Flash, HTML5, Unity, 3D, open standards, the web and why it all sucks

Posted on January 6, 2010


HTML (and the three reasons it sucks and is NOT an open standard)

HTML is claimed to be an open standard by many. This is only true when you completely discard the rendering engine it requires to present it’s style and content. Each browser on the market is a closed environment. As a HTML developer, you are dependent on the following:

  1. The “standard” is Browser-specific. Yes: there is no standard, as every provider of a browser wields their own agenda regarding what is “important” or not and WWW consortium committees take years to decide what will be implemented next. What we are left with is a crippled representation of something that could have been totally awesome by now if everyone had taken there heads out of their asses and worked together: single page browsing, 3D, streaming video without Flash and all kinds of animations and filters rendered directly via the GPU (the set of chips in your graphical card).
  2. Slow and fragmented releases of the latest shit by each and every vendor. So: “Yay!” “Google Chrome” implements the new shit that allows you to blow everyone’s mind. Unfortunately 99.8% of this world is still 0.3.5 versions behind, 85% uses something else and the target audience of your client will only pick up 3 years from now: when they buy a new computer.
  3. Browser updates by the user. Most browsers self-update. But the user is still required to take action. Users who refuse for whatever reason will stay behind. (See also point 2).

I love HTML. I ditched anything else in 1998 to build entire applications in it due to it’s marvelous potential together with CSS and JavaScript. But in the end, 12 years later, it still sucks big time when you are a developer.

Flash (and the three reasons why it still sucks)

Flash is becoming better and better, but with the speed of a snail. If you always wanted to know why Flash has not gained World Domination on “Rich Internet Application”, here are the three main reasons why it sucks:

  1. Rendering-speed of content is below-standard. Forget about large scale 3D. Forget about zooming in to images. Forget about ten-thousands of particles mixed with graphics to imitate snow, dust storms or other neat stuff. Forget rotating one thing and zooming another thing at the same time. It is SLOW!
  2. All Flash visual rendering eats your CPU time from ALL your other applications. Even a simple banner can choke your machine when the maker forgot about optimization.
  3. Flash eats your memory like a hungry bitch. A simple Flash site will easily gobble 100 MB of your RAM. When you move to more serious shit, 500 MB is the avarage. If you do not watch out, 1GB is easily reached. If you do not have rigorous strategies for recycling or object destruction, it will kill your browser. Imagine having 5 browser tabs open with Flash sites.

By the way: forget the untrue statement: “Flash is crap for SEO”. SEO has been possible since Macromedia introduced XML (and thus the possibility to generate XHTML sites with Flash as the render engine) in Flash 6, only nobody picked it up as most of us in the Flash Community were jerking off on making cool, design driven shit.

Forget: “Flash is not an open standard”. You do not need Flash to generate Flash movies. It is the fucking speed- and memory issues.


Something like 1 year ago, Unity hit the web. Coming from experienced people from the game development world, it kicked ass. There are other engines in the world, but Unity somehow has become the buzz. Unity succeeds in where Flash fails: using the GPU and other resources of your machine in a very optimal way.

However, Unity is mainly for game development now. It might (and possibly will) grow into a platform to create 2D/3D content driven websites, but that will take at least 2 to 3 years more unless it is a main issue for the developers. Unity offers unparallelled possibilities to publish your results to different platforms.

I do not have 3 educated reasons why Unity sucks yet, as I have not developed anything with it, but here are two guesses:

  1. All content is fixed / not as dynamic as HTML / no dynamic content loading
  2. No dynamic rendering engine for text / images based design


No fucking clue. They lack the developer-support that Flash does. I have hardly seen any sites, so I can not say anything about it.

Closing up: HTML5, 3D and Flash

“HTML5” is looking more and more promising in all it’s individual manifestations. To name a few: streaming video, faster JavaScript,  3D rendering via Canvas and rendering via the GPU, more possibilities in CSS regarding animations. 3D is becoming a serious thing on the web now.

Still, it will suffer much from the different implementations in all the different browsers. It might take years before <video/> is a reliable standard over all platforms. The same goes for the neat new CSS tricks.

More than with Silverlight 3.0 I feel and hope that the examples of real time 3D renderings via HTML in a customized webbrowser will make Adobe to wake up and do what they should have done a long time ago: make it a fast, lean and mean motherfucker of a plugin.

The “the web is the application” stuff with which parties like Google scares the shit out of almost all other software developers is still cripple shit. Like cutting meat with knives you made by chipping flints from rocks, while your neighbors next door have the latest shit regarding high tech diamond edged never get dull type of cutting tools.

Read my next blogpost to find out why the Web rocks! (It is all about distribution)

Posted in: Standards