Google released a great new HTML5 resource HTML5 Rocks for those looking to learn more about HTML5, complete with samples and tutorials. Some of the coolest stuff (animation, transitions) is webkit based, it will be interesting to see how IE 9 handles this. Chrome Frame is an interesting concept for dealing with IE until IE 9 is released, kind of like an HTML5 plugin for IE 6, 7 and 8. I wonder if it will work with IE 9 to enable webkit supported HTML5 features?
I’ve been trying to work on new Flash and Flex tutorials, but keep getting sucked back into the HTML5 vs Flash debate. There are so many new quotes that reinforce that fact that a world without Flash is just not what the future holds in store. HTML5 and Flash a Reality Check
As an enthusiastic Mac fan for over 2 decades, I agreed 100% with Apple when they announced the end of the floppy drive. Steve Jobs has some good arguments for saying that the end of Flash is near, but all the logic put forth to support this claim does not seem to be supported by reality. Flash does have it’s faults, but so do all technologies we work with everyday. Plus, Apple’s track record on picking all the right technologies has not been without error, it did take them over twenty years to add a second button to their mouse.
The latest jab at HTML5 and what seems to be another fresh dose of reality to the Flash vs HTML5 war can be found at flashlab.com, titled “Jump Back in TIme with HTML5”.
This is a great spoof on the recently released page, put out by Apple, HTML5 and Web Standards. It provides some great insight as well as plenty of examples why many features expected to be a part of HTML5 are not that impressive. That’s because many of them have been a standard part of the web experience for over a decade.
“Jump Back in TIme with HTML5” could not have come at a more relevant time for me as we are currently working on an HTML5 site and trying to get all these “standard features” to work in all the current HTML5 supported browsers. Just to get video to work in Safari, Chrome and Firefox, you have to have two versions of each video file, one ogg vorbis (the only video format Firefox supports) and mp4. This creates another huge headache because many servers do not serve .ogv files in it’s correct mime type by default. The site is so full of code exceptions, based on which browser you are using, it really does remind me of the Netscape/IE nightmares from a decade ago, before CSS. To get this site to work in IE (currently supporting IE 7 and 8 ) we have to fall back on Flash. So for one HTML5 site to work across browsers, we have to have at least 2 versions of everything, which is not progress. I get the impression that Apple’s push for HTML5 as an open “standard” and as a “replacement” for Flash is just charade to avoid anti-trust lawsuits for not allowing legitimate alternative technologies onto their iPhones and iPads.
In all this, one may get the impression I’m anti-HTML5. Though it’s a pain in the butt right now, eventually it will be a great advancement for the web. What I am against is the talk that HTML5 is a replacement for Flash and that Flash is a dead technology. I’m also against the confusion, caused by Apple, where clients ask for Flash type websites done in HTML5 and expect them to be viewed by their company that still uses Windows 2000. When Apple can produce a site full of games that equal the immersive experience of some of the best Flash games out there, with equal performance, then we can compare these two technologies as apples to apples. It’ll be a few years before this happens, but by then Flash will be a new kind of fruit.
So Let’s Review:
1. HTML5 is currently supported by about a third of the web. (Not a standard)
2. HTML5 features supported in the current browsers supporting HTML5 is very spotty. (Not a standard).
3. Flash works the same for 97% of the web, cross platform and cross browser, using one set of code and assets.
4. HTML5 can not produce the level of animation, interactivity and immersive experience that Flash can. From full 3D to real world type physics, it’s a great platform for developing games and high-end immersive websites.
Last Word (promise):
I love building Flash applications on my Apple computers. HTML5, not so fun at the moment. Unless we get to a point where everyone surfs the web with and same browser, there will never be the type of consistency, cross platform, cross browser experience that Flash provides.
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