Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Feb 2010 22:17 UTC
Internet & Networking There's a bit of ruckus going on at the moment in the world of HTML5. A number of people are claiming that Adobe has blocked the latest publication of the HTML5 standard. However, after diving into the actual mailing list threads, it becomes obvious quite quickly that it's nothing but a misunderstanding. Update: Masinter replies: "No part of HTML5 is, or was ever, 'blocked' in the W3C HTML Working Group - not HTML5, not Canvas 2D Graphics, not Microdata, not Video - not by me, not by Adobe."
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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 15th Feb 2010 10:43 UTC
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Adobe believe that Flash is a necessary technology. They believe what they are doing is right (you can hardly operate a company where you don't believe in what you do).

Adobe make money through the selling of tools around the licencing of a runtime. Because of being bundled with Windows, Adobe can (successfully) argue that Flash is a part of the 'Web and that consumers will not be able to fully operate on the web without the Flash runtime.

Adobe want device manufacturers to come to them and pay for a Flash runtime for their new device so that the device manufacturers can appease users. This is at odds with HTML, which any device manufacturer can support out of the box without any body's permission.

Adobe have made claims that they are open, but open does not mean that they don't have control. You can look, but you can't touch--only they can steer the SWF format, and there has been no success of any kind of any third party adding to the SWF spec on their own accord. Most HTML5 features were proprietary implementations in other browsers before being adopted by all.

What Adobe do not understand about open is that for Adobe to be open, it means that nobody should rely upon Adobe. That is not a business model they are interested in.

Flash is at odds with HTML5 because its design and programming model leads developers to eschew accessibility and fallbacks. In HTML5 you get native controls for free, accessibility is easy to do from the start and not difficult to adapt to. In Flash you have to put in a ton of extra effort to add accessibility, and even then you have to design all your content twice for the fallback. HTML is the bane of Flash developers. Because these factors are extra work and often get left out, Flash is bad for the web. It does not encourage any good habits, nor openness or interoperability (good luck mashing up SWF content. Would RSS ever existed with Flash?).

Flash is a developer trap to get people locked into an Adobe ecosystem. It's business 101, and the web cannot depend upon any one business.

The experiments Adobe have done exporting SWF to Canvas are interesting, but ultimately are an internal conflict that if anything, will be the wake up call that their licencing revenue stream is going to dry up in the wake of the iPhone/iPad dominating everything and developers waking up to HTML5 and ditching Flash.

If Adobe make a tool that can run content anywhere, then who can they sell the runtime to? Nobody. Adobe will either cripple this experiment to the point of uselessness (citing their favourite silver bullet, 'browser inconsistencies') or if they have a cluestick, embrace it and sell Adobe software as the best designer tool for creating standards-based web content.

From what I've seen from Adobe's blogs, and Flash developers, they are all living in a bubble where Flash is this fautless, great thing that the world absolutely requires to do anything on the web. I really don't imagine them getting a clue until they've severely lost out first.

Flash is going to be around for a long, long time yet, but Adobe's notion that Flash is required for content is simply wrong. Flash is a runtime *for* content, and as demonstrated when their laughable attempt to make a point with blue legos on the iPad was shown as unrealistic given that all but two sites already had non-Flash versions for the iPhone, Flash is just eye-candy and has little to do with content beyond games (which Apple is betting people will convert into App Store apps).

Flash is dead. The question is whether or not Adobe can turn it into something else instead of beating the same horse and denying its faults.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 15th Feb 2010 11:12 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Flash is dead. The question is whether or not Adobe can turn it into something else instead of beating the same horse and denying its faults.

BSD is dead. Apple is dead. Microsoft is dead. The desktop is dead.

Don't confuse wish with reality.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 15th Feb 2010 12:11 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:

The reality is that Flash has no future unless it shapes up.

In the least Adobe should fix their shoddy coding and work toward fixing the well loathed image of the Flash plugin. At best they should open source everything and set up a steering committee for the SWF format that anybody can contribute to.

Addendum: Who is going to develop a Flash site for mobiles, and then have to do it all again with standards (because iPhone is 70% of the browser market) when you could just do it in standards to begin with and target them all?

Edited 2010-02-15 12:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2