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HTML5 And Flash: Why It’s Not A War, And Why Flash Won’t Die

With all of the buzz going on in our Web community about HTML5 and Flash, I’ve decided to dive into the fray and offer my thoughts as a 10-year veteran of both Web design and Flash development. Let me preface by saying that this article is opinion-based, and that information is certainly out there that I am not aware of, and that none of us truly knows what the future holds.

Use Of Flash Till Now Link

When Flash broke on the scene, it was a fairly revolutionary tool… and much simpler to use than it is today. I first started using it in 1999, when it was being produced by Macromedia. The current version then was 4. The simple benefit was that it allowed the average computer user to design graphics and create simple user interactions with almost no skill: quite a feat in the messy and over-complicated world of Netscape and IE4.

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People didn’t take long to start using Flash as an engine to create full and complete websites, especially as the versions continued their march upward and ActionScript gained footing. Quite simply, it sped up development time and wow’ed all users with its animations—a far cry from the static-text Geocities websites around them.

But Flash started to be overused soon after. One can compare it to HTML tables, a framework that revolutionized the industry for a time, became overused and then receded to its proper role (which in this case was to structure data points rather than website columns).

Why They Don’t Have to Fight Link

I’ve read a lot of blog posts lately about HTML5 taking on Flash like a prize fighter and kicking it off the scene in some epic battle of Web standards and pragmatism. But this is a false scenario: HTML5 and Flash are not meant to be fighting in the same ring, or to be fighting at all. Each has its proper place on the Web and in the graphic community.

Flash’s Place Link

Interestingly enough, Flash’s place is not entirely on the Web at all, and certainly not to take over full website designs (or those dreaded Flash intros either). While bits of Flash will continue to be used in Web design for advertising and gaming, it will truly shine in two primary areas.

The first area is the corporate setting. I work part-time as a Web developer on the multimedia team of a major international telecommunications company. The majority of the team consists of Flash developers, and there is a huge demand for more of them. So, while Flash may be shrinking in the Web industry, it is booming at the corporate level through rich media, training and learning solutions, Intranet applications and the like.

While Flash may be simplistic and annoying for a website, its capabilities for database interaction, PHP integration, XML sourcing, external ActionScript 3, extensible plug-ins and import and export functionality make it an extremely robust tool that far outweighs the competition for certain uses. Flash has a profitable future in corporate settings.

The second area is still budding and turbulent: mobile platforms. Web content aside, if Flash could be used to produce applications and rich interaction on a variety of mobile platforms, it would empower designers and developers everywhere to contribute to a booming mobile industry (and give us the opportunity to make a sweet profit while we’re at it).

Why would Flash do so well in the mobile space compared to Web-based tools and frameworks? First of all, because Flash is a powerful development tool, beyond its graphic and animation capabilities. ActionScript 3 has brought serious improvements to the overall structure and functionality of applications, allowing developers to create powerful apps.

Secondly, Flash being used across multiple platforms brings a much higher probability of consistency and compatibility. Even if comprehensive Web standards were supported across all mobile devices, there is no guarantee that we wouldn’t run into the same cross-browser headaches on the variety of mobile browsers. If Flash were supported on all mobile devices, I could be reasonably certain that my Flash module would run smoothly on each one.

It’s like my parents fighting. I love Adobe. I love Apple. This really sucks.

— Terry Ranson

The Adobe and Apple cat fight disagreement may be discouraging, but consider that Android is releasing a Flash-enabled framework, and Adobe is releasing Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones, and Research in Motion has joined Adobe’s Open Screen Project, essentially committing the BlackBerry to Flash in the near future.

Flash should never have been used to the extent that it was purely for Web design. But it has capabilities beneath the hood that make it an extremely valuable resource for certain uses, particularly in the mobile space.

HTML5’s Place Link

HTML5’s place, on the other hand, is entirely on the Web. And this is an outstanding development. I remember switching from table-based designs to CSS, a liberating move that gave Web designers a freedom that only we could truly appreciate. Moving forward with standards-based browsers and rich functionality via CSS3 and HTML5 will take our industry to new heights and lead to a flourishing of gorgeous websites and functionality that we’ve never before witnessed.

Plenty of articles and resources outline the capabilities and benefits of HTML5 (I won’t cover them here), but rest assured that it is the future, and a sweet future at that.

The Web In Two Years Link

Where will the chips fall when the Web design industry reaches its next stage? I may be idealistic, but I would like to see (and I think we will see) the following:

  • HTML5 and CSS3 as the new Web standard;
  • All browsers being compatible and standards-based;
  • Flash being used more limitedly as a tool for multimedia and gaming and interaction, both online and offline;
  • Mobile platforms and mobile content development being the newest and fastest-growing subset of the industry:
    • Sporting Flash capabilities for robust application development across all platforms;
    • And offering HTML5, CSS3 and complex JavaScript capabilities for mobile browsing.

Conclusion Link

Flash has been misused and overused for the past eight years, spreading its tentacles too far into the fabric of Web design. But rather than getting beaten out of the picture by these practical new Web frameworks, Flash will retreat to its proper place: those niche areas where it belongs and can truly excel. The first niche is multimedia and learning solutions for the corporate space. Only time will tell if Flash finds its second niche on mobile platforms.


Footnotes Link

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Luke Reimer is a web project manager, designer, and developer currently operating Fluid Media web design group out of Waterloo, Canada.

  1. 1

    I totally agree with your statement about Flash being over used. The number of times I have left a website simply because they have thought it would be a great idea to have an intro page (with a skip intro button!), if the intro can be skipped then why bother having it!
    Lets hope all browsers will become compatible and standards-based, Microsoft may be the ones dragging their heels on this one though.

    If more developers thought the same way as you about where HTML5 and Flash belong the internet would be a much faster and pleasant experience!

    • 2

      I totally agree with you Owain about Flash been over used. I hate those intro pages to with the skip button, but what are you to do when the client demands thats what he/she wants.
      Many a times I have tried to talk clients out of this, but in the end it is their money and website.

      • 3

        Mark Glynne-Jones

        May 18, 2010 9:49 am

        If it says ‘skip intro’ then do as you’re told I always say. Can’t be that important eh?

        • 4

          I can’t even remember the last time I saw a website with a flash intro… that was years ago.

          • 5

            I can’t even believe that “designers” are talking about that flash intros and skip buttons…:) Its like listening to my friends who work in not – web related industry and visit less website per year than I do in one week.

            The same arguments,… always. Guys, forget about this – it was long time ago.

            And if you have to because client asked..well … you can educate and waived , reduce to minimum, be creative and make it as a part of interface..

            Anyway , all this fight FLASHvsHTML – it brings us money – so lets hope there will be draw :)

  2. 6

    Kristofor Lawson

    May 18, 2010 2:49 am

    For the most part I agree with all the arguments. However I think Adobe will really need to get it together for their mobile flash versions to be deployable to all devices. Apple is not a company known to backtrack so I think it will take real innovation from Adobe to resolve this dispute.

    Personally I love the interactivity which flash brings to the web and often recreating flash based sites in HTML5 would simply not be possible. There is a lot of stuff that HTML5 and CSS3 can do, but there is a lot of stuff it can’t do. Flash is an important part of the web’s future, but I think it will be a while for websites to fully transition across to HTML5 – which by the way hasn’t even been finalised yet.

  3. 7

    While I don’t believe that HTML5 will be the end of Flash, I can’t say that I agree with your article either.

    HTML5’s place is not necessarily on the web and is just as interesting to use in Mobile Applications and Intranet as Flash. Even know there are frameworks that allow the use of HTML in iPhone applications, not just websites.

    The annoyance for Flash has mostly been caused by amateurs playing with it. Full Flash sites that are well programmed and offer an exciting way of navigating are no problem. It’s the amateur that makes a Flash intro that you can’t skip, that uses countless tweens and has bascially no knowledge of Actionscript who makes people hate Flash. That and the bad performance of the Flash plug-in.

    • 8

      Hugh Isaacs II

      May 18, 2010 7:14 am

      I was thinking the same thing, one thing the article doesn’t point out is that another Adobe technology, Adobe Air, will be a component in bringing HTML5 to the desktop.

      And aside from that, what about the HTML5 offline capabilities? or apps like Google Chrome?

      Yes, there’s a browser in there at some point but the same could be said for the Flash runtime.

      These guys seem to have a thing for defending Flash whenever possible.
      Yes, I think Flash will still be around for a while, but not for the reasons stated.

      • 9

        HTML5 is not going to take over the web. It still uses plugins and proprietary things; look at Apple and their idiotic adoption of H.264. Obviously Apple are too lazy to use gstreamer or something?

        • 10

          Well, H264 is not part of HTML5… Only open technology is and will be part of HTML5.

          I think Flash will die eventually. Database technologies are being developed for the HTML5 spec, there’s all sorts of 3D and 2D stuff, hardware acceleration and whatnot. In ten years time or so, when HTML5 is finished, Flash will loose all reason to exist. And the reason why it’s going to loose to HTML5 is, not only that you won’t need to install a plugin, but because HTML5 will be lighter and better integrated, and won’t be constantly crashing your browser like Flash does.

          • 11

            you are comparing what you think html5 will be against what flash is today? You don’t think flash will evolve at all? Its been constantly improving for the last 10 years…

          • 12

            I don’t know what kind of computer you are running, but most people don’t have issues with their browser crashing from Flash.

        • 13

          Their idiotic adoption of a standard?? Wow, hate Apple much, hater??

    • 14

      Actually, Flash is on par with other multimedia content delivery platforms when it comes to performance. The “bad performance” you’re referring to is caused by bad ActionScript, just like bad JavaScript can cripple a website. Mike Chambers put it best in his analysis:

      • 15

        But the only real argument in favour of Flash is that it is easy for designers who are not good programmers to make entire websites (if you can call them that) _without_ understanding what they are doing, so blaming them for producing bad ActionScript is ridiculous in this context.
        As far as the main article is concerned, it was very one-sided. Flash has always been anti-standards, has always been a major problem for those with _any_ disability (not just those who are totally blind), and is ultimately an unnecessary layer on top of the web. Having praised all of the things that it can (occasionally) do well, you completely ignored the fact that pure HTML can do all of the same things, and do most of them better. A certain browser prevents this being easy, but Flash is largely responsible for this, by giving them an excuse.

  4. 16

    Thomas Mielke

    May 18, 2010 2:52 am

    Relly Good! But I can’t understand why Apple disable “Flash” on their mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad.
    Let see what Apple will do in the next years.

    Greetings from Germany, Tommy

    • 17

      Excure me? It is not a question of Apple “disabling” Flash on their mobile devices. There is NO Flash on mobile devices — anywhere. Maybe you are thinking of Flash Lite? That can’t play all Flash content that people are used to anyway, so what’s the point?

      All the Flash content now out there on the web will have to be re-tooled for mobile devices anyway. And Flash isn’t suited to Touch devices at the moment — too many rollovers requiring a mouse or stylus.

      Adobe are making empty promises, again; and breaking them, again. Adobe talked about putting Flash plugins on mobile devices three years ago. Adobe could not adequately support two desktop platforms; now they are talking about half-a-dozen mobile platforms; and they keep moving launch dates back. Android is due to get it soon… we’ll see. Flash 10.1 is now going to require something like at least an A8 processor at 1000MGhz to run decently. That cuts out just about anyone without a top-end mobile device from the last six months. Good thing Apple didn’t’ wait. Adobe has yet to produce the goods, as usual.

      Yes, let’s see what Adobe do in future years: might be interesting if they rehire their mobile development team and fire a few PR and marketers instead.

      • 18

        I’ve seen (full)Flash running on the Android platform…

        • 19

          I’ve seen (full)Flash running on android as well,.. also blackberry is suppose to pick it up in it’s next version and Windows Mobile 7(when it’s finally released) is suppose to support it as well. The iPhone is going to be the only major player in the coming years that doesn’t support flash, java or silverlight. Not to mention the fact that last quarter it only captured 21% of the US market while android captured 28% and blackberry captured 38%.

          I agree with Luke that they each definetly have their place and that this really shouldn’t be viewed as a “fight”, but this will certainly hurt apple for not allowing their customers to view the entire internet. If all the other smartphones don’t end up boycotting flash and the other plugins like apple is doing, the iPhone’s/iPad’s are more than likely going to be viewed in the same light that ie6 has for so long. All providing apple still holds as strong of a portion of the market as they did lastyear.

          • 20

            C’mon guys, Apple is right. Show me a consumer electronic device that costs about USD 500 and doesn’t bring a web camera (at least) with it (only Apple can do that).

            (HTML 5 Canvas + Javascript) animations are lots more heavier and harder to deploy than Flash ones.

          • 21

            it hurts Apple do you mean? because it does not support Flash at all? I don’t know if you mean aboout it xD my english too bad. but :
            check the Apple website and the link “thoughts in Flash by Steve Jobs”. I think Apple is different, apple devices are different way to browse, to call, to listen, to view… then why develope devices as the other companies do? why to do the same when Apple is Different.. ? why develope devices multi task and Flash just because the others support it? Apple is not “the others”. Think Different. they say :P

      • 22

        Flash Works On Touch-Based Devices (Video) by Lee Brimelow.
        he says: “Several people have been making assertions that most Flash sites will not work properly on touch-based devices because these sites use rollovers or hovers for things like effects and navigation. Well I put together this little video together showing that Flash sites do indeed work the way you would expect since the Flash Player dispatches rollover events even on a touch screen.”

        peace :)

      • 23

        Wow guess you really missed the mark on this rant. Flash is now available on the majority of mobile devices in the market.

  5. 24

    Edgar Leijs

    May 18, 2010 2:52 am

    I like your article. On HTML5 tho, I really hope it won’t become the next Flash with up and running…

  6. 25


    May 18, 2010 2:54 am

    It’s all right, nothing to blame about it.
    Adobe and Apple must understand each other.

    and Yeah, it’s all back to the developers [not the users]

  7. 26

    Chrsitopher Farrugia

    May 18, 2010 2:54 am

    so so true, flash has already retreated to only being useful for major brands and rich companies, that’s if they can afford to use and have flash sites created(and that’s diminishing daily). So bring on HTML5 and lets see how the future of the web really turns out :)

  8. 27

    You make a valid point that at the time while Flash was still a Macromedia product it was filling in for all of the browsers’ shortcomings … It was providing same looking content under IE4 and NS4 which at the time was rather hard to achieve for something that’s not completely sliced in images.
    Anyhow exactly as IE4 and NS4 it served its purpose and either needs to adapt to the new realities or leave the scene and Adobe does not really seem to be certain on where things are going, they are defocused and heavy and throw things in the air like AIR which serve no monetizing purpose … but alas … let’s wait and see

  9. 28

    Sean O'Grady

    May 18, 2010 2:56 am

    HTML5 place is not entirely on the web. Steve Jobs emphasised the fact that it will be used to create the iAds.

    • 29

      iAds are just little websites in reality…

      • 30

        Yes, that is rather the point – most small application development these days uses HTML – MS has it HTA / HTC format, desktop widgets on all platforms are generally HTML, because actually it works a lot better than crap like Flash, or more particularly the crap flash-reading players.
        Just last night I had to spend fifteen minutes waiting for FireFox to shut down so that my PC was useable again because my wife was on some stupid flash game that had totally hung everything.

  10. 31

    Nice to read a well balanced, fair and intelligent article on this debacle.

  11. 32

    Christopher Dosin

    May 18, 2010 2:57 am

    Great article, i totally agree with u ;)

  12. 33

    All hell broke loose! Smashing Magazine letting someone actually have a fair opinion and not bashing Flash and loving Apple + HTML5 is just beyond what I was expecting. Kudos for doing this.

    I agree with everything except one thing. Flash is still (and will be) the best way to deliver high multimedia, interactive, and cool websites. Just look at and you will see that, in a near future, HMTL5 will still not be able to reproduce this type of content and will not have the strong foundations that a project in Flash is capable of. the new cool website from Wrangler is a fine example of that “”.

    Another thing. Two years? I don´t know… With all the wars between Mozilla, Apple, Opera and so on, I don’t except for big companies to use all alone HTML5 for their websites.

    • 34

      Joe Dyndale

      May 18, 2010 8:03 am

      Actually, I’m pretty sure it would be possible to create that site with HTML5. I mean, when this is possible:

      • 35

        Didn’t work at all in IE running on parallels – I’ve found that quite a few html5 and jquery things don’t work in this environment, but Flash does – has anyone else found this to be the case?

    • 36

      Mike Watkins

      May 18, 2010 8:35 am

      Funny – since html5 + javascript will be able to do a website like this, but even better, and work across all platforms (even the iPhone).

      Not that this really is even a “great” example – unless of course 45 second loading times is your thing.

    • 37

      Only partly I agree. Very rich media and game-like websites, yes, Flash will rule there for the near future. However, stating that “interactive and cool” websites can only be created in Flash is nonsense. Please define what interactive is and what cool is. I find a website or application that is simple, fast and looks good to be very cool and interactive. I find a bloated, slowloading eye candy production where you don’t know where to click not so cool.

      Cool or not, what matters is usability. Most users do not want cool, they want to get things done. Exceptions are some niche industries, like for example a ringtone site for teenagers.

    • 38

      Why is that site cool, 10 minutes to download, to move a few frames of a guy wearing clothes and oh look I can rip his shirt off… Its like every bad advert on TV but takes longer, style over substance.

      What is its point. Is this going to make me buy more wranglers eh no! This is really boring and not very imaginative. This is NOT for me a good example of flash.

      • 39

        Loading took only 5 to 10 seconds here, so the 10 minutes it took you are probably exaggerated..

        Why is it not a good example of of flash? If it were created using html5, would it have been a bad example of html5 also? In that case, perhaps the style of the site doesn’t suit your taste. But the technology behind it seems solid to me.

        What you need to understand about sites like this is that they indeed serve the same purpose the tv adverts you mention. Sites like this are there for branding and promotional purposes. If your visit there makes a lasting impression and you retain the name “Wrangler” then the next time you visit a store you will be more likely to buy their products.

        • 40

          Took me 3 or 4 minutes to download too. I shudder to imagine how many people leave the site before ever seeing it load. I wonder how much they paid for it? The ROI would be terrible. Bad example.

      • 41

        Over 3 minutes of waiting, I finally closed the window.

        As internet speeds have gotten faster, flash has become more bloated. If I have to sit and wait for sites to load and can’t do a thing until it does, I’m gone. I’d hate to be loading this site on a phone that supports flash.

        For branding and promo, this is a horrible example to use. You only have a few seconds to capture someone with a commercial before they tune out. Same applies to web ads. How about a nice quick loading promo to get the user interested, be it flash or html5 and then take them to the bloated version. Having to wait for a bloated version of who knows what you are waiting for is bad for business.

  13. 42

    Alan O Connor

    May 18, 2010 3:02 am

    Great Article! Also a note people forget about the huge industry of online advertising and rich media advertising via flash banners. Systems like double click which Google has its hands in aren’t going to shift over night. Being realistic IE6 is still around, HTML 5 isn’t going to supported in IE till IE9, which isn’t even out yet!

    • 43

      To add to that, IE9 will only work on Windows 7+. IE 6, 7, 8 currently own over 50% of the browser market and it will be a while before that changes. I think “2 years” figure in the article is rather optimistic. Flash is not going away any time soon. Let’s hope that in “2 years” HTML5 is no longer a draft standard and is at least implemented consistently across leading browsers.

  14. 44

    Always refreshing with an HTML5 vs Flash article that isnt more of an I love/hate Apple article.

    Coulden´t agree with you more, as a developer I will always look at what technique suits the end-product the best and I see benifits with them both.

  15. 45

    And what about iPhone OS ?

  16. 46

    Finally, a sensible article. I was getting tired of the “HTML5 is the new Flash” argument.

  17. 47

    Me as flash/flex/AIR developer I disagree with the opinion that flash is not for the web and its only for multimedia,advertisements and games. Its also being used for Enterprise applications and for ecomerce websites.Flash has lot more potential and it will grow.

    • 48

      You can disagree, it’s your right/choice. Though Flash blows on the desktop just as much as it does on the web! Be it straight Flash or Flex/Air or whatever else Adobe can pull out of their incompetent rear end.

      Bottom line what kills Flash is Adobe’s inability to create a decent, stable virtual machine that would run without crashing or using 100% of the computer’s processing power and do so without leaking memory like a sieve!

      So you can disagree but I hope Flash dies sooner rather than later!

    • 50

      Rajveer Singh Rathore

      May 19, 2010 10:55 pm

      When HTML 5 is going to do what it takes to have Flash for web interaction then it’s better to call end of days for Flash. Sooner the better!

      I personally never liked Flash on a web page, rather I have been seeking ways to reconsider the information architecture and get the results using JavaScript.

  18. 51

    Fre says:

    “Full Flash sites that are well programmed and offer an exciting way of navigating are no problem.”

    No, this is also a problem. I don’t want or need to install the Flash plugin, it’s useless to me (as it only serves to crash all my browsers). In this case I wouldn’t be surfing these sites, then the problem wouldn’t be mine. There’s no need to exciting way of navigating. Better saying: there’s no exciting way of navigating with Flash.

    • 52

      My two years MacBookPro and other computers I have at home never crashed due to Flash…

      No exciting way of navigating in Flash websites? lol?

      You can use anything! From your mouse, to your keyboard, to a combination of this two, you can navigate through gestures, eck! Even with your own movement!

      And yes, you are missing a great opportunity of having great user experiences…

      • 53

        “My two years MacBookPro and other computers I have at home never crashed due to Flash…”

        It’s only your experience. The reality is far behind. :-) (read Google/Microsoft/Mozilla/Opera ASA thoughts about this)

        “No exciting way of navigating in Flash websites? lol?”

        No at all. D-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y. :-)

        “You can use anything! From your mouse, to your keyboard, to a combination of this two, you can navigate through gestures, eck! Even with your own movement!”

        I’ve all this with just (X)HTML, so I don’t need Flash (it’s a browser feature). Thank you. :-)

        “And yes, you are missing a great opportunity of having great user experiences…”

        Nope, I’m sure I have the best experience without Flash. I’m a user-centric developer, I really know that I don’t need neither Flash, Java or XYZ plugin to surf the web with really good experience. I know that I only need good developers behind the sites that I surf. :D

        • 54

          “I’ve all this with just (X)HTML, so I don’t need Flash (it’s a browser feature). Thank you. :-)”

          Hum… no.

          “Nope, I’m sure I have the best experience without Flash. I’m a user-centric developer, I really know that I don’t need neither Flash, Java or XYZ plugin to surf the web with really good experience. I know that I only need good developers behind the sites that I surf. :D”

          As far as User Experience goes I give you that. But every site in exery technologie can have good and bad experiences. It depends on who builds it. But you can’t argue that Flash sites really have impact on costumers and, if made it right, it will always be a plus and not a bad thing.

          • 55

            The most important thing of course is purpose. Remember a site is designed for a purpose, to serve information to the end-user. It’s whichever technology is best suited to serving the user that counts not the designers ego.

            Both technologies have their place, just don’t choose one over the other because you think it’s cool or you want to try something new or that you want something for the portfolio or even how can I wow the client.

            The question that should always be answered is “what technology will best serve the needs of the user”.

          • 56

            “Hum… no.”

            I’ve all this browser features with (X)HTML sites. If you no, it isn’t my problem… :-P

            I’m a user too (power user I would say). And I’m out of websites builded in Flash or Java (nor have these plugins installed). I can be your target audience, and then you may be losing a potential customer. Sorry. :-|

          • 57


            You mention Java. Do you mean JavaScript? Java is more of a server-side and application development language. There is no JavaScript plug-in, so I don’t understand how you say you don’t have it installed.

            I have worked in the creative development and advertising for a long time and users with Flash or JavaScript turned off is not in any of our clients customers demographics.

            We have consistently found that the largest demographics – the general public – have Flash and JavaScript turned on, and so we choose to develop rich interactive experiences for them rather than a watered-down, bland experience that hits the lowest common denominator.

          • 58

            @MattL, he means Java as in Java applets. They used to be everywhere but have largely been replaced by Flash. If you’re using Windows, you still might see the Java coffee cup icon pop up in the toolbar from time to time. Quite a few ticketing, airline and cinema websites use it for the little app that allows you to select a seat.

            @Paolo, there’s some great websites out there using Flash. If you have either the Click2Flash or FlashBlock extensions in Firefox or Chrome, you can choose when to view Flash and when not to. Aviary and Prezi are good examples of useful Flash websites.

        • 59

          Joe Barstow

          May 18, 2010 7:30 am

          Flash Became popular on the web because of its new and exciting ways to navigate content. it didn’t take a user-eccentric-developer to make them exciting, just a fancy imagination. I’ve had plenty of GREAT experiences on Flash websites and look forward to the improvement of both Apple and Adobe products :) respectfully your opinion matters as well as everyone else but i must say i care more about the opinion of joe-schmo than power-user-bob

        • 60

          do you see the FWA daily? those sites are made for those who want to experience it.
          can HTML 5 bring that level of experience? seriously those sites are not just sliding and fading. don’t blame the technology use it the way you want.

    • 61

      Jon, 8 years ago I had the same though, “Flash is dead”, seriously. It was moving from a simple time-line with some lines of codes to a more complex thing. At that point designers started to hate flash cause it was becoming to difficult for most of them.

      Now I am a fulltime flash designer/developer, I had no more cross-browsers nightmares, I can easily move to java or c#, I do much more interesting stuff then simple sites or e-commerce, and I quintupled my income.

      I’m already trying some “HTML5” stuff (javascript is a joke) and I’m better than HTML5 supporters I know, but it feels old, and it’s not even out yet. It also didn’t start well, it’s already cross-browser inconsistent , and apple push it in an unnatural way.

      The point is that I’m happy to learn new things as long as they are better than what I already know. And “HTML5” it’s not. Unfortunately most of the people don’t know what they are talking about.

      The people who don’t wants Flash alive, is because they don’t know it.

  19. 64

    A well balanced article. I think the HTML5 vs Flash idea is strange too. A designer should use whatever tools at their disposal to fit the task. Whether that is HTML, XML with an XSLT, Flash, Shockwave, javascript, Gears or new technology X we don’t know about yet.

    What must be remembered is that a large portion of the users of the web is still stock Windows XP machines running IE. The current version of IE (8) is not HTML5 compatible, so your Canvas enhancements can’t be seen without additional install. If you’re reading this comment, it’s not likely that you’re a stock user of the web.

    HTML5 won’t kill flash, as it’s not got the breadth of features. Just because one mobile company doesn’t want to support it doesn’t mean that it’s going away. There might be an arms race but browsers have become complex and so do not upgrade as quickly as in 1996. IE – love it or hate it – is still the stock choice and will always be behind the curve. In reality, you’re more likely to get sites that have a high-bandwidth, rich-functionality parts and then low-bandwidth, simple-functionality parts. Which is good because I don’t want to view a site fixed at 1024×768 on my Nexus One.

    I would like to see a tighter integration and interoperability to between Flash and the markup and javascript. At the moment, calls outside of Flash are limited and Flash object embeds rarely interact with the rest of the content.

    Your view of large corporations using Flash a lot might be skewed to personal experience. My experience is that they don’t care what happens as long as it runs on IE6 (stock XP install) and they don’t have to change group policy, they are happy.

    HTML version X might finally make Flash redundant but I imagine that is a very, very, long way off.

    [Web designer since 1996]

    • 65

      You CAN use most of canvas already even from IE7, there are javascript libraries for that do NOT require a plugin install, unlike Flash, which always needs this.

  20. 66

    Hugo Fernandes

    May 18, 2010 3:24 am

    Actually I do believe that the most promising future for Flash will happen on mobile devices.
    With Android 2.2 and Flash Player 10.1 you will be able to have rich internet experiences on mobile websites (not apps) that html5 or javascript can’t deliver yet. One example is the drag behavior. On html/js websites, you simply can’t drag your finger to draw on stage. It will drag the browser scroller and/or window. One new feature in FP10.1 is the ability to “activate” the embed Flash object (with holding your click) and it will activate the behaviors inside flash so you can drag, draw or wathever you want to do with your objects inside the website.

    One good point is the usage of Flash outside the webdesign world. I work in a company that produces Digital Signage content and Flash is definitely the number 1 tool for that. All the capabilities of AS3 with the integrations you talked about is simply unbeatable outside the web.

    • 67

      Bill Leonard

      May 18, 2010 3:32 am

      You’re missing the point. The mobile platform isn’t best used for “rich” experiences. You’re going the wrong way… it needs to be about usability, with a lightweight power requirement.

      Mobile users will not be searching for the same experience as desktop users, and as I’m sure you know, mobile will be a larger audience, very soon.

      • 68

        Watch out for slider slider framework for flex specially designed to be used in mobile apps for performance and robustness with less resource heavy and it is lightweight framework for building user interfaces for mobile and deploying as a flash or Air Applications.More info on it is available here

      • 69

        The base functionality of a site should in general be HTML. But because HTML5 haven’t full rich experiences in a near future, why should we be limited to that and not use Flash? If a lot of mobiles have Flash a lot will develop for it (with simple or no fallback for Apple). It’s utopia that everything on internet is lightweight, perfect and work good everywhere. In reality HTML5 doesn’t work so good on Iphone/Ipad, you have often to do a custom solution.

      • 70

        Hugo Fernandes

        May 18, 2010 5:41 am

        Sorry to disagree, but I think your missing my point…
        When I talk about “rich” experiences on mobile web I’m not talking about “rich” experiences for desktop pcs with 10MB of video and multiple animations viewed on mobile devices.
        What area apps anyway? Rich experiences that a browser mobile device can’t deliver. That, with Flash Player 10.1, will change.

    • 71

      You can do draggable in HTML with jQuery.

      This identifies a recurrent problem, few people know both technologies well so they argue within the context they know – claiming it is the best.

      • 72

        He was talking about dragging in a touch device, not just simply have draggable elements. -.- Your judgment seems better suited for yourself, no?

  21. 73

    Good article but I don’t think so much will happen in two years. Ok for developers it can be better but because complex HTML5 will have exactly the same problem as Flash (if not even worse) and as a visitor Flash has pushed the limits, and HTML5 just trying to keep up. It’s good with open-source and standards but it will not go fast.

    I’m just waiting for the animation or other stuff to arrive in HTML5 and you will see sites go crazy about it. It’s the new “cool HTML5” everyone want to show.

    Learn both technologies and advantages and don’t let anything stop you, there is no exact right or wrong.

    • 74

      spot on

      • 75

        no it’s not, HTML5 is simply a markup language, nothing more. CSS3 transistions is the animation we will be getting in the near future, NOTHING to do with HTML5.

        • 76

          Yes but you also have to think of HTML5 video feature, which would usually involve flash until HTML5 came along …….. Flash is the equivalent to Windows while HTML5 is equivalent to Apple ……. No matter what anyone says Flash is never better then HTML5 just like Windows is never better then Apple

        • 77

          HTML5/CSS3 to be more correct but it was not the point. It is really a mess.

  22. 78

    Gonzo the Great

    May 18, 2010 3:41 am

    Hi Luke,

    the first, well-written and realistic article in the blogs that I’ve read so far, covering this topic: ‘HTML5 vs. Flash’.

    I fully agree with you that each has it’s place on the internet and in graphic design, you can’t compare them! Both have their unique and specific qualities and advantages, so use them where they’re best fitted to do the job.

    Once again, thanks for sharing your opinion on this topic, it was a delight reading it! Cheers& Ciao ..

  23. 79

    There would not be any disagreements if Flash was completely open source. But Adobe will not let that happen, so I understand Apple’s point of view.

    • 80

      A lot of flash is open source, you don’t need to use Flash to create an SWF because adobe has allowed developers access to create their own authoring envrionments. Adobe does not make you use Flash to create flash.

    • 81

      You know you can actually build from a website to a full desktop application in Flash without paying 1cent to Adobe right? err….

  24. 82

    Hi Check out open source initiative for the flash player to meet the standards

  25. 83

    Raphael Pudlowski

    May 18, 2010 3:47 am

    very good article.
    One of the strenght of flash was that it could by used by a non programmer to do interactive stuff, but with the latests versions it become more and more complicated…
    People hate flash because of all the annoing advertising online, i’m curious how they will react when all that “annoingness” will be made in HTML5 and you can’t block it…

  26. 84

    Topic-out-of -Box … Nice bundled information with unique discussion topic :)

  27. 85
  28. 86

    John Pallister

    May 18, 2010 3:56 am


  29. 87

    Tom Giannattasio

    May 18, 2010 4:00 am

    I’m glad to see a realistic perspective on this debate. While HTML 5 seems very promising and will no doubt change the way we build websites, it will still fall short when it comes to the over-the-top, rich-media, uber-engaging sites that Flash is so well-known for. Semantic, open-source code is beautiful in our eyes, but the average consumer could care less. They care about the content and the experience. A majority of sites – blogs, news sites, Facebook, etc. – will benefit from HTML5, because their content becomes more accessible. However, pushing content does not always mean serving up text and images. Many large companies would agree that content can also refer to an experience. Words and images are easily forgotten, but a unique experience will linger and spread organically. HTML5 has a long way to go if it wants to bury Flash when it comes to weaving rich experiences.

  30. 88

    Ecommerce Mechanics

    May 18, 2010 4:00 am

    No matter how into HTML 5 people get, Flash is going to be around for a long time. Every time I hear someone say that “People will just convert their Flash content to HTML 5”, I immediately wonder if that person will think that when they get to the real world. No one is going to go back and rewrite thousands of Flash sites and apps into HTML 5 for free and maybe 1 in 10,000 will be a paying gig. This entire conversation is a mental exercise in the developer community. Corporations are completely oblivious to any aspect of that conversation. If you thought getting rid of IE6 is tough, try selling “use HTML 5 instead of Flash” to a corporate marketing head. You’re not going to be the one walking out the door with the check.

  31. 89

    leon Nikoosimaitak

    May 18, 2010 4:01 am

    Developing mobile flash apps would be a great thing and bring many
    opportunities for brands that may not have the budget to do a iphone apps.

  32. 90

    neil pearce

    May 18, 2010 4:06 am

    I agree! How can anyone say that flash is a dying technology when you can do so much with it.

    I love flash and i also love jQuery and HTML5 couldn’t come to be standards quick enough. But i think saying flash will die is just wishful thinking from the flash haters!

  33. 91

    Hans Gerhard Meier

    May 18, 2010 4:07 am

    Interesting read, I’v got my product design students making their web portfolios in Flash. They already use Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. So getting a functional web site up and running is done in much less time than if they were introduced to HTML. I’m no programmer myself, and I still love tables (waiting patiently for a CSS wysiwyg editor). Flash is for the people, let the programmers write their code.

    Hans g

    • 92

      HTML is not programming.
      Any modern wysiwyg editor can very easily build a site using floated divs and CSS, but even then, you really should learn how to do it yourself.

    • 94

      Flash is for the people who can afford the high price tag?

    • 95


      This is one of my biggest problems with design teachers. Once you leave the industry, so many of you fall behind so quickly and have no desire to keep up with the curve. It’s outdated design teachers who continue to spread misinformation about web design to future generations and encourage their students to use flash to make presentations in place of well designed websites. You are not helping your students at ALL.

    • 96

      Christopher Healey

      May 18, 2010 5:27 am

      And people like you are exactly why flash has been over used and abused. This is also my problem with design & development instructors, so many are so far behind the times it’s not worth paying attention to anything they say.

      You stated that you still love tables, and you’re waiting on a wysiwyg css editor… (epic facepalm). Are you serious? First of all, most decent wysiwyg editors can throw together sites using css. And there are editors specifically dedicated to css, such as CSS EDIT by Mac Rabbit. Heck, there is even a point and click css solution in CODA, and let’s not forget the epitome of point and click IDE’s FLUX 2.

      You have to stay up to date with the technology or you are setting your students up for failure. How is getting your students to setup their web portfolios in flash in any way going to help them in their careers? It’s not, except to teach them that they have wasted a good bit of time and money attending your class.

      • 97

        Hans Gerhard Meier

        May 18, 2010 6:48 am

        Mr Healey and Mr Annoyed

        Do you believe PRODUCT design students should learn CSS? Or could flash do for these students? I think web designers and developers should know CSS, so they can make nice web sites for product designers (Only of course when the product designers have made great products they want to sell, so they can pay Healey and Annoyed for their fresh new HTML5 site).

        And to clear things up I meant “What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)” like Flash and Dreamweaver, not “To See What You Get You Need To Hit The Preview Button (TSWYGYNTHTPB)” like CSSedit.

        Luckily I teach only 50% so I’ve got time to keep up with the curve, but I’m probably not in the lead like Healey And Annoyed.

        Good luck with exams guys!
        Healey thanks for Flux, downloading it now:-)

        Hans g
        PS Brainwipe I agree with the pricetag

        • 98

          Christopher Healey

          May 19, 2010 12:28 am


          I don’t believe product design students should learn web development in the first place actually. But if the do, then It is my opinion that they should learn the proper ways to do something, and why those methods are proper.

          If you are dedicating a portion of your class to helping them to build websites, then either show them the proper way to do it. Or teach them how to utilize their resources by purchasing templates, or hiring web developers in order to best display what they do best, which is product design.

          You’re welcome for Flux 2, I personally don’t like the IDE, but I’m a hand-coder and that’s not who it was built for, hopefully it will help you and your students if you do choose to continue devoting a portion of your product design class to web development.

        • 99

          But that is exactly what you get in CSS Edit (and it’s big brother Espresso): You have a preview window that shows your changes live. WYSIWYG. You preview the site in a built-in browser as you are making edits. Firefox has some plugins that also do this, on live sites as you are visiting them.

          CSS Edit extracts all the CSS files from any webpage automatically so you can save them locally and use them to override the files on the site. You can set up CSS Edit or Expresso to sync the edits you make back to the live files on the site. In this way Espresso is like Dreamweaver (without the price tag). I use Espresso to help customize CMS sites; though this isn’t necessary as everything needed to update content and extend as site is on the server — a browser and FTP client are sufficient. I’m starting to rely less too on PhotoShop for graphics, as there are lots of new and innovative graphics programs for a fraction of the price. Adobe needs to stop milking their cash cows and start innovating.

  34. 100

    The think that pisses me off the most about this entire fiasco is that Apple is blocking iPhone Apps created with Flash CS5. I’m was a part of the Flash CS5 beta and developed apps using Flash and they work just as well as natively coded apps. Its just a giant pissing match between two huge companies. FYI… Note to Stevie Jobs… I’m running Flash Player 10.1 on my Nexus One and it works beautifully.

    • 101

      Bill Leonard

      May 18, 2010 4:37 am

      Apple has to account for inefficient code created by the Flash IDE, which will compromise its plan for power conservation and multitasking stability.

      Even if Flash was available in the browser experience on the iPhone OS (if Adobe ever got their act together with the quality of the plugin), Apple would still insist, and rightly so, that apps themselves not be created with Flash due to the aforementioned reasons.

    • 102

      Yeah, and sites built using Front Page work just fine too, despite the plethora of tables and formatting junk that gets into the code that is output. Frontpage users will be at the mercy of MS to update its features when advancements are made to web standards, like HTML, CSS, Java libraries, etc. Oh, but FrontPage users will of course get MS extensions shoved at them so that they can continue to build near proprietary websites that only work with IE.

      The parallels between this Fiasco, which has held the internet back by a decade, and your alleged “fiasco” are amazing. Why should Apple prop up someone else’s business for them, especially when Adobe’s track record is to completely let their code languish despite repeated pleas over years to keep up with the technology in use.

      Apple just announced thousands of new APIs ready for iPhoneOS 4 advancements. Do you think CS5 is going to support them? Of course not. Writing your application once in Flash and having it compile to multiple platforms is only going to promote a lowest common denominator approach. I’m glad that Apple is saving me from Flash compiled apps.

  35. 103

    Finally a clever and steady thought !
    I totally agree with you.

  36. 104

    Is this supposed to be some kind of compensation for the stupidity in this article?

  37. 105

    I want to believe that “flash” is not going to be assassinated by “HTML5” since both have different features that allow us to develop powerful contents but I confess, I am devotee of “flash” so I hope they can coexist maintaining their territory each other.

  38. 106

    Josh Sadler

    May 18, 2010 4:41 am

    I highly disagree with the statement that Flash should only be used on for gaming, ads and the like and not for full website design. I’m a web designer for a company that develops Flash sites for financial institutions. For these institutions, security and usability are key and Flash helps keep them secure by not allowing external scripts to be included in their site through the Flash-based CMS.
    Banks and credit unions all over the US are trusting Flash to keep their site secure and attractive in order to increase ROI. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

    • 107

      Joe Dyndale

      May 18, 2010 8:21 am

      Using Flash for *security* reasons?!? That’s a new one… And how in the world is it that external scripts can’t be filtered out through PHP, .NET or Java? Or do you mean that they make their sites so absolutely everything runs in the browser and only an absolute minimum of information is passed back and forth to/from the server? I really can’t see the big security benefit with that either? But then, you’re probably more of a security expert than me…

  39. 108

    Did you have to mention Flash and Flash intros? I was eating breakfast when I read it. Ruined it for me.
    I agree with most of your points. Flash is a great tool in the business world and I think it should stay there.

  40. 109

    Bjørn Johansen

    May 18, 2010 5:01 am

    There is absolutely nothing that Flash can do, that HTML5+CSS3+JS+LAMP can’t. Want a standalone app? Toss in Adobe Air as well, and there you go.

    • 110

      AS3 is a proper OOP programming language, javascript isn’t, ie only supports a 10 year old version. What kind of developer would cripple him/herself by choosing to develop in javascript? Yes, it’s useful for quick manipulation of html DOM, but for anything more complicated it’s poor.

      • 111

        OOP is a programming methodology, not a religion. The majority of the major systems that you and I use in this world are not OOP and work just fine. Don’t be blind for the fact that OOP is nothing more than reusable, maintainable code, and only when applied correctly, which is hardly ever the case.

    • 112

      That is simply not true. You obviously don´t really know about what Flash can do…

  41. 113

    Coming at this from a ‘traditional’ programming background, I’ve always had serious reservations about Flash as an x-platform development solution.

    It’s one we’ve used on the web, but not one I’d adopt for desktop application development – which leads me to question why I’d adopt it for mobile development.

    From a tool-agnostic point of view, the question is ‘what gives the best result for a given investment’ – but I think a lot of people approach this from ‘what do I currently know’. It’s possible that the Android or iPhone SDK may actually be a much better solution than Flash for many apps.

  42. 114

    Dan Pouliot

    May 18, 2010 5:02 am

    This article is in now way “fair”, it is clearly biased.

    Flash’s “place” and HTML5’s “place”. The author cites 2 places for Flash, the corporate setting and mobile. Mobile? Excuse me? What % of mobile phones run Flash today? 0? The author then goes on to say HTML5’s place is “entirely on the Web.” What does he mean by that? Does HTML5 have no place in the corporate setting? Or mobile?

    “If Flash were supported on all mobile devices, I could be reasonably certain that my Flash module would run smoothly on each one.”

    This is the exact same argument I’ve heard from a Flash developer at a friend’s company arguing in favor of an insipid Flash slideshow on their companies home page (my friend wants it re-done in HTML/js). Problem is, that Flash slideshow is *broken* on Mac’s. The developer conveniently ignores that fact, and hasn’t the time to troubleshoot his own Flash file. So, no, I completely disagree with the “write once, run anywhere” assertion.

    Please. This article is not “fair”. It is veiled HTML5 bashing while trumpeting Flash vaporware (mobile flash baby!)

    • 115

      Exactly, I caught that too. Though I suppose he meant not suited to the web ideologically, but would be really cool on mobiles because it could bring all the different platforms together into one big happy family. Huh? But we have the web for lowest common denominator content and apps, and putting Adobe on mobiles will be MS on PCs all over again. Mobile hardware and software producers need to be able to differentiate themselves. Apple for one will do fine without Flash. I suppose a few of the others would all like to hide under a Flash blanket so that their own shortcomings are a little less noticeble; I hope it meets their expectations.

      Besides, Adobe has promised Flash for mobile devices for three years… “Run smoothly on each one”? Adobe hasn’t gotten Flash to run smoothly on two desktop platforms in the last 10 years: now they are talking about supporting half-a-dozen mobile platforms? Pull my other leg. This is pure vapor. Adobe do not have a good track record. They bought out Macromedia for Flash, killed off GoLive and FreeHand, and have sat on Flash since. The latest estimate for Flash requirements on mobile devices is at least a Cortex Core8 at 1GHz with 512MB RAM. That leaves out all but the top end of mobile devices that are less than six months old. Just like with MS, we are waiting for new hardware so their old kludgey software will function as promised. Let’s improve and innovate with what we have now.

      Sure, people can create Flash content any old how, but the runtime plugin/player is, wait for it, proprietary; it’s Adobe’s and requires software playback. Flash video is not optimized for mobile hardware playback like, for example, H.264 is. And CS5 will likely not keep up with the latest platform advancements and APIs from the developers so the mobile apps produced will be of a lowest common denominator — but hey, that’s the beauty of write once, run anywhere.

  43. 116

    In my eyes Flash will not die it is too good but maybe it will change or have extra options to export certain parts to HTML 5 eg video

    Flash has so many ways of being used and right now it is far easier to use than coding with such frameworks as jQuery for animations as an example.

    One thing that does stand out is those who use them.
    Designers can use Flash with relative ease depending on how complex their project is for creation and deployment but HTML 5 doesn’t let you edit an animation so this could how they can coexist together.

    What the big problem we encounter is how Apple have chosen not to support it. While that is up to them it does cause us web designers / developers a problem and in some ways a IE6 type headache as in the future if we want to support iPhones and iPads etc we will need to have fallbacks for both. So more work for us and really could be a big pain in the backside.

    I think Apple should support Flash and HTML 5 like everything else will do in the future

  44. 117

    Christopher Healey

    May 18, 2010 5:09 am

    The thing is Flash requires software to decode video and the like which is power intensive. Where as using other methods the video can be decoded via Hardware H.264 chip. So PARTICULARLY with mobile devices as it stands now flash is not the proper choice. Not to mention the security flaws flash has always had. Semantic even stated that flash had one of the worst security records in 2009. And last but not least, flash was not built for touch devices but rather PC’s with Mice. So again, the way mobile devices are going, flash fails in yet another area.

    Using flash for things such as AIR is great, but even more methods for cross platform are arising, it’s losing the battle and becoming somewhat of the IE6 of web development in terms of a technology. I agree some things are still better done in flash, but they’re small components and parts of much larger GUI’s, Websites & Applications.

    It’s been abused for far to long, and if Adobe truly does want Flash to come back, they are at the mercy of Us as developers, how it continues to be used will reflect whether it does indeed parish, or if it will change direction and prosper.

    • 118

      Every Browser has security flaws.They fix it by hot fixes. So do Adobe . Secondly flash does support multitouch and touch points as much that are available. Check this

      Flash has more potential then just . flash adds,games and videos. ITs good for RIA,Desktop and mobile equally.

  45. 119

    Nice article.

    I never quire figured out what benefit flash brings me as a user. When I visit a website I want to use it to inform myself and not to play around with. When I want to play I use a videogame. This gets even more important when I surf the web using my mobile phone. All I want is information, nothing else, so for me personally flash has no advantages and I wouldn’t matter if it vanishes from the web.

  46. 120

    Good article.

    On the web, Flash filled a void created by the lack of a proper, open standards based multimedia format for a long time. That void is now being filled. It’s going to take a while because of IE6 (I don’t think IE7 and IE8 will suffer from the same slow upgrade cycle), but Flash needs to go away and it will.

    Desktop applications and presentations are a great place to use Flash, and appropriate. The web isn’t an environment that supports proprietary technology very well, and that’s a good thing.

    • 121

      Flash is open.

    • 122

      download Flash Develop, download the Flex sdk and you can create anything by not paying a cent to Adobe… You know that right? You can even create your own builder / player…

      • 123

        You cannot create graphics in Flash Develop of Flex sdk like you can in Flash. You can only do the coding end of things.

    • 124

      and while we’re at it throw away this proprietary quicktime shit out, too. and also the H.264 Codec for HD Video on the web, the videocodec of choice when it comes to MS and A$$LE Browers. Anything else?

  47. 125

    Sean McCambridge

    May 18, 2010 5:18 am

    Is it an oversight that there is no discussion of video in HTML5 vs. .flv? The most common use of Flash is watching video on YouTube, etc. The most common frustration with not having Flash on my iPhone is that I can’t watch web video. Think anyone would care about the Apple vs. Adobe fight if it weren’t for video? I don’t.

    • 126

      Agreed. Consider this: Google owns two of the largest video delivery mechanisms on the web. Pair that with Google’s consistent embracing of open source technology (GNU/Linux, Android, Chromium, etc.) and I see a huge shift from Flash/FLV to HTML5 and an open source video codec that performs better on mobile hardware. Maybe not in 2 years, but definitely on the horizon.

      • 127

        H.264 is open source for now. When they decide to charge, you’re going to wish evil things to the people who own it.

  48. 128

    It’s like my parents fighting. I love Adobe. I love Apple. This really sucks.

    — Terry Ranson

    Great saying by Terry……….I totally agree………….No War………Only Peace and good work to go ahead.

  49. 129

    The number of times I stayed on a site because it was extremelly Flashy (good flashy) outnumbers the times I left because of Flash. The web succeded because does not look like Nielsen’s dream.
    We could be going in circles, in 2 years we will see tutorials on how to make water ripples with JavaScript for the top banners ;)
    It is all about how you use the tools, Flash or any other, if you do sucky work you suck and not the tool.

  50. 130

    All this HTML5 vs Flash Bashing ususally comes from people who dont have a clue about either of these technologies.

    Just remember Video on the web 5 years ago. Without Flash we would have to wait 5 more years before a site like Youtube would be thinkable with HTML5. Thats the speed of progress you get when 3-4 Browser-Developers cannot agree on standards.

    • 131

      I don’t buy it, video has existed on the web since way before flash started being used for youtube in 2005. Previously, it just loaded a dedicated video player plugin like quicktime or windows media. Videos played fine – actually, they played better than they do now with flash. And the player windows were not littered with stupid animations, ads, popup bait, and inconsistent UIs.

      So its not like you tube would have had to wait on html5, they could have just standardized on some other video format container/codec that played fine using existing video player plugins.

  51. 132

    Show me an HTML5 web site that is even “HALFWAY” equal to Flash… Oh yeah, you can’t because such a web site does not exist. HTML5 lovers shouldn’t even be allowed to open their mouths until they have something to show.

    • 133

      You should keep your mouth shut. In my 14 years of web experience I have yet to see one Flash site that brings something enjoyable or meaningful to me, other than video. On the web, I want to get things done, or look up information as simple and as fast as possible.

      Yes, there is a place and there are niches fit for Flash usage. The keyword here is niche. Do you know why all the major sites hardly use Flash? Because it hurts their business, because users are not there for animations, eye candy and non-standard navigation. Do you know why no single shop that actually wants to sell something would offer a UI like a virtual store? Same reason. It hurts their business.

      The morale of my comment is that usability prevails, and for most sites that means simplicity, lightweight and a UI that looks and works like other UIs = design conventions.

  52. 134

    Peter De Berdt

    May 18, 2010 5:39 am

    As a web application developer, I’ve been asked by both design studios and their customers what they should do about the whole Flash-lockout on iDevices. Although we are a company that tries to avoid Flash as much as possible, only using it for the occasional multi-file Flash-based uploader with a fallback option, I try to be diplomatic and give them a clear view of the situation.

    Some had invested a lot in full Flash sites with the promise of a very interactive and visually attractive site that would last for years to come. The iPhone was already a small setback, but since their Flash site was already optimized for a resolution far higher than the iPhone’s, they didn’t care so much. The iPad however is a different story: it is a viable platform and for some users, it will be their platform of choice instead of a portable extension to their computer. Others were afraid of seeing their ad revenue drop when their ad provider would serve Flash banners that wouldn’t even load on the iPad.

    When it comes to Flash banners, the iPad isn’t the only hurdle. As a small test on their HTML-based site with Flash-based movies and possibly Flash banners, we made a little script that compared ad impressions versus page views. As expected, a certain (small) percentage of ads were simply blocked out completely due to the use of AdBlock and the likes. However, from the visitors that didn’t use AdBlock, additional ad impressions were never shown on the page either and it had nothing to do with being an iDevice. These differences could only be attributed to extensions like ClickToFlash and Flashblock. This was confirmed when we looked at how many Flash movies were loaded on the same page, while the Flash ads never showed. Clearly quite a few of their regular visitors selectively loaded Flash content on the site. That company is now looking into ad providers that will only serve image or HTML based advertising to maximize their revenue.

    For all others, I advise them to look into their company and visitor profile. Is your visitor likely to use an iPad or iPhone to access your site? Are you as a company profiling yourself as a cutting-edge company that wants to be on every device out there, both mobile and stationary? For most companies, the answer is simply “no”, so why would they need to invest in a new site if there clearly is no need for it. Of course, they should re-evaluate these questions every couple of months, depending on what their site statistics tell them.

    If iDevice visitors are important to you and your site is completely Flash-based, you’ll have to invest. Waiting for Apple to backtrack is a bad decision. Whether to throw away the Flash-based site is a totally different matter. There is no need to. If your site is due for a revamp, then by all means, go and make it Flash-less. Otherwise, you could just as well keep your main site Flash-based with all the “goodies” that it might bring and make a version specifically tailored for the iPad/iPhone. If you have lots of dynamic data and your iPad/iPhone site can’t access the same data as the Flash application, then your Flash developer has made some really bad choices anyway. You’ll get the best of two worlds: your investment in the Flash site won’t be wasted and your site will look fantastic on the iPad too. And you can use the HTML5 and CSS3 goodies without having to worry about cross-browser support too much. What you do about Android and Blackberries is up to you, I would use the iPad version, since their rendering engines are very similar.

    I saved web design companies for last for a specific reason.

    I’m not going to generalize all too much, but as the article above points out, the same “why-should-we-adapt?” question popped up when CSS was becoming a viable solution. We turned down a lot of projects where a static site had to be turned into some kind of CMS and the whole site consisted of tables or absolute positioned divs with a clear “I was wysiwyg’d with Dreamweaver” or even worse “I was wysiwyg’d with Frontpage” label written all over them. I know of at least two of those design firms that jumped on the Flash wagon back then instead of even looking into semantic HTML. Flash was easy to learn and “it’s everywhere”. They were right… until the iPhone came out.

    Maybe it’s just because as a developer “being creative” has a whole different meaning to me than it has to designers. Creativity to me is bringing out the best given the tools you have at your disposal, even if those tools have their limits. If you can only make Flash applications, I don’t feel you should call yourself a web design firm. People for the most part visit websites for information, not for fancy sprites jumping around.

    Also, it seems that a lot of designers think Javascript is a lot more limited than it actually is. It’s in fact quite easy to use Javascript to insert the right component for the right browser. There are even libraries out there that will do most of it for you: a Flash-based component for IE6 etc, an HTML5/Webkit-specific solution for the iPad/iPhone. Projects like PhoneGap and jqTouch provide you with everything you need to support mobile platforms and access camera, local storage, “native” UI etc.

    If there is anything Flash can do for the mobile platform that you can’t do with Javascript, please tell me. Claiming that Javascript can’t be structured is also a lot of FUD imo. From all the projects I had to look at, nothing I’ve seen is impossible, even games. Hard maybe, but not impossible, you just need a good Javascript coder. I do agree that at the moment, we are lacking a good IDE for designers that speeds up the common stuff like tweening and transformations and we are lacking Javascript libraries that solve browser inconsistencies. I do believe it’s only a matter of time before we get there though. Adobe is in a great position there and could provide a way of exporting a “Flash” project to both an HTML5 and Flash version with some browser detection in the HTML page it generates. They won’t, since they made it clear they’re as stubborn about Flash as Apple is about not having Flash.

    That said, this article is about the best piece of journalism I’ve seen out there about the whole Flash vs HTML5 discussion. It points out the current problems with pushing HTML5 as a standard.

    But Apple has always been about looking towards the future and dropping old technology (e.g. floppy drives) and pushing new technology (USB, FiWi, …) before anyone else does with little regard to backwards compatibility. It’s not like they haven’t done it before and eventually the market catches up. It’s the Apple as we know it and Apple as it will always be. It sometimes bites back at them and sometimes they come out as the great visionary. Only time will tell…

  53. 135

    Flash should never have been allowed to evolve into the web fiasco it is today. I was using it when it was FutureSplash and it was a great animation tool. But that’s what it was designed to do…animate. It was not meant to create stupid web banner ads that annoy the heck out of me. It was not meant to build entire websites that take forever and a day to load on a broadband connection. I used it for traditional frame-by-frame animation.
    Then Macromedia bought it, turned it into Flash, and the cr@p began to pour out all over the internet. Then there’s Actionscript. We needed yet another programming language like we needed a hole in the ozone.
    Now Adobe has done nothing but make this software worse. The interface is sluggish, the browser plugin is sluggish, they don’t fix bugs present in previous software versions until the next version is released. Then they make you pay to “upgrade” for bug fixes, which also introduces more bugs.

    I don’t know why anyone loves Adobe. They buy out their major competitors, which leaves us designers with less of a choice. They don’t listen to their customers when we request features and their customer support just plain sucks.

  54. 136

    IMHO movie websites give Flash a really bad name.
    A REALLY bad name.

  55. 137

    Adobe and Apple will never come to terms with each other. Its just a battle of greed and control. Apple wants control and so does Adobe, last time i checked that never works out well for the consumer because One will push the other out of the picture. And if both technologies are useful for their specific purposes like this article states we will be losing an important piece of technology and forced to adapt some other crap in its place. Large technology companies arent interested in creating a true better experience for the web they’re only invested in themselves and in green. Were starting to get so many different technologies all of which are going in opposite directions that all it does is cause confusion and hatred towards other technologies that most of us probably don’t even fully understand. Thats my two cents

    • 138

      Yeah, Apple wants control over its own product; Adobe wants to shove its platform on other people’s products. The consumer is free to choose which mobile device to buy. In fact, Apple’s decisions are mostly in favor of the consumer in this case (and against the Flash “app developer”).

      Contrary to your statement about large technology companies, just about everything Apple has ever said or done is about creating something “insanely great” with the best user experience in mind. Ever wonder why Apple users are consistently the most satisfied customers in every study you can find? Apple customers passionate?

      By contrast, Adobe has bought out the competition (Macromedia), killed off GoLive and FreeHand, which many say were better and easier to use; and have sat on Flash with as little improvement as they could get away with. They fired their mobile development team a few years ago and seem to concentrate on PR and marketing. So, I would have to agree with you there about Adobe exhibiting the tendencies of the average large technology company.

      • 139

        I agree… as useful as flash has been, it has largely stagnated over the past 5 years due to lack of competition. The fact that Apple/Microsoft/Google are encouraging competition in the interactive web space by pushing html5 and similar technologies will in the end be a win for the consumer. If they succeed, it means we’ll get an open standards based interactive web platform going forward. If they fail, Adobe will have had to fix and improve flash to remain competitive.

  56. 140

    People love to dramatize every thing. People use sensational (stupid) headlines to make people click/read. I am not saying this one does but so many tech blogs do. Adobe Flash is going no-where because iPhone/iPad does not support it nor will Apple die because it does not support Flash. There are still people using COBOL and C developed 30+ years ago and there is a healthy market for people good at it.

  57. 141

    Nathan Sweet

    May 18, 2010 6:10 am

    What about pure, client-side, socket manipulation? When is that going to get replaced? JS 1.9 isn’t even going to be able to do it. What about listening for new data from the server without refreshing? There are a ton of other things AS3 can do that JS isn’t going to be able to do until JS 2.0 is released.

    • 142

      Joe Dyndale

      May 18, 2010 8:31 am

      As far as new data from the server without refreshing, this can easily be reproduced with an asynchronous request to the server on a timer, repeating every xxx ms.

      • 143

        Nathan Sweet

        May 22, 2010 10:15 am

        @Joe, Flash can listen to the server for events continuously. JavaScript cannot do this. JavaScript has to have something connected to the client-side and THEN request from the server. Whereas in flash the server can send something to the client and flash can actually grab what the server is trying to do, the server can’t “send” something to javascript on a timer. If you are doing something live, like a livestream you can’t do it without flash yet. Advanced web applications require flash in order to do this (they usually use a flash shim and have actionscript execute a java script function on the client).

  58. 144

    You say that Flash will “do so well in the mobile space.”

    What about the fact that it sucks the life out of batteries? Or is that just something Apple wants us to be overly worried about so we’ll buy the iPad anyway?

    • 145

      Did you checked the videos where people using Google Nexus and Flash Player?

      What about the testing done running flash on it for several hours? Search the internet!

      And yes, Steve want you to think that Flash sucks because if the iPhone or iPad had Flash Player people would go to or similar instead of spending money in the itunes store…

      • 146

        Several hours, meaning 3, not 10 that the iPad gets. People could just as easily go to Amazon and buy from there.

  59. 147

    I love HTML5, but I don’t think that Flash will die soon. There are just some type of multimedia websites that need to be done in Flash. And Apple’s choice not to support Flash is just stupid. What’s the alternative? The RAM memory breaking javascript? The should at least let users decide if they want to install flash or not.

    • 148

      Snootie Apple, soon Google will come up with some sort ipad like that will support flash like the Android.
      for my self I use flash only for pretty galleries and that is sad that the ipad will not support it as many people will now own it. hopfully Google or microsoft will come up with some kind of pad to annoy mr. Jobs and having cry like a baby over the Adnroid.

  60. 149

    Great article, finally something worth reading that isn’t a flame war post. Its funny to read some of the comments on this article though.

    I find it funny that people thing crappy content being developed in Flash is going to change by switching to HTML5. Crappy content like annoying banner ads / intros are made by sloppy developers, that’s not going to change regardless of the technology being used. Those same people that create those annoying banner ads are going to do the same with HTML5, and then we will be installing HTML ADblock on our browsers to block those as well. Look at the countless useless sites utilizing jQuery just for about everything, fading and vibrating text etc.

    What we as developers/ designers / content creators should be doing is admonishing our fellow counterparts who produce such sloppy content instead of laying blame on technologies. At the end of the day our consumers dont’ really care whether its HTML / Flash / Java etc that’s running under the hood, all they care about is a good end user experience.

  61. 150

    check this .

    Flash player 10.1 is performing very well on android . With optimal battery consumption.

  62. 151


    May 18, 2010 6:37 am

    Totally agree with the overuse of Flash.

    But did anyone ever note, that Flash is ‘performance hungry’ because Flash is most used for ads and most of these suck plenty because of weak coding and not being optimized regarding performance and memory management? If you doubt, install the debug flash plugin and surf through some sites (without having an ad blocker activated). You won’t believe how many of these banners throw exceptions, because their developer didn’t write good code or even read the Flash documentation and try to do write good code.

    I have over 10 years of experience, developing Flash applications. In my last project (a full-browser Flash-based Video portal), i was able to bring CPU load down from 90% to 50-60% on a modern laptop (comparing the old website – which wasn’t developed by myself – to the new one), because of not writing spaghetti-code and reading the docs where necessary. Sure, this might take some more time for development and produces higher costs for the customer than just ‘taking what’s there’ and putting new features in it. But in the end, the customer would reach more users and the site hopefully becomes more successful than its predecessor simply by ‘technically’ allowing even users with older machines to surf it.

    What Adobe should provide imho, is some development tools for ads, that make it a snap to get to the desired result, by providing standardized code-snippets used in almost all ads and doesn’t allow unskilled ‘developers’ (most ad producers are graphic designers) to run havok on your CPU and memory consumption.

    Just my 2 cents…

    Edit: Sure, Flash has its weaknesses. But one can write crappy code with almost all programming languages. So why not blame the ‘developer’ in first place?

    • 152

      The code in a Flash banner ad is minimal. Typically, there’s some animation, a few frames and a click to shop button. Not much you can screw up there. It’s things like slideshow/photo galleries, movies players and full websites that suck the power, no matter how they are coded.

    • 153

      So if this is true, it begs the question – why even use flash for banner ads? Are they really doing anything more than what a basic animated GIF with a link can’t do 90% of the time?

  63. 154

    Dakota Chichester

    May 18, 2010 6:40 am

    Always fun to read an article about flash and html5 and have to kill the flash plugin because 2 banner ads on the said article are eating up 70 to 80% of your CPU. And this is in Chrome on a Windows machine.


    Good Riddance Flash

  64. 155

    Hugo Mendes

    May 18, 2010 6:48 am

    Flash stands for Multimedia, HTML5 for Web. Simple as that.

  65. 157

    HTML5 is not the Flash.
    But it is the last piece of the puzzle.

    Flash won’t survive because everything that can be done with it can already be done without it, in a more efficient way, and it’s getting easier.

    The next stage of the web is the semantic web, and we need standards for that. Flash is an old technology, it will die with Internet Explorer 6.

    • 158

      “Flash won’t survive because everything that can be done with it can already be done without it, in a more efficient way, and it’s getting easier.”

      your an idiot. Show me how to do this in html5…

      • 159

        The question is, _why_ would you want to do that in the first place?

      • 160

        Amen to @Ziptie. The whole point is that people should NOT do that. It’s terrible. Needless. Slow. Ugly. Not SEO friendly. Adds nothing. Etc. Etc.

      • 161

        I see, the key feature is that for everything I click i have to wait for some long XX% loading…

      • 162

        First impression matters. Remember, they are a digital media company, and this type of site is suited for the type of work they are doing and the type of client they are trying to attract.

        I wholly disagree with you, why is it terrible? And ugly? They are trying to advertise their capabilities. They are excessive, yes, but as a potential client I’d be damn impressed. I also think that SEO would be low on their priority list, not likely that they are dependent from referalls by Google to attract new clients. Again, with the type of work they are doing, it’s about presentation.

        • 163

          At least why they don’t provide alternative content when flash is not installed?
          Why they block out clients that do not have flash installed or not interested in flash?

    • 164

      Like Butter said, you are an Idiot..
      HTML5 may surely contain limitations when compared with flash.
      HTML5 cant be more interactive than flash.. thats sure…
      Flash will RoCk…..sure…

  66. 165

    Kevin Darty

    May 18, 2010 7:12 am

    I think the most important message HTML5 should be telling people everywhere is that media is an asset whether it was created in Photoshop, The Gimp, Adobe Flash, Flex or Silverlight. They all provide media assets and if you aren’t using them as assets, you are doing it wrong.

    With that in mind, Flash and Silverlight both can coexist with HTML5 quite nicely.

    By the way, you will notice I mentioned Silverlight here because while everyone is focusing on Adobe Flash, Microsoft’s Silverlight technology is in the very same boat and should be thought of in the same way.

  67. 166

    Flash is dead!

    So who the f**k needs flash? No one!

  68. 170

    Who cares about the history, company relationships, the FUD or hype? It has nothing to do with Adobe or Apple or iPhones or HTML5, or ANY of that stuff.

    Flash Players is an insecure, buggy, slow piece of software.

    I’d be all for Flash if Adobe fixed the technical issues. But as it currently stands, an all-Flash site makes my brand new i7 iMac come to a crawl.

    If you care about providing a positive user-experience (which involves not crashing their browser), use Flash as little as possible.

    • 171

      kindly again check your iMac. It may have 486 system under the hood.Shift to PC and enjoy best experience on windows with flash

      • 172

        I certainly would not give up my iMac for Windows just so I can view Flash content.

        The real problem is that Adobe is incapable of shipping quality software, particularly for Mac.

        • 173

          “Flash Players is an insecure, buggy, slow piece of software.”

          Kyle, as I recall when i was getting my BFA in college our macs were slow, buggy, and crashed all the time just as you say flash does. Show me a piece of software that doesnt. Its created by humans and not everything can be found, unless it goes through trial and error. Flash is progressing just as every other piece of software. Mac fanatics are off their rocker sometimes and completely irrational.

          • 174

            Andre Richards

            May 18, 2010 11:02 pm

            When did you get your BFA, in the 90s?

            You definitely haven’t used Macs lately if you think they crash and are slow. I admin a company that has several hundred computers (roughly 50/50 Windows PCs and Macs) and by far, without any doubt, the PCs are riddled with more problems, more viruses, more crashes, more hardware failures, more inexplicable software issues, more random slowdowns and gliches than anything seen on a Mac running OS X. I’m not a Mac fanboy either. That’s just the reality. Our IT staff supports both platforms and our ticket tracking system reveals a startling 80/20 percent split in support time devoted to Windows and Mac respectively. We are linked to a large network of several dozen similarly equipped sites whose IT staff tell us they observe the same lopsided support demands for their users. The PCs need nonstop support. The Macs just keep ticking along with occasional minor tweaks. (And no, in case you’re wondering, the PCs do primarily word processing and light office-related tasks while the Macs are doing high-end print and production work and are tied into a complex asset management systems–so it’s not a matter of workload.)

            I don’t care if you have legitimate criticisms of Macs, but make sure you’re talking about modern Macs running OS X. They lay waste to anything coming out of Redmond.

          • 175

            Yet another Example Andre, Yet another Example.

          • 176

            For the record, we have macs at the design agency I work for that run OSX that hang up and crash just like anything else. Not a fanboy.. thats a laugh.

          • 177

            My argument was not how often things crash anyway, its that all software crashes, period. Read the post fanboy. If you can say that Mac never crashes you have a legitimate argument against flash. If you dont (which you dont) keep quiet.

          • 178

            Andre Richards

            May 21, 2010 2:26 pm

            “If you can say that Mac never crashes you have a legitimate argument against flash. If you dont (which you dont) keep quiet.”

            Macs do crash. It’s very rare, but they do and I didn’t say otherwise. But I’ve done development on OS X and I know how to read the trace logs and crash dump when it happens and I *know* when Flash is responsible, and it’s responsible for a lot of lock ups and crashes on the Mac (not the entire machine itself but specific applications.) Flash is demonstrably crap. Your argument is shallow and illogical, exactly the kind of argument I’ve come to expect from the pro-Flash crowd.

      • 179

        I just went to this website:

        Referenced by an above poster. It took well over 30 seconds to load on my cable connection, my processor temp jumped 20C my fans kicked up to 6000rpm, and the utilization went from less than 10% to over 70%. My battery meter re-estimated from 1:50 remaining to less than an hour. This is a 2.4Ghz C2D with 4GB of RAM, not a 486. I rebooted into Windows and the same thing happened.

        The site was pretty, I’ll give you that… but honestly, had I stumbled across that site via google I wouldn’t have waited for it to load/nor would I have stayed very long if I did – all due to the above issues. The goal should be to enable tasteful interactivity without having to melt down your laptop.

  69. 180

    Smashing, make great tuts about standard SVG and getting it alive mit JS!

  70. 181

    I would love to see someone code an FWA style site in HTML5.. it just isn’t going to happen!

    • 182

      Peter De Berdt

      May 18, 2010 8:07 am

      I probably could manage a few if someone paid me to do so and I would have plenty of time (even in Flash, developping those sites will have taken quite a bit of time)

      Except for the Dutch Horticulture one that just crashed the Flash plugin after a few minutes of use, and before you ask, yes, both on Windows and MacOS X using the most recent Flash plugin.

      The big question that keeps lingering when playing most these “Favorite Websites” however is why most of them sacrifice usability in favor of impressive visuals. Also, I’m maybe alone here, but I really hate sites (Flash or others) that start playing terribly downsampled music the moment I load them. Maybe it’s about the experience, but to me it’s a horrid experience.

      But the point right now is about the iPhone and the iPad not playing Flash. None of these FWA sites would play well on those devices anyway, Flash or no Flash. Almost everything, most of all basic navigation is obscured until you hover over them. You clearly can’t do that on a touchbased device.

      Anyway, this is getting back to a pointless can or can’t discussion again, which is not what this article is about to start off with.

      • 183

        You aren’t alone. We aren’t alone. :-)

        More and more people are getting angry with Flash sites because of its unnecessary uses, browser crashes/leaks, etc. We’ve the choice to not use the plugin, which is becoming usual as never before.

      • 184

        Paulo, I think the real problem with flash crashing is from inexperienced actionscript programmers who venture into it without knowing what their doing, I dont know that it is flashes fault. All they did is make an easy way to be creative, they are being penalized because they made a product too popular. If they are pushed back, that will be fine. But they should never die out. That would be a tragedy.

  71. 185

    Unfortunately, I mostly disagree with the article. For the web, Flash will be all but dead in a few short years, due to HTML5. For mobile devices, Flash will be a non-starter. Apple is wise to not degrade the user experience on its mobile devices by allowing Flash technology to drain CPU cycles and battery power.

    Flash will go the way of the Dodo bird very soon.

  72. 186

    Darcy McGee

    May 18, 2010 8:50 am

    Really an article with not much in the way of content. There’s no reason that HTML5 & CSS3 can’t be just as effective at allowing cross device promotion of multimedia content if all devices comply, and the author just skips over this issue.

    There’s no need to use Flash.

    Flash was a scourge on the Inter-Tubes. It was widely adopted because of corporate demand for snazzier designs with more animation. While there were some good implementations, there were are more bad ones with designers building the snazzy without regard for good principles of interaction design or information structure.

    I welcome the diminished influence of Flash, and pray for its eventual demise. It played a role in the evolution of the Web as a communication platform. As Douglas Adams once point out, at one point, of course, stone masons played a role in mass communications…we’ve moved on.

  73. 187

    Joe Dyndale

    May 18, 2010 8:56 am

    Sure, right now Flash still has its (very limited) uses.

    However, it seems most people *still* haven’t understood *why* Apple won’t allow it on their iDevices. It’s really quite simple. Apple is a completely user-centric company. They also introduce new features and enhancements to their products at a fast pace. They have a clear vision for how their iDevices can offer their users the best possible experience down the road. In contrast, Adobe is a completely developer-centric company. Currently they are also slower than Apple in regards to driving their products forward with new features/enhancements. Since Adobe is aiming for Flash to be a platform-independent solution, Flash won’t be able to make use of each platforms individual strengths. Adobe makes the rules for what Flash can do, so if you’re making a mobile Flash app, you’ll have to make due with that. If the iPhoneOS and Android keep pushing the envelope then Flash will be the lowest common denominator, and business being business, developers will develop for that lowest common denominator because it enables them to reach the largest possible audience with the least amount of work. So almost everyone ends up using Flash for mobile applications. That means Adobe calls the shots in regards to what every smart phone out there, in practice, is capable of. Adobe will have to cater to a growing array of devices and will thus not be able to keep delivering new features/enhancements at a high pace. This all ends up severely limiting what your mobile device can do.

    So it boils down to this: Do you want Adobe or Apple to decide what you can do with your iPhone? I sure as hell go with Apple.

    Full disclosure: I HATE Flash, as a user – for these reasons: 1) Every single browser crash I’ve experienced the last several years has been because of Flash. 2) It consumes an extremely excessive amount of CPU-resources. 3) It leaks memory like there’s no tomorrow. I would love to see developer tools as good as Flash Builder CS5 for HTML5/CSS/Javascript. Adobe are very good at making developer tools, and I LOVE Photoshop.

  74. 188

    I don’t think Flash will die soon, but it is a war that’s been going for years.

    If you think about Flash as a product from a company who cares it’s market share, then it is a war. Clearly lots of companies stop using flash for their official websites, it’s a trend that has been going on for years. That being said, Flash is loosing it’s market share, and from marketing point of view, flash is losing the war against other web technologies such as AJAX.

    I think the question is, who are the enemies? How are they gonna win? As mentioned above, Flash started losing it’s market share since many years before, even before iPhone was launched. The reason is because Flash is facing a war that all the enemies want this interactive multimedia market, and Flash happen to be the largest competitor in this market. There are many web technologies that can replace part of Flash’s function, but not many of them are open source or became web standard.

    But now it’s different, since major web standard HTML has it’s HTML5 framework support video playing, which used to be one of the bread & butter for Flash, this is already a significant battle that Flash might lose. Even worse, Apple’s mobile products are not supporting Flash, might get more web workers and clients thinking about shifting from Flash to HTML+Javascript.

    From my point of view, this kind of competition actually benefits users with better products, lower price, and possibly better user experiences. Rumor says Apple is going create something, a pro version of iWeb to go against Flash, and personally I’m looking forward to it.

  75. 189

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, Luke. Well, it’s not really Flash vs. HTML5, it will never be btw. It’s Apple vs. Adobe, on supporting iPhone OS particularly.

    Personally I always ‘feel’ Flash is somewhat another Real, and I do love to see my Web without Flash (both phone OS and computer OS). Last decade, Flash-based website is a wow. Nowadays, …, please …

    One can argue that Flash is strong enough to do everything, it’s open, it’s free etc, but look at the downside of those. Because it’s free easy open so it’s used everywhere in positive ways and, sadly, over-used in negative ways everywhere too.

    Adobe plays a role on this, and Flash has its time. Rising and failing of Flash is almost certain, we shall see soon enough.

  76. 190


    I apologize for my english…
    I’m a french computing teacher (since 1985 !) and I’m always looking for the advantages of new technologies so that my students have a benefit of them. (No, all teachers aren’t closed in their past knowing !). I’m not only a webmaster of professional sites but also a developper of gov. applications country-wide used.

    I’m a little surprised by the critics against HTML5 in some of the comments up there : this standard isn’t yet out and totally stabilized. Even if some browsers developpers already integrate some pieces of HTML5 (canvas, sections and so on) in their products (like Firefox,Chrome, Opera …) this integration is not completely achieved, so how can you judge it so definitely ?. It’s the same thing that we have to bother with as XHTML : none of the actual browser are strictly XHTML (AMAYA is perhaps The exception). But scrupulous authors do their best to write valid pages, use valid CSS classes and so on!

    For the two next years, as said in the article, let’s see how the good products will implement the new standards like HTML5, CSS3 and so on (and by the way, let’s hope for the death of antediluvian diplodocus as IE6. Let’s hope, again, that MS I.E. whatever number it’ll be, accept to be pure standard-compliant and left behind proprietary ways and tags). Yes I believe in HTML/CSS/Javascript, AJAX etc…

    I totally agree with opinions saying that the work must be done correctly by the developpers, the only important thing to keep in memory is the aim of the site/application and ‘to have mercy’ for your visitors or users. Too much is awful, too much advertisements are really boring (from that comes the success of AdBlock) especially if the amount of ads (an the technology choosed to advertise) slows down your computer! Why have an optical fiber network with 100Mb speed if the site you’re visiting needs several minutes to load completely…
    If I’m interested by a domain, a product, please let me choose the way to keep informed !

    Coming back to the main subject “HTML vs Flash”, we’re going to know again a sad period as web developpers, just as the heroic times when we had to make each page several times, one for IE, one for Netscape, one for another…
    History is an eternal return but few seem to take lessons for it…
    Due to the great number of former pages using HTML4, PHP3… one can reasonably think that reformatting or rewriting them is not possible; so we’ll must accomodate for many years with the co-existence of old ways and new manners… Flash has several years to survive even some major company don’t rely on its future…

    Good luck, fellows, hope make live !

  77. 191

    Still good idea to have Flash skills… can you say Mobile…

  78. 192

    I think that two years sounds a bit close

    CSS 1
    published in December 1996.

    CSS 2
    published as a Recommendation in May 1998.

    CSS 3
    CSS level 3 is currently under development.

    I think that 4 years after CSS3 is published it will become the new Web standard and we will finally be able to use it :)

  79. 193

    Personally – when visiting a site, I don’t care what’s been used to create it. The less obvious – the better. I’ve been impressed by what some people are doing without the use of Flash – but also been VERY impressed with the full multimedia experience that a Flash site can bring. I don’t mind intros if they “work” – I’m thinking about a nice cinematic intro for say a video game/movie/cool idea in general. And lots of times I do skip those. This doesn’t seem to anger me as much as it does the rest of you, for lack of a better term, total idiots. I’ve been to MANY HTML sites that are absolutely frustrating to interact with.

    When I go to an all Flash website (on my iMac/macbook) – I am never ever ever concerned with the site “crashing”. I use Safari exclusively and I just don’t have the issues that a lot of you are describing. More times than not, honestly, it’s an HTML site that crashes. And yes, it may be because of the advertisements that are done in Flash, but shit – that’s a whole different conversation. I think advertisements coded in whatever language need to be done with.

    Anyway – I’m bored now and I feel this argument is for morons.

  80. 195

    I think Flash will not die because Steve Jobs does not like it. Steve Jobs wants iAds under his full control, that’s the only business reason I can think of.

    The discussion should also not be about the capabilities of Flash vs HTML5. Clearly, Flash can produce richer outputs currently.

    No, Flash will die (or at least be reduced in usage) because web designers will start to realize that usability comes first. For most sites and applications this means simplicity, speed, and design conventions (not having to learn navigation and such for each site). I have seen no Flash sites at all that let me do things quicker, let me find things better, that load faster or that are more intuitive that sites based on web standards.

    What will be left is a few niche industries and audiences that do appreciate “rich” interaction.

  81. 196

    I think it’s definitely ambitious to say that HTML5/CSS3 will be standard and that all web browsers will be standards-based in two years. IE6 (sadly) still has a large chunk of the market share (27% last time I checked). It’s crappy, but let’s be realistic. Savvy and forward-thinking users like us (web/interactive professionals) only make up a tiny drop in the bucket of people that use the web.

  82. 197

    You are conveniently ignoring the part where html5 is being developed to work as a offline widget/application engine…

    There are already experiments of e-learning platforms built with nothing but html5, , css3 and ecma.

  83. 198

    Sometimes I think that developers don’t have users and clients in mind. I work as a flash developer, and many clients really like Flash websites, and users too (take a look to movie websites, they are commonly developed in Flash). What we have to do is to make flash based websites that are user friendly, simply as that (No more 1 minute intros).
    Of course, flash websites are not good for all clients or all kinds of bussiness, but if you need animation, what are you going to use?

  84. 199

    Flash was always there for what HTML can’t do. And Flash will always be there for what HTML won’t do.

    Also, you forgot to mention those that develop Actionscript can run AIR apps.

  85. 200

    Flash has been the cornerstone for a lot of what has created and become dynamic media for the web. There is no doubt that it has it’s issues…but it has been a evolutionary platform for some incredible dev. Look at to see how far it has evolved.

  86. 201

    viva html5 and css

  87. 202

    Apple always gets it wrong, always, I have been using flash since it was Future Splash and knew this tool would be over used for basic things like gif animations which was a big thing back then. Apple is making a big mistake by ignoring this platform. How could these Well educated PHP holding people make a decision to ignore 90% of the web standard? Well Apple is known for just that, they have been doing so from the beginning. Remember the PDF Adobe fight? Stick around long enough and you would see who the real enemy is to the web “APPLE”.

    • 203

      David Desjardins

      May 18, 2010 2:11 pm

      Apple got it wrong?

      Decided to get into the music business at a time when illegal downloads were king. Everyone scoffed at the idea. Winner: Apple.

      Decided to get into the phone business when the market was dominated by others. Set a new standard for smartphones, and created a new market segment. Winner: Apple

      Decided to get into… something new with the iPad. A closed marketing channel backed by music, television, digital media AND publishing. Winner:……

      Apple has been a pain when it comes to Flash. But when you’re building a media distribution empire, sometimes its necessary to break a few eggs.

      • 204

        With the arrogans, strict rules, closed platform, lack of features in this Ipad it feels that Apple can do things quite much wrong. But its just healthy, it’s bad when something become too big.

      • 205

        I think you’re right that it’s hard to argue with the success of Apple. But, and just to be the devil’s advocate, that might not mean that they got it ‘right’. I sometimes wonder how innovative they’ve really been. I personally think that other companies were putting out better products at the time that iPods and the iPhone were introduced. Perhaps their innovation lies in their abililty to manipulate people into thinking that they can’t live without their products. I’m not sure that means getting it ‘right’ though…… It’s hard to deny that Apple is lacking in the ethics department :p

  88. 206

    Show me one site listed on that could be recreated using HTML5. You can’t. Why? Because, love it or hate it, Flash is here to stay, with or without Apple’s consent.


    • 207

      Would be curious to see how many sites on meet and adhere to proper web & accessibility standards… that is unfortunately the real let down with Flash. I know Adobe have made inroads to rectifying this too but they are still a long way off meeting current guidelines.

      • 208

        I think there is a general problem when a homepage change from static pages to animated/dynamic realtime content. Javascript and AJAX have these problems too. It’s up to the creator where to put the focus. As a professional it’s good to have wide knowledge and use the best tools available and do least compromisses. But Flash will never be as “accessible” as HTML because its a plugin, compiled code etc.

    • 209

      Oooohh… thanks for the links. I think this brings up something interesting. Flash sites seem to have the ability to be really damn pretty. I’m a graphic artist, not a web designer, and I’ve noticed that there’s a real push towards functionality in the industry. That said, I’m supposed to love Apple (yes… that’s what I work on, haha!). But for a company that’s built itself upon the image of being artsy and free, it’s just not. It’s not as customizable or visually exciting as what Windows is doing, and now it’s trying to stifle Flash, which (in my opinion) is geared more towards making sites that are purely aesthetic. It’s an interesting about-face, and a key reason why I’m strongly considering moving back to a PC (not to mention the question of the company’s lack of ethics). Just my two cents, hope it provided a different perspective :)

  89. 210

    David Desjardins

    May 18, 2010 2:05 pm

    Reading the comments has been just as informative as the article itself.

    I lean more to the realistic. I work for a global company, and manage the maintenance of 14 localized web sites and portals. We are moving away from Flash, and reverting to simpler text-based elements. Why? Lead generation.

    Flash doesn’t necessarily help lead generation. It does make for engaging experiences, and when done right it can be remarkably helpful with educating our customers. But when it comes to the dollars and cents of getting a lead, static banners simply work better. 2-3x better.

    We tried many types of banners – you name the style, form, position and use of color – at the end of the day they just did not deliver as consistently as a static banner. (we outsourced the Flash)

    The benefits to us? Our marketing budget goes farther and reaches a wider audience with less. We can build and deploy static elements in hours instead of days. Best of all – we are no longer device dependent.

    This doesn’t mean I won’t use it in the future, but it’s no longer my medium of expression.

    As for the ‘war’ with Apple – most people simply don’t ‘Get it’. For all of the hype, the iPad is a channel for distributing content. Apple wants to control that, and Flash weakens that grip. Anyone can build a tablet, but without a ready stream of content to be delivered, the tablet is a waste of time.

    As for Flash rebounding on Android etc., I say lets wait and see.

    • 211

      Well said. Likewise been in this game for nearly 2 decades now and have always found Flash cumbersome and more resource draining when involved with the massive corporate clients we serve. It’s not that Flash is bad but rather being incorrectly used.

  90. 212

    Why are you posting something that is all over the net?
    Another opinion.. like we need more

  91. 213


    May 18, 2010 5:06 pm

    Amazing article, but we all know that IE is still not gonna be standards compliant in 2 years.

  92. 214

    Rex S. Sacayan

    May 18, 2010 7:27 pm

    I don’t agree with this article! HTML5 won’t kill flash! Although I don’t use flash in the websites I manage, but flash is a nice tool if used properly. We are currently enjoying watching movie online like Youtube and flash is technology being used. We used be thankful with flash.

  93. 215

    Great article, pity the mindless masses can’t see logical discussion.
    Too busy crapping on with “Flash sux0rz cause its liek not SEO friendly and resource hogging” without having used the platform correctly.
    I’ve spent the past 8 years developing on the Flash platform, and nothing has changed in terms of outputted work. Shit developers still produce shit code, which just fuels the flash hate.

    I blame the marketing companies for plastering flash banners everywhere.

  94. 216

    Andri Yudatama

    May 18, 2010 7:56 pm

    I think you guys should read this one

  95. 217

    Boring post,

    You are way too level-headed and reasonable. Why should I trust anyone with a sane, logical and pragmatic view of the role of Adobe’s Flash in the context of web development and purpose? As a blogger, I demand you adhere to the flame-bait mentality and egregious falsity spewing guidelines as they were prescribed. You have no business telling me what’s true or accurate. If I wanted that, I’d read the tabloids or ask an idiot.

    Seriously, well written post. I’m glad to have read something in which someone made the appropriate distinction between purposeful and deliberate use of the appropriate tool for the job and useless rhetoric and utterly false conjecture on what’s good or bad (on either side of the fence) for the public at large. Balance is what excellent programmers understand. When the center of balance shifts due to project requirements, part of regaining balance may mean incorporating technology that, under other circumstances, would be ridiculous. Always be mindful of your options.

    HTML5 > Canvas element ftw. ( :

  96. 218

    html5 a standard in 2 years? try 10.

  97. 219

    “Flash should never have been used to the extent that it was purely for Web design.”

    I couldn’t agree more on that. Neverending and boring Flash intros are like stupid cartoons created by uncreative people. On the other hand, Flash is a great tool to spice up your design or to deliver video content, and sure it has a place in the advertising market. Its usage is all about know how; when, where, how, and how much.

    • 220

      You’ve said it in an EXCELLENT and So good sentence :)

      “it (flash) has a place in the advertising market. Its usage is all about know how; when, where, how, and how much.”

      And the same applies in other resources for development.

  98. 221

    2 years? not less than 10! I’m still developing for ie6 2001->2010!

  99. 222

    This article says it all to be honest …… Flash will die there is no doubt about it

  100. 223

    Michael Ward

    May 19, 2010 12:36 am

    I’d be very suprised if Adobe can deliver a flash plugin for mobile devices that can deliver enough performance, without using too much cpu/battery or reducing functionality.

    Evidence suggests that the flash platform performs well on Windows and nowhere else – meaning that the codebase is probably a convoluted mess, and difficult to port to other platforms.

    To be fair, I think Adobe have painted themselves in to a corner, and the sooner they deliver a fantastic creative / development tool that can output to HTML5 the better. They can even leave behind the shackles of their terrible user interfaces and produce something super efficient and a joy to use (Lightroom is a great example of what Adobe can do when they have a blank slate).

    Come on Adobe – you can do it, and if you do you will play a big part in the future of the web over the next 15 years. If not, you’ll be a fading force on the web.

  101. 224

    I am totally agreed.

  102. 225


    May 19, 2010 1:48 am

    An article in Dutch about this subject can be found here:

  103. 226

    y u need flash in web…….if consume lot of bandwidth.
    JavaScript and Ajax are better for visual effect.

  104. 227

    HTML5 help to die IE6 in coming 2-3 years. But still we will require to fight with IE7/8 bcoz 50% user still use XP & they will continue for next 5-10yrs. In this situation IE9 will help but it is only run on Vista & 7.

    HTML5 vs Flash war helps both for upgrade & come with new technologies.

    In my last 10yrs I saw how we change Table (HTML4) site to Div (XHTML). Now time will come when we convert for HTML5. In this all I am happy bcoz now I can serve HTML5 for all that XHTML client.

  105. 228

    Dude, “All browsers being compatible and standards-based” in two years?? Dream on. Considering the CSS3 specification is still under development, how on earth are all major browsers going to implement css3 standards in two years? And this is to say nothing of getting users to upgrade! Regular users (ie. not us interweb nerds) are reluctant to upgrade or change anything if they think it works. Oh and let’s not forget about browsers at users’ workplaces. In two years, IE6 will probably still be in use in corporate settings, whether the user (or the web development community) likes it or not.
    But hey, credit where it’s due: you hit the nail on its head, the HTML5 vs. Flash argument isn’t an argument at all

  106. 229

    Ryan Bollenbach

    May 19, 2010 6:20 am

    Simply put: It’s time to start researching HTML5 and CSS3 to stay in the web development game!! :D.

  107. 230

    Evan Skuthorpe

    May 19, 2010 6:34 am

    Nice article. Flash will still exist.

  108. 231

    2 years??????????

  109. 232

    Mohawk Kellye

    May 19, 2010 8:46 am

    I fucking love that quote about Adobe and Apple. That’s all I need to say. Great article, btw. I’m kinda glad Flash is finding other uses besides full flash pages, I’ve gotten bored working with flash websites at this point…

  110. 233

    I’d like to thank you for a couple of reasons. The first is for a good discussion of the roles of flash and HTML5. The second is for being one of the very few people I’ve run across that realizes that none of us have all of the information, we’re all just simply expressing opinions, and discussion is SO much more productive than thinking we’re right and arguing like toddlers. As for me… I have to say (and I’m not a web designer), I’ve seen some artsy portfolio sites done in flash that really took my breath away. I’m not sure if they could be done with HTML5.

  111. 234

    Thanks for the article, I think that the Apple argument is valid in pointing out HTML5 and CSS3 as the future in delivering web standards content to the masses in both the web and mobile space, however it is frustrating that some of the readers miss the point and side-track immediately into the negative past of Flash design – I believe there is a truly unique offering in Flash – full scalable vector graphics, Actionscript, easing, smooth motion, 3D environments, a comprehensive palette of design tools, database and xml options, desktop AIR, FLEX, I think Flash can be integrated successfully and tastefully alongside HTML into a website and can degrade gracefully in most cases – I think this is really more about the stubborn bunch who want to dictate how there platform plays out instead of being open, Flash has a vibrant future amongst serious designers and who is to say otherwise – there are many improvements in CS5, packager for iPhone (had to say that), new animation capabilities, Actionscript improvements, new video processes, I think we should give credit to how Flash can add positive value to the online experience.

  112. 235

    One thing people don’t talk about is the ways in which HTML5 features will actually improve what you can do with Flash. Anything done in the browser can be piloted by Flash, namely via Javascript APIs executed directly from within a Flash Player instance (assuming the permissions have been granted.) This means that things like the local storage cache and geolocation will be defacto Flash Player features as well. Nice! Even video implemented by the browser could be piloted by Flash. There’s really a lot of synergy potential here that most people for some reason are overlooking.

    • 236

      Great! Then browsers could send me Flash banner ads based on my location. I can’t wait!

      • 237

        They will send you HTML5 Banners as well. What is wrong with you people? Don’t you see that Flash is just a tool, the problem is Advertising, or popups… not flash itself,

      • 238

        With power comes responsibility, for sure, but in the case of a Flash ad doing something annoying or dubious (which they already do), your issue is with the host site which must grant permission. In fact, at least with Flash Player you have a sandbox which can be locked down very easily (plus you can disable or block the plugin), HTML5 ads would be much harder to control.

  113. 239

    Because that is what you want? This post is just an opinion, I’m pretty sure, Flash will die. The people who wants Flash alive, is because they invest hours learning how to use it. Why everybody is afraid to future? Nothing is forever, As quick you accept this fact, you gonna be happy.

    • 240

      Right now, Flash is still way better than HTML5 from an experiential point of view, and that’s all that counts. So until there is some ‘serious’ catchup in matching that performance, there is no point in jumping around with predictions.

  114. 241

    It’s not about whether Flash will “die” or not; it will live on for awhile like other technologies past their sell-by dates (MS-DOS, Mac OS Classic, Friendster, etc.).

    But Flash’s growth story has been dealt a mortal blow. That makes it good as dead from an investment standpoint. You don’t throw money at a technology whose user-base is eroding unless you can correct the cause of the erosion.

    If the cause of Flash’s erosion were simply bad performance, more money would help. But a critical part of the appeal of Flash is that it is (was) ubiquitous on all the platforms that mattered. When big chunks of the audience you’re trying to reach don’t have Flash, your ubiquity story evaporates. No amount of Adobe’s money is going to get Flash on the iPhone since it would enable the commodification of the mobile platform experience, which is obviously at odds with Apple’s strategy of keeping the iPhone platform experience unique.

  115. 242

    The fact that IE6 remains an issue translates into all of this being (sadly) premature. All the static about HTML5 and CSS3….and I’m still needing to concern myself with how my designs look in IE6. Trust me–I loathe IE6 and mock those that use it. I’ve yet to find an air-tight PNG hack (and so on and so on) and horrified that I even need to accommodate it.

    • 243


      May 19, 2010 8:45 pm

      I am completely agreeing with Mike. But I think most of the people stopped designing web applications and websites for IE6. I personally think that, new technologies and new thoughts are good but sometimes I feel both Apple and Adobe doing the same thing as Microsoft did in the past (monopoly).

      I have worked with – adobe technologies like, flash, flex, air; apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch; and now HTML 5 and CSS3. I would like to mention jQuery here coz it is really grabbed a major chunk or animation part for the web from flash and Adobe is now concentrating more on RIA’s with their Flash builder and Air. I think all these tools and applications needs to be support each other. Instead of fighting with each other they have to find a solution that will work for everyone. Otherwise we all need to create apps and websites which will mention (in small fonts… lolz.. not support flash or not support CSS3.. etc..).

  116. 244

    While I don’t agree completely, this was a decent article, but wow there are a lot of dumb comments. One thing that always makes me facepalm is how people somehow think Flash is all of a sudden going to fade into obscurity due to an incomplete and barely adopted new web standard.

    Flash is still extremely popular and is an extremely powerful platform that can be used to create some really extraordinary web experiences in the right hands. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you just have to take one look at The FWA SOTD winners to understand why Flash still has it’s place in the web world.

    Besides, do people really think Adobe are going to let one of it’s most successfully products simply die? People are so naïve. Adobe are an absolutely huge company and by the time HTML5 and CSS3 have reached even a fraction of the penetration Flash has, who knows what Adobe will have done with it?

    • 245

      “extraordinary web experiences” are still just web experiences which are often forgotten before the user even gets up to take a leak. The FWA SOTD does indeed have some impressive content, but I’m willing to venture that for 99% of the web audience this impressive content seems trivial.

      Flash, more often than not, hinders the user experience. Adobe, being typical Adobe, let virtually everything in Flash (from IDE to plugin) slide down hill because they were banking on one stronghold feature: video. Now that Adobe is finally having to realize that their stranglehold on closed-source web video is nearing an end they are on the offensive.

      Ultimately, Adobe won’t “let” it’s antiquated plugin die. But those of us who build the web will do what we always do and follow the prevailing currents. Flash has had its day. Let it go.

      • 246

        Sorry, I can see your point, but I just don’t agree. Flash has it’s place and so does HTML, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t continue to coexist. As a web designer I will always use the tool best suited for the job at hand, and Flash still happens to be one of those tools.

      • 247

        The day that Flash has “had its day” is the day I will say Flash has had its day; but that’s not today. ;)

  117. 248

    Marianne Røsvik

    May 20, 2010 1:34 am

    Thank you! I totally agree!!

  118. 249

    Flash is definitely overused but it does have its place, used rather more sparingly and discerningly. It could be a great tool for ecommerce websites like dubli, for example.

  119. 250

    Hi all :) Just wanna share with u a video that Lee Brimelow did showing Flash working normally on touch based devices

    He says on his blog: “Several people have been making assertions that most Flash sites will not work properly on touch-based devices because these sites use rollovers or hovers for things like effects and navigation. Well I put together this little video together showing that Flash sites do indeed work the way you would expect since the Flash Player dispatches rollover events even on a touch screen.”

    Peace :)

  120. 251

    Flash won’t die.

    Ever seen a cartoon show? Yea, Flash is still booming in that area.

    Flash for web might be on the downside, but Flash is still a very profitable and creative outlet.

  121. 252

    Lammert Postma

    May 21, 2010 3:44 am

    In the discussion between flash and html5/css3 we forget to look at the purpose to use flash or HTML5/CSS3.

    For information and task driven websites/applications I think flash will (and should) lose the battle. But for the immersive non-linear web experience using video/animation/sound flash will stay there. The moment only show html5+css3 sites-of-the-day I will reconsider.

  122. 253

    Thanx. Very nice.

  123. 254

    Flash is a great product, but people will continue to create bloated, poorly coded Flash sites. They will aslo use frames rather than CSS, and use 3rd party plugins on the web for many years to come. One of the worst things to happen to the internet, IE 6, still holds roughly a 17% market share…and it’s 9 years old!

  124. 255

    Gregory Nicholas

    May 21, 2010 9:04 pm

    one point i disagree if the part related to needing it to find it’s way in the mobile space. that’s bunk. it was a billion dollar business in Japan with mobile while Macromedia ran the show. Once Adobe took over though it inevitably failed. Thank you for nothing Adobe. you provide no value add or cogent argument to anything. you fail and suck at life Adobe. and if anyone likes Adobe, they are probably baby racists who are from Arizona!

  125. 256

    skechers shape ups

    May 21, 2010 11:39 pm

    but people will continue to create bloated, poorly coded Flash sites

  126. 257

    Aside from mobile platforms, flash also has it’s place on TV. I’m not an expert in brodcast design, but if I’m right a lot of advertisements, screen animations, intros, and intercative TV UI’s are made with flash.
    People forget that flash can do much more than those glitch full-flash sites and annoying intros (and I say this as an HTML-CSS-JS coder :D)

  127. 258


    May 22, 2010 8:36 am

    estoy de acuerdo pero… yo me quedo con jquery

  128. 259

    Nathan Sweet

    May 22, 2010 10:40 am

    10 Things Flash can do that are important, that HTML5 can’t do:
    1. Complete Codec support for Audio and Video, it is possible to write complete codec support in AS3 so even OGG is supported (yeah how are you going to code in HTML 5 for browsers that don’t support HTML5).
    2. Color Correction – try telling a client who works with photos that this isn’t important.
    3. Manipulate binary data, thus flash is often required in some projects that require certain file types. Yes, the server can do it for you, but not always, and why would you make the server do something when the client is completely capable of doing it?
    4. P2P without a central server. Yes there are HTML5 proposals, but none of them are well implemented and none will be backwards compatible.
    5. Complete and binary socket manipulation (web sockets won’t even work over UDP). And web sockets is only implemented in Google Chrome.
    6. Use of Webcam and microphone. The HTML5 proposal isn’t even DUE until Spring 2011.
    7. Video Streaming. This one gets a lot of people. I’m not talking about calling a file from a server, I’m talking about pure bitrate control from the server, which, up until a year or two ago, only rtmp could do. Yes there are good HTTP solutions being started up, but their communities are brand new, and they are years away from the depth, maturity, and capability of the flash community.
    8. Digitial Rights Management. Yeah, I think it’s evil too, so who cares if it’s supported, right? WRONG! More corporate clients for the flash community. Scratch that, more clients period. Protected content is becoming ubiquitous on the internet, and flash offers cheap solution to clients who want to protect their content.
    9. Listen for metadata from the server. I’m not talking about requesting something from the server, I’m talking about the server sending a trigger to the client, and the client changing as a result (basically livestreaming). HTML5 cannot do this (yes there are other alternatives to flash, but you still need a plugin, why wouldn’t you use flash).
    10. Finally, and most importantly, flash is the most ubiquitous and compatible media solution on the internet. Think about how long it took the web development community to stop supporting IE6 (some people still have to support it). Now flash makes up a whopping 95% of the user base, whereas HTML5 makes up a ridiculous 5% (for complete and up to date browsers).

    I don’t see flash going anywhere. Not only is everything I listed above important, it’s necessary technology as the internet expands and as smaller and smaller companies start tapping into the richness of the internet. If you’re a small time developer, expect to get more and more requests for the above technologies, not LESS!

    • 260

      Are these 10 things the reasons why use, develope and support Flash ? Do the Internet websites demand and need these features? (o0)

    • 261

      “why would you make the server do something when the client is completely capable of doing it?”

      Did you actually seriously just say that? Whatever else you typed is irrelevant, you clearly know fuck all.

  129. 262

    This is a truly awful article.

    If Smashing have completely stopped posting roundups and listicles and are solely offering the un-researched opinions of inexperienced nobodies I think I’ll be unsubscribing.

  130. 263

    Long live to flash and flash video!

    Sorry MacZombies!

  131. 264

    Im tired of elitist giving their opinion as fact.

    You mean to tell me flash websites are annoying? Whats annoying is your crap CSS coding that is poorly constructed and does not render correctly on my mobile browser or my home comp for that matter.

    I find myself switching between opera, safari and IE to view different sites depending on their content.

    Thats annoying.

    Flash is a milestone in visual presentation and the authoring environment that allows you to combine code with TIMELINE based animation is remarkable. I get the feeling that you code guys are upset because you are poor at planning via timeline and you lack the graphic design and special effect skills to produce the results you expect to see from flash. CSS and HTML 5 will increase the amount of garbage websites i view daily, with their gimmicky looks and cliche navigation.

    Give me a break.

  132. 265

    I totally agree. Also, here is an article about why we think that Flash is going to rule the web and the mobile in the next decade:

  133. 266

    Stuart Thursby

    May 25, 2010 8:46 am

    Stephen Beck, partner and creative director at Vancouver’s Engine Digital, wrote a piece on the Applied Arts site about why the technology used to build an interactive experience shouldn’t matter, so long as the experience is the optimal one for the end user. Worth a read in addition to this piece (and the hundreds of others that have gone out over the past couple months)

  134. 267

    I’m a professional GUI designer, and here is the quiz:
    1. Can you open a link from a Flash site in a new tab?
    2. Can you save an image from Flash site without using additional apps?
    3. Can you go 1 page back within a site in the majority of Flash sites?
    4. Can you copy/paste a text in the majority of Flash sites?
    5. Can you add to Favorites a specific single page in the majority of Flash sites?
    6. Can you use a “Find” (text in page) feature in the majority of Flash sites?
    7. Can you use an external tools such as Translators in the majority of Flash sites?
    8. Can you start viewing the actual content of a Flash site as quickly as the content of an HTML site, instead of staring at “rotating loading circles”?

    The answer is NO. Flash is a USABILITY DISASTER.

    Fact: the majority of useless annoying content on the web exists in a Flash format.
    Personally I don’t miss it on my iPhone at all. Guess why – without Flash there is no ads.

    Flash could be still useful in Gaming, Gambling, Porno, Presentations. I wish Flash Good Luck fighting there another proprietary technology – SilverLight.

    The sooner Flash vanishes from the mainstream Web the better.

    • 268

      1-2: Yes, no problem.
      3-5: 2 years ago, I’d agree with you. Today, I’d say you can do this in a majority of flash SITES (not including games, apps and campaigns where this really isn’t relevant).
      6-7: No.
      8: So, the lack of loaders in html sites is a good thing? Hello, psykology 101….

      And regarding ads.. There’re already ad systems implementing html5 ads. And guess what, then you no longer can use flashblock and similar plugins to hide ads! :)

      Good luck, have fun! Oh, no I forgot.. Haters don’t know what fun is…

    • 269

      “I’m a professional GUI designer, and here is the quiz:”
      Not to be rude – you have a great list of questions – but ‘what you are’ is in fact quite irrelevant to the arguments, as it implies level of authority which in fact this isn’t about. Not being mean; for what it’s worth I’m a professional landscaper. ;)

      “1. Can you open a link from a Flash site in a new tab?”
      The simple answer is yes; Flash Player opens links with the same API as anchor tags and it’s up to the browser to decide what to do with it. However I *think* you’re hinting at a broader and very valid point, and that is that .swf links are not recognized in any current browser as links and consequently the browser does not provide specialized link behaviors (open in new window, open in new tab, save link location, etc) by default. This is indeed frustrating. For what it’s worth, this is actually the fault of browser vendors: link information can be extracted (including dynamic links) as .swf is an openly published specification, and search engines index .swf files; however to my knowledge no modern browser has implemented this feature. Regardless of “who’s to blame” I agree the current behavior is a usability strike against using Flash.

      “2. Can you save an image from Flash site without using additional apps?”
      Yes — if the .swf provides that option to you, or if the image was loaded externally (which is extremely common) and you use a browser which will easily indicate the asset reference. I disagree with what I assume your actual point was in that “not always able to” is a usability issue, as it implies that content should be easily capturable regardless of the content-author’s intentions. This is possibly a philosophical disagreement.

      “3. Can you go 1 page back within a site in the majority of Flash sites?
      4. Can you copy/paste a text in the majority of Flash sites?
      5. Can you add to Favorites a specific single page in the majority of Flash sites?
      6. Can you use a “Find” (text in page) feature in the majority of Flash sites?
      7. Can you use an external tools such as Translators in the majority of Flash sites?”
      The use of the word “majority” in each of these points indicate you are aware as am I that all these things are possible with Flash as a technology. So this is not a point of usability for or against Flash as a technology, except to the extent Flash makes it easier/harder for developers to conform to these standards. To that I would honestly conjecture from my experience that the majority of professional full Flash websites implement these features — especially deep-linking, and the rest as they make sense. Certainly not the case 5 years ago, but today.

      “8. Can you start viewing the actual content of a Flash site as quickly as the content of an HTML site, instead of staring at “rotating loading circles”?”
      In fact, comparing identical content, Flash Player often loads faster due to .swf being a optimized and compressed format and there being fewer server requests. Of course, Flash is often used to deliver much higher bandwidth content, in which case again this has nothing to do with Flash as a technology except that it makes it easy to deliver content. It’s also notable that “rotating loading circles” are not a part of Flash as a technology, but rather a conventional implementation — primarily because it’s easy to implement in an .swf while it’s relatively difficult to implement in HTML.

      Hope that helps!

  135. 270

    Some More Facts

    May 28, 2010 11:09 am

    “1-2: Yes, no problem.”
    — Yes, no problem you can, or Yes, no problem you can’t?

    “6-7: No.”
    — No, you can, or No, you can’t?

    “And regarding ads.. There’re already ad systems implementing html5 ads. And guess what, then you no longer can use flashblock and similar plugins to hide ads! :)”
    — I won’t need any “special HTML5” blocker for that. HTML5 is still HTML so the common ad-blocker will suffice.

    “Oh, no I forgot.. Haters don’t know what fun is”
    — I know very well what fun is. For example looking for a people like you who neglected Usability for so long…. And now paying the price by losing the ground together with their beloved technology.

    • 271

      I’m a professional GUI designer, and here is the quiz:
      Does that mean you lack programming skills and why you are just a designer?

      1. Can you open a link from a Flash site in a new tab?
      This question seems to tell me that you do lack programming skills.

      2. Can you save an image from Flash site without using additional apps?
      same answer as above. I can give you the script for this but it will cost you.

      3. Can you go 1 page back within a site in the majority of Flash sites?
      Page 1 did you mean index.html file?.. I can’t stand designers that lack technical skills.

      4. Can you copy/paste a text in the majority of Flash sites?
      Majority? I like how you use majority. Because this question is quit stupid and the sites you
      must be viewing are made by other weak developers. Maybe there should be 2 web environments. 1 for real developers and 2 for designers and weak programmers who lack programming skills that complain about web technology that they don’t know how to use.

      5. Can you add to Favorites a specific single page in the majority of Flash sites?
      Majority again? Once again you are arguing against developers and not the technology. Your question is irrelevant.

      6. Can you use a “Find” (text in page) feature in the majority of Flash sites?
      how about I build it inside of flash for you. Would you like that? Majority again and again blah blah blah

      7. Can you use an external tools such as Translators in the majority of Flash sites?
      wow you really like that word which still doesn’t say anything about the technology being used. With you simply stating majority that means that their are some pages out there that that can do it which goes back to who? O yes the developer. I can develop something like this for you in flash if you like? I charge 30/hr.

      8. Can you start viewing the actual content of a Flash site as quickly as the content of an HTML site, instead of staring at “rotating loading circles”?
      Are you comparing content for content? Why would someone use flash for all text and image that is static? Bad comparison.

      All your questions really does lead me to think you are not a developer so keep playing with your theories of UX experience and leave developing to real programmers.
      That goes for all the other designers that lack coding experience. If you can’t hang with the complexity of programming then go design restaurant menu’s or travel brochures. It is the lack of skill is why the internet experience can be so horrible not the technology.

      • 272

        I stand corrected after I re-read your post again.
        1. Can you open a link from a Flash site in a new tab?
        If you’re trying to access a frame from the address bar which is opening another tab and trying to access frame. You are correct. Flash is embeded in the html file which the browser only sees that 1 html file but this argument only works if the person built the whole site in flash and didn’t create each link in a different html so that the tab can read the links created in flash,.

        3. Can you go 1 page back within a site in the majority of Flash sites?
        If you mean the back button. Then the same argument can be made for websites that have javascript that deactivates the back button in the web browser but the majority of the sites I’ve been on I am able to hit the back button if thats what you mean.

        To make things clear I am not a flash lover or html5 for that matter. I enjoy technology for what it can bring. I know there are a lot of flash sites that are horrible but that is what happens when you design an application to be used by people who lack development skills. The truth can be said about other script kiddies that put together bad javascript code. At the end of the day it all comes down to the developer and his/her skill set on whether or not the deliverance of the UX experience will be successful. You can have the most beautiful site in the world but if you code it sloppy it will act sloppy. I don’t mean to knock on designers but a lot of them assume something cannot be done properly with a certain technology when they lack programming skills to make it work properly.

  136. 273

    Justin Carroll

    June 11, 2010 6:57 pm

    “Flash will retreat to its proper place: those niche areas where it belongs and can truly excel.”

    Fail. In other words, if Flash had always been used in it’s “proper” way some of the greatest Web agencies and online advertising ever created would not exist. Also, some of the Web’s greatest interactivity was first seen in Flash. Countless are the sites I see replicating carousels in JS/XHTML/CSS after something that’s been done in Flash for years.

    I’m not a Flash-head by far, but I’m absolutely against pigeon-holing technology and cutting the balls off a progressive Web.

  137. 274

    As a customer and user,
    I will choose whatever it looks easy to use in a nice design.

  138. 275

    Liberty Vanguard

    September 9, 2010 9:11 am

    A lot of people claim HTML5 will kill off plugins like Flash and Silverlight, but that simply isn’t the case.

    Take for instance, this scenario.

    Load a binary file over a url. For the sake of the demo, we’ll use shapefile format (.shp), which contains geographical polygons in a coordinate system.

    Parse the byte contents client side.

    Draw the contents in an efficient manner.


    This is just one example where plugin technology won’t be replace by HTML5.

  139. 276

    Flash development ist just horrible, expensive and time-consuming. There is no proper IDE and the current products are almost all awful and not very well designed. This contributes much to why traditional programmers shun Flash and Flex although these are powerful tools. Adobe missed a big opportunity here.
    With an alternative like HTML5 video and audio we’ll see much more work being done on the Web with videos and sound just because there is already a myriad of ways and tools to create, test and debug.

  140. 277

    What Flash got?
    1. Good IDE(Timeline, CS integration and designer friendly interface of Flash Pro and developer friendly Flash Builder/Eclipse based IDE for AS3).
    2. Actionscript 3 is better than Javascript. (Performance, better OO support for complex applicatins and so on)
    3. Wider scope (Not on mercy of several browsers)

    What HTML5,CSS3 and Javascript got?
    1. Adobe Dreamweaver for HTML5,CSS3 and Javascript development, Eclipse too for javascript with plugin. (They are good enough and reliable tools for developing simple or properly engineered web application.)
    2. True open source and web standard.
    3. Wider audiance. (Standard HTML5 features are available on almost all mordern web browser, specifically safari and IE)

  141. 278
  142. 279

    It’s not HTML5 that’s killing off flash…no…it’s the oldest scripting language on the web that is….Javascript! or should i say jQuery? I have lost count on how many times i have produced some animation using jQuery that i would have usually done using flash.

    When you can have slideshows, animated menus, hover effects, and the ability to show and hide elements just using JS is a great addition to any site and apart from the time it takes to learn jQuery….it’s free….OPEN SOURCE….Yerrrrrr!

  143. 280

    obviously, most people that claims Flash SUCKS and html5 WINS never developed in either environment let alone both…

    use whichever tools that are most appropriate for the goal, being a fan boy sock puppet is only good one thing… being a fan boy sock puppet.

  144. 281

    Robert Hurst

    July 10, 2011 6:13 pm

    For me the choice between Flash and HTML5, most notably JavaScript and the canvas tag, is decided by two things. Firstly Flash was born in a time where the web was more or less a delivery tool. A rich web was not yet possible. Flash offered some great resources to developers that really changed what they could do with a web experience.

    That being said Flash is also proprietary. This should be a huge red flag for all of us because it means that Flash is not something that is free, and if Adobe wants to evolve Flash is a direction that is not best for the web, or any medium for that mater, Adobe may do so without the communities approval. Adobe curates flash because it is a product that they can sell, and that they control.

    This is not true for the web stack. The web stack, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, are developed and curated by communities and by standards boards. These groups are not concerned with the profitability of the web stack (at least not directly). Their concerns lie with the refinement and quality of the web stack’s technology, as well as improved accessibility.

    There maybe a number of things that are harder to do with JavaScript and canvas compared to Flash, but that’s why we write libraries like Raphael and Processing, and I would far rather use a open technologies than a proprietary technologies. Its in our best interests to use our evolving open web stack, or HTML5 as some call it today. If we choose to use plugins instead we run the risk of stagnating the development of these technologies.

    Flash is a very powerful tool. It can do some remarkable things, but I would argue that a vast majority of the things flash is used for, including the uses mentioned in this article, can be better accomplished with the tools of the web stack. If we choose the web stack over Flash, then we will have better control over the medium we use to develop better and better applications and documents.

    I want better web standards, not better plugins.

  145. 282

    Seems to me a lot of people keep hacking at Flash, specifically having to do with the web. Flash is being used for other things off the web. Am I wrong or can HTML5 & CSS3 with Javascript be used to create independent applications other than web apps? Flash is used for a number of things outside of the web. So, even if it was no longer used for the web, it is still used for other things: games, training, animated cartoons. I somehow think that Sponge Bob will not be created in HTML5 anytime soon.

    I personally love to use the visual aspect of Flash. Although I can code as well as anybody, I still love being able to build my artwork and see the timeline in the application. Using code means visual people to have to reduce artwork to 1’s and 0’s. And let’s face it. Visual people are way better at designing user experience than programming geeks. Drawing with code is kind of a pain.

  146. 283

    Peter Strømberg

    September 28, 2011 8:21 am

    Wow, this one still draws more attention than any technical blog entry.
    Here’s my two cents…

    I was following you up until “All browsers being compatible and standards-based;”
    There you have the reason why flash will continue to be widespread on the net. Not all browsers, and underlying codecs etc. will ever be fully compatible with each other, unless there’s only one vendor. This is the loop hole that means Flash will continue on the web, because who has the resources to ensure their “standards based” application/website actually runs on the ever increasing number of platforms/browsers/devices it has to?

    And the other thing, not a new point, but always worth remembering. If you didn’t like Flash ads, you are just gonna hate html5. The difference? You can’t turn off of block HTML5.

  147. 284

    I started with Flash4 when it was produced by Macromedia. Often people ignore the first and most important rule of flash.


    This rule was true then and it still is now. It kills me when so called “professionals” choose the wrong tool for the job.

    I would also like to point out that the mobile browsing experience is still a relatively new thing and people seem to be acting like the popularity of the iOS devices direct the movement of the “web” industry. This could not be further from the truth.


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