Coming from the Flash world, where the community has a voice and there’s a name & address assigned for every complaint – existing state of things with HTML5 as an Open Standard just doesn’t make much sense.

True, Flash wasn’t that visible – but, they (MM/Adobe) still made sure to listen and improve upon the community’s demand, keep a system.
Flash is truly cross-platform “write once deploy all” solution that just works, there are great solutions for designers as well as developers (latter can be improved).

Many would see my point of view as an anti-HTML5 pro-Flash developer. Let me correct this:
While today Flash provides the only available cross-platform-device solution for online media, HTML5+JS+CSS3 answers to the lack of visibility and openness as well as a true native browser technology that Flash lacks. As developers we are commuted to provide the best solution to the client requirements regardless of what technology is being used.
Open Source is my native choice, not because of it being at the price of 0 (usually) nor because of its “underground aura” – But because of its visibility, openness and ability to generate global consensus due to having all facts revealed.

HTML5 is being controlled and lead by a consortium of major companies & organizations – not by a community.
HTML5 promises is to be open and agreed-upon, however the reality is the opposite: no agreement, no single implementation that will just work the same everywhere and no single place that provides visibility on the process. Just half-results published on the W3C site when things are finally ironed out, and implementation on the browser side is not even being discussed, so using the same HTML5+JS+CSS script will not necessarily provide the same result across all browsers/devices.

Until the browser creators and many member organizations on the W3C will agree on things like codecs & implementations we will not have a true cross-platform-device Open Standard, and we as web developers will still have to rely on weird hacks to solve cross-platform issues.

As web developers, we should make the noise and send the message to the standard creators and browser makers: This time work together! We want to write HTML+JS+CSS once, and no dirty hacks!

HTML5 rocks! Please do it right this time.

Now on the technical side.
In order for HTML5 to truly replace Flash in the kingdom of multimedia, there must be solutions for all 3 below:

  1. Cross-Platform-Device (‘nuogh said).
  2. Hardware accelerated optimized run-time – Games & RIA’s must be responsive. This is not 1990, we want to use vector graphics, great filters & display-list architecture that allows easy to understand and manage z-ordering.
  3. Authoring Environment – The fact that SVG can be used to create kick-ass vector illustrations and some animation is not enough, designers usually don’t write code. Major part of the success Flash has is attributed to the great designer and designer-developer workflow tools that MM/Adobe created. For HTML5 to provide a true alternative, solutions like the Flash IDE will need to be created (or the Flash IDE will start exporting to HTML5+SVG).

The Prezi from OSCON Future of HTML5 Multimedia (Flash Developer Part):

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Flash Developer Take on HTML5 Multimedia Future | Articulating ideas -- Topsy.com()

  • I think we are seeing the beginning of a new era for html; I've even heard rumor that it's no longer to be called html5, but just html from here on out.

  • you'd thought that adding the 5 at the end will finally make 'em work together and create solid technology…

  • I just look forward to dropping the 5 from the end and moving to a continuous integration model of development of the html specs that accelerates the adoption of new technologies such as <device>, as browser developers can build out those specs in competition for speed while maintaining open apis. This turns w3c into a clearing house for open standards that is driven by the major browser developers. Allow me to snip from Alex Kessinger's excellent article on using html5 to create web apps.

    “An interesting side note here is that we might see an “HTML6,” but it sounds like they just want to drop the number idea, and instead, evolve the specs slowly over time. This will take a large reeducation, but makes sense.”
    —-http://sixrevisions.com/html/the-state-of-html5-apps/

    Look at the html5 doctype: <!DOCTYPE html> <!– that's beautiful ūüėÄ

    I think html is finally recovering from the Netscape/IE wars of the late 90s. And if we're not doing it right this time, we're at least doing it a little better.

  • With the standard not being open as it promises to be – the outside community is not given a chance to vote or influence the spec or the way it will be implemented, and so we're left with an open-closed technology.

    For corporations like Microsoft that don't do much sense, instead of making a large effort in developing HTML spec & improving JS to be a real language (why on earth would you decline ECMA4) – they pursue SilverLight, a technology that should be replaced by the promise of HTML5…

    This time, when the war was already announced on the existing thrown holder, Flash – HTML must be implemented right. The whole internet eco-system must not fallback to useless hacks because of corporations that behave like 2 yearolds.

  • Danny

    As a long time Linux user I for one look forward to a replacement for flash. I have never cared for Adobe products and avoid them whenever possible. Adobe products are slow and bloated for MS Windows and are hard to get to work with Linux. I like video and use it on my sites but stay away from Adobe Flash as best as I can. Adobe still does not support AMD 64 and Linux (last time I checked anyway) so getting flash sites to work on my home computer is still sometimes spotty. I say come on HTML5 Video!

  • Hi Danny,

    I fully understand how feel about the lack of support Adobe has for Linux (and somewhat Mac).
    I have been a windows as well as Linux user for a long time now, being a windows user is great – everything just works, including Adobe products (which do not have any real good open source replacement yet).

    Open Source is a great way to free things and provide an opportunity for all, however, it's main disadvantage is where things tend to take a too bazaar like manner where no one has real responsibility and nothing ever works the same.
    We don't want to end up writing bad hacks to make HTML+JS+CSS work on all platform/devices, we want this standard to be fully implemented the same way across all – this is where Flash is strong, and this is why no real replacement is offered still.
    Should browsers will drop the needless wars, work together and provide a truly standard compliant implementation (not excluding innovations on new features) – then this triplet of HTML+JS+CSS will form a true alternative to Flash.

    Unfortunately, it seems to be a wishful thinking and no more.

  • ajaxmac

    I was going to write a long reply – but gave up. However you should really spell check before posting…

  • Crankyoldyank

    Amen. Open source needs a good _designer_ app that can do animation. How can I author vector-based animation in Linux? Flash is good for that.

  • Noglorp

    I don’t really know where you are getting all this indignation from, but from what I can tell the whatwg mailing lists are very responsive and address the concerns of posters well. What exactly are the problems? Furthermore, HTML5’s spec as posted on whatwg.org has unprecedented detail about implementation.

  • Hi there,

    No indignation at all, I love the fact we finally move in an open direction to a standard that will provide cross-platform implementation. This is just a wake up call to all involved (and us developers).
    HTML5 is truly a great and natural progress to HTML and the web in general.

    That said, there is still a long way to go till HTML5 can completely offer a true replacement to Flash / SilverLight, etc.
    Main reason being many times due to lack of collaboration between members of the standard spec work.

    Given 1 example of the video element with the inability to decide on a single common codec and implementation: The lack of codec – makes it impossible for content creators to publish once and make it available to all.
    The lack of implementation details – causes issues with: UI compatibility (neither of the browsers will show the same controllbar UI so we’re left with a must HTML implementation to the UI).
    And more crucial issues with JS application implementation – if you build an app that rely on seeking the video, drawing it on canvas, etc. there is no way to know how it will behave across browsers/devices, yet again leaving us developers with hacks for specific browsers.

    We have to understand, that a spec is only a beginning. What really made Flash what it is, is the tools around it, providing designers ways to easily express themselves. And kudos to Adobe for taking the lead and migrating their tools to export to HTML5, canvas and svg.

    There’s a path that HTML5 has started and is only in its starting point, it is up to us developers and up to the members of the spec groups and of course browser makers, to pave the rest of the way and make sure HTML5 will not become an HTML4 with more features.

  • NA

    The obscure arguments now presented in favour of Flash are reminiscent of HTML developers arguing against Flash and for HTML, several years ago. The tables have truly turned. Flash is dying. This is not opinion, simple observation of fact. A key problem with the technology, which is never referred to, is a problem with the developers. For Flash to compete it has to increasingly become a technical programming product. Flash developers aren’t interested/capable. Developers who are cable aren’t interested in working with a silly proprietary tool and animating lots of pretty pictures. In short, there’s no one to build the Flash apps. Good riddance to something which largely held the web back for at least a decade and goodbye to all its developers who never understood the web, were self obsessed (design wise) and were not the people to move the world wide web forward.

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  • szeredai akos

    it takes tens of thousands of lines to develop a complex app in html5 which probably wont even run because of the performance issues that js has. optimizing that tens of thousands of lines to work on on multiple devices as intended Рimpossible.

    anyway, no developer in it’s right mind would start a heavy project with js and html5/css. simply because his head will explode. the lose coding practices of js is just not suited for that.bother myself pointing out how seriously¬†outdated¬†the¬†language¬†is from the fact that it has no true OOP support /¬†architecture, no strict typing, no¬†consistent¬†debug engine, no offline¬†runtime.

    html, on the other hand is just a content type (20+ years old) it does nothing. for any tiny functionality you are a slave to 100s of browsers.

    flash at the other end you are a slave to only 1 player 1 runtime with almost flawless¬†consistency. looking away from the shortcomings of the AIR (you can shell it if you need more access to various¬†systems) it’s becoming the only cross-platform solution for small applications, media or data driven alike at an alarming phase.

    it’s just a matter of time when people will realize just how much “abuse” can the platform take.

  • Yaron Shapira

    Nice and sharp analysis

  • Thanks!
    I need to find some time for a followup post…
    For high-level you can follow at – http://blog.kaltura.org/is-flash-dead