Adobe & Flash vs Apple & HTML 5
I’m currently in the midst of writing an article on my take on Apple’s decision to forge ahead with HTML 5 and leave Flash unsupported on the new iPad. But it’s interesting to see how the community has reacted so far over the Flash vs HTML 5 debacle and how the iPad’s announcement has caused many heated discussions (and arguments) over this issue.
Personally, I don’t hate what Flash can do. It does really cool stuff and it has made the Internet media much more interactive and enabled creative juices to really flow over the web of otherwise static content. But while I love what it can do, I also hate the fact that a regular flash media would take up at least 30% of my CPU cycle anytime I load one of those Flash-powered websites. Seriously. 30% CPU cycle? Imagine surfing the web on a mobile device that is running on limited battery capacity. Playing restaurant city on Facebook is a guaranteed method to suck up all your battery life within the hour.
I remember a time when Flash is so lightweight, even an Pentium 3 PC could run a Flash media fine, that’s the Flash v4-v5 era. And if I were to create the SAME simple animations with Flash CS4 today, it would still take about 20-30% cpu time on a Core 2 Duo powered machine. Hmmm, sounds like plugin bloat to me! Does moving a bunch of vector-based graphics need so much CPU power? I’m not even attempting to perform complex 3D models rendering within the plugin or have complex action scripts running. Just swinging and moving a couple of flat vector graphics on a couple of layers and have one or two bitmap images in the media. HTML 5’s canvas is starting to sound a lot more interesting.
Sure, there’s a big void in the space of tooling for HTML 5. But just hop over to http://www.canvasdemos.com/ and you’ll be quite amazed at how Canvas has progressed so far!
So. Am I upset that the iPad or the iPhone not supporting Flash? Well, to be honest, I don’t really care. But even if the iPad or iPhone does support Flash, I’d most likely move away from any Flash powered sites if the battery consumption is high. Who really needs flash powered media anyway on a mobile device? Play videos? Didn’t you know the iPhone and iPad has the iPod app for that? Native player FTW!
Would HTML 5 be the future of interactive web? Who knows. But with Google, Apple and now Microsoft into the picture, it’s hard to discount it as a real replacement for Flash in 80% of it’s use case. I’m sure Flash would still be around to cater for some of the more extreme media requirements. But with componets like jQuery and better rich media support in HTML 5, I’m sure we’ll start to see more of it and less of Flash.