and such) to shy away from flash(i don’t see that happening but you never know) then its time to jump of the ship. – and when that happens you will have at least 2 years to find your next thing as sad as it would be for me a big flash lover πŸ˜‰
    This is my personal perspective you got me here on digital ink:
    I bet that 2-4 years from now there are mobile devices just like the Samsung that will bite bigger chunks out of the mobile world (blackberry… Nokia will not be far behind as they always lead with amazing products in the rest of the world) and then there will be devices that are 5-10 times more powerful with flash support and the companies that don’t have flash out of an idiocy to try to block it will need to change gears as they won’t want to lose market share. so I bet the most vocal company today about not having flash in its phones will be the first in the line to be take it back.
    So no comparing here i love html5 come on make the web better but please do it slowly and not make it impossible to build a site that works on all different browsers and there bugs.
    πŸ™‚
    (Ben sorry for the long comment and love reading your posts books videos and such… πŸ˜‰

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