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HTML5 is the new Flash

February 3 Sandra Wong

Remember how many users have criticized Steve Jobs when the iPad was released? It was a tablet computer – the first one to make tablets cool – that had no support for Adobe’s Flash, which Jobs has considered a pile of bugs and security holes, endorsing HTML5 instead. Given the The iPad was a bit ahead of its times, when most online content – games, videos, animations and even ad banners – were Flash based. In the long run HTML5 has proven to be the right choice, given its cross-platform compatibility. After a while even Adobe has abandoned the development of its Flash platform for mobile, and today YouTube, the largest video streaming service of them all, has changed its default video playing implementation.

YouTube has first introduced HTML5 support back in 2011, when the technology was highly experimental. Most developers were still a bit skeptical about this new system, having a hard time to imagine a new way to embed content – quickly and easily – in a webpage. In just a few years HTML5 has grown into the greatest cross-platform way to share content, no matter if the content is an ad banner, a video or a game.

Today a great variety of games are built using HTML5 instead of Flash, saving people time and ending their dependence on a third party plugin to be able to experience them. HTML5 content is readily available on all mobile platforms – their browsers support WebGL and Canvas without glitches to offer seamless gameplay or video playback on the go. Even the Red Fush mobile range of Blackberry games run great while away from a computer – all this thanks to HTML5. I think Adobe’s Flash will soon become obsolete on all platforms, being exchanged for this relatively new and very exciting – and flexible – implementation.

Or will it? According to some voices, there is reason for concern – and it comes from the mobile OS developers themselves. Google (with Android) and Apple (with iOS) have created a platform which allow developers to build apps running directly on the users’ devices without the need of an internet browser. There is consensus to be reached by the two governing bodies when it comes to web standards – the W3C and the WHATWG – while developers are dedicating their time and energy to develop new ways to consume content without the need of the web. W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe thinks that the web will win in the long run, offering the power and promise of interoperability across platforms. “The mobile app was just the for the phone, but now it’s not. It’s going to be the e-book reader, the automobile, the TV. And all the sudden, the promise of interoperability is going to become even more important than when it was just the phone,” he told Cnet in an interview.


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