One of our earliest blog posts was HTML5 and Flash: The Battle for the Web. In it we discussed how Steve Jobs had recently spoken out quite vocally in favor of HTML5 over Adobe Flash. We noted several trends around the web, such as YouTube’s HTML5 trial, and pondered whether these trends would continue.
Today, we need not wonder. HTML5 has become the clear standard of the future, propelled not insignificantly by Apple’s steadfast devotion to it. But it wasn’t until recently that the matter was put to rest. The death knell for Flash came in a November blog post on Adobe’s website, announcing their intention to stop development of the mobile Flash player and commit to HTML5. While they will still continue to develop the Flash Player for PCs, this move is a clear change of direction and will usher in the era of HTML5 all the faster.
Additionally, Adobe announced they would donate their Flex SDK to the open-source Apache Software Foundation. Flex is Adobe’s Flash-based framework that allows developers to build cross-platform applications, and amounts to Adobe donating Flash mobile to Apache.
The death of Flash will be slow, and only as painful as one’s investment in Flex. The transition has been well underway for years, and it will be longer yet. Google has confirmed that the upcoming Andriod Ice Cream Sandwich OS will feature Adobe Flash Player, though they also confirmed that the subsequent major release will not. The final version of Flash Player is expected before the end of the year.
So in retrospect, it is clear that HTML5 is comfortably on its way to winning “the battle for the web.” Cornering mobile web is no small feat, considering mobile already accounts for almost 7% of all web traffic and is virtually guaranteed to increase.
Have you felt the impact of these developments? Have you or your company embraced or avoided Flex, and has that situation changed? It will be most interesting to consider the state of things in another year.