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Old 02-24-2010, 12:05 AM   #1
Sonist
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HTML5 and Adobe Flash ... Why Can't We Be Friends?

Paul Lopez has some interesting observations on the "standards" debate fueled recently by the lack of Flash on the iPad:

"... But let's look at whose driving the standard. Ian Hickson is from Google and David Hyatt is from Apple, so it should come as no surprise why Adobe is odd man out. Refined standards take a long time to materialize; the Candidate Recommendation stage for HTML5 starts in 2012 and could end as late as 2022, but we're talking software, not hardware.
...
Is HTML5 advancing fast enough to overtake Flash on the web? If the CODEC debate of H.264 vs. Ogg Theora doesn't get resolved soon (H.264 has IP licensing and potential patent infringement issues), we will see a splintering of web browser support for HTML5 in the short term. For now, I'd keep some Flash developers around.
"

It got me thinking: Apple is gearing up to create an iPhone-like (closed) ecosystem around its Macs.

Why else spend resources on the fairly pedestrian Pro apps, like Aperture (I've been trying out v.3)?

In view of this, the "war" Jobs has been waging against Adobe would make better sense.

David Hyatt, an Apple employee, is one of the two editors of the HTML5 standard (there is a bit of a conflict in here, IMO). If HTML5 can break the dominance of Flash, who is nicely positioned to provide the development tools for it? That's right, Apple - there are rumors that just such tools will be unveiled very soon.

Apple can't compete against Flash, but can try to kill it, so it can grab a share of the large development app market.

Apple kind of needs this, since Adobe CS has been moving a half a step ahead on the Windows platform, making Apple less relevant in its traditional (and very lucrative) pro markets. This trend is likely to be reversed, if Apple can topple one of Adobe's crown jewels, Flash. And this will bring in customers not just for the Pro apps, but also for Apple's hardware.

Now, I personally think that the lack of Flash on the iPad will hurt Apple more than it will hurt Adobe. Particularly with Android being the closest competition to Apple's great UI we've ever seen. But it does seem this is part of a larger strategy by Apple.

So, maybe Jobs is less irrational than I thought. Or may be not.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
It got me thinking: Apple is gearing up to create an iPhone-like (closed) ecosystem around its Macs.
It would lose too many customers.

Besides, while the iPad/iPod/iPhone are expected to run like appliances, it would be as counterproductive to apply the same metaphor to their computers as it was for various manufacturers trying to make the desktop metaphore apply to these type of appliances in the past.

Quote:
Now, I personally think that the lack of Flash on the iPad will hurt Apple more than it will hurt Adobe. Particularly with Android being the closest competition to Apple's great UI we've ever seen. But it does seem this is part of a larger strategy by Apple.
How well does flash work on android? A serious question, I never tried android.

Anyway, there is room for both, at the same time, flash is a bad security vector and I think it's best role is for games and the like, not trying to be everything interactive on a website like menus and such. But it was HTML's fault for not filling the demand sufficiently when web 2.0 or whatever it's called was coming out.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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HTML5 is not an alternative to Flash in the here and now. It will be awhile before HTML5 is in a form that even allows tools to be developed for it, much less before web sites and all the browsers support it consistently and fully enough to consider. But certainly it can eventually reduce the reliance on Flash as well as some of the 'Web 2.0' technologies now in use. I'm sure Dreamweaver will be updated to support HTML5 doctype when there is one; Adobe is not against HTML5, and can't afford not to have good tools for it.

Meanwhile, the potential for Flash is not limited to its use in browsers and for annoying ad banners. The prospect of being able to write applications (AIR) that can share code and development tools across diverse platforms is an attractive one. For iPhone/iPad, Adobe has demonstrated that it's possible to make an AIR application look like a native iPhone app (apparently several such are available in the iTunes Store). I have no idea what compromises are involved there, but it's viable enough that Adobe plans to put this capability into CS5 Flash, which will be coming out this year. And when Flash Player for Android, PalmOS, Windows Mobile etc. is available, it will be easier than ever to create applications that run on multiple mobile platforms (in addition to browser support for Flash on non-Apple devices).

Also, Flex (web based Flash) applications are increasingly popular for in-house corporate RIA development & for 'vertical' business applications, and Apple will be missing out if they don't deliver mobile devices that can support it, to the extent that they care about corporate markets.

However it will take awhile for the mobile variants to roll out, especially with so many flavors of Android to sort out. As such, I don't think there is really going to much pressure on Apple to add Flash to iPad for awhile (unless Windows 7 tablets vastly outperform everyone's low expectations).

Hopefully it will be enough time so that Adobe and Apple can work out their differences and deliver a quality Flash Player for iPhone OS (sure, with an option to disable it). It would help Adobe in their negotiations if the 10.1 version for OS X demonstrates significant performance improvements and supports Apple UI Guidelines (for keyboard navigation, accessibility etc. - which as a Mac user, I find the lack thereof really annoying in the current version, specifically for Flex/AIR apps). (Flash Player 10.1 beta is available now, I might have to check that out..)

Assuming Adobe can deliver the goods, it's not clear who else is positioned to compete with them on cross platform client application development (JavaFX maybe? but is Oracle interested in pushing it?). Certainly not Apple, whose solutions are decidedly confined to Apple hardware.

I know Flash has its problems, but it would be nice if it can deliver on the cross platform development thing (so many years after Java's "write once, run many"). Even better if there were 2 or 3 such things to choose from.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibril View Post

How well does flash work on android? A serious question, I never tried android.
I actually played with betas on WM6.1 and it was totally acceptable.

Here is a video of the Flash 10.1 beta on the Nexus One, which is of course a pretty well-endowed phone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWOocHwcLo
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