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Adobe Ditches Flash for HTML5 (finally)

Posted on the 10 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Adobe ditches Flash for HTML5 (finally)

A logo for HTML5, the new kid on the coding block.

Software company Adobe (prounounced Ah-doh-bee, by the way) has decided to stop making its Flash Player plug-in for browsers on mobile devices – but it will continue making them for desktop PCs. Now it’s going to back what had hitherto been seen as a rival: HTML5. Steve Jobs (the deceased Apple CEO) was right – he didn’t allow Flash on the iPad.  Commentators saw it as a win for Steve Jobs and Apple. Adobe was already hinting at its move to HTML5 in August, when it released Adobe Edge, which allowed use of the code.

People thought Flash was a bit unstable on mobiles, and a drain on battery power. It was widely used, though, because it meant that programmers could code animations, games and video to any browser with the plug-in – without having to take into account what browser it was on. HTML5, crucially, has support for video, so now developers are turning towards it. Adobe’s also restructuring its company, making 750 people redundant.

“HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” Adobe VP Danny Winokur said in a blogpost on the Adobe site.

A bad thing? The decision has, said Matt Hamblen on Techworld, caused concerns amongst app developers. He quoted vice president of TalkPoint Communications Mike Vitale, who said that the move was a “‘poor decision’” since most distributors are happy with Flash.

The puppet masters. Brier Dudley on The Seattle Times said that it was all down to Steve Jobs.  He was a constant critic of Flash. But “another Steve” has had influence, too – Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft’s Windows group, who’s made it clear that Flash will be a “second class citizen” on Windows devices.

Shrewd manipulator. Maybe, said Matt Peckham on Time magazine, Jobs was simply “shrewdly” working to “ensure  he’d be right, by using Apple to put Flash “in a stranglehold.” Jobs even wrote a long piece about its faults.

Event horizon. Jason Perlow on Zdnet.com said it was the end for Flash, even on desktops, because it’s going to be very difficult to reprogram everything. Everything will have to “migrate” to HTML5. Browser-based games – like Farmville – will pose a problem. “Adobe Flash might as well have fallen into a black hole. It’s certainly very close to the event horizon from where I’m sitting.”

What does it matter? So what effect will it have on your average user? The International Business Times looked at what it meant for consumers, coming to the startling conclusion that, actually, “it won’t mean much.”


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