Planning for the future, HTML 5 or The Flash Platform?
Of course I am kidding about the relationship I have with front-end developers. I’m lucky enough to say that the people I collaborate with are very bright people who understand that the end game is to program something that is user friendly and meets it’s intended goals. Sometimes The Flash Platform is the answer, sometimes it’s jQuery. Sometimes the answer is .NET, sometimes it’s your mom. The moral of the story is that every situation should be evaluated before you choose what technology to use. You should never shoehorn a solution for your challenge.
“Way to avoid the issue,” you might be saying to yourself. Fair enough. So, what impact do I think HTML 5 will actually have on The Flash Platform? Well, the short answer is that I think the impact will be minimal. As you may have noticed, Flash isn’t referred to as “Flash” anymore. It is now officially “The Flash Platform.” It encompasses a world of technologies that has over a decade of developer communities behind it. The Flash browser plugin has been installed on 99.0% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices. Developers can build fully functional desktop applications using The Flash Platform via AIR. You may not know it, but you have probably installed an app on your iPhone that was built using The Flash Platform. The RIA space is dominated by FLEX, a flash actionscript framework. Thanks to sites like YouTube, Flash Video is the primary format for video on the web. Finally, let us not forget that you can make one hell of a great cartoon using Flash. Get the picture? The Flash Platform is to the web what Mr. Burns is to Springfield. Whether you like it or not, it has a stake in everything. Because The Flash Platform is so diverse, there is very little HTML 5 can do to dethrone it.
In a nutshell, The Flash Platform is not going away. However, I think HTML 5 will recapture the traditional interface, which means that “Flash people” will have to focus on what they should be focusing on–the cutting edge.
I realize that I didn’t talk much about what HTML 5 actually is. Please, investigate it. You won’t be sorry. HTML 5 will do nothing but help “the browser experience” and that is something we can all support.