A projection of the possible futures of Flash and HTML5

Posted on February 2, 2010

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In my blog posts about “why Flash / HTML / Unity3D sucks / rocks” I touched what I think is missing in each of them.

Here is a projection of possible scenarios regarding Flash and HTML5

1: Flash will die

When Adobe gives up on developing Flash and kills all possibilities for other parties to continue the development of Flash outside of Adobe, Flash will very likely die.

2: HTML5 will get stuck in the same problems HTML4.0 did

When the different browser vendors repeat the mistakes Microsoft and Netscape made, it will become a mess producing a lot of extra work for coders and breaking the development the web can make with HTML.

3: Adobe Flash will buy knowledge regarding hardware acceleration and move to the next level

There are several people in this world with extensive knowledge of how to use the maximum possibilities out of existing hardware to render 2D and 3D content fast on different platforms. Unity / Unity3D is one of the examples of that.

It will introduce a new boost for Flash content (taken that they also deliver on memory management) as we can use the full potential of the machine instead of having to cut down our projects as Flash simply can not handle it now.

4: The browser vendors will ignore the W3C

It is hard to say who is “to blame” for the 10 years of non-development in HTML. Right now, the changes seem to come (again) from the vendors themselves. Apple apparently has a very clear outlook for Webkit (Canvas, faster JavaScript, access to 3D) and so does Google with Google Chrome. My guess is that they will not wait for a committee to come with a proposal that pleases everyone.

5: The “open web” dies.
Google Chrome and Apple Webkit will become separate proprietary branches

Like Netscape and Microsoft, Google and Apple have their own agenda. This can mean that developing stuff “for the browser” will be “developing stuff for Apple devices” and “developing stuff for Google devices” using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. When you have specific interests (see where Apple apparently is going to) you might want to exclude others from riding that gravy train and for developers nothing much will change.

This will happen when patents for new stuff in the browser are closed for others to use free / without cost.

6: All browser vendors include the development of all other browser vendors

Now when/if the “open standards” ideal is going to be fulfilled, each browser vendor will be allowed to take the standards from the other. OpenGL 3D acceleration for Google Chrome will work the same as for Webkit, Opera and Mozilla browsers.

This will only work when the patents on these technologies are made open for anyone and remain open and each vendor will support the idea of sharing working together “to make a better web”. The most recent Open Web Foundation however is just another branch in a slowly growing list of promoters for web- and open standards who seem to disagree on some points with the W3C and the IETF

7: The difference between Flash and HTML5 will disappear

In the end, it is all about rendering content to the screen and interacting with the user. The reason Flash exists until today ans one of the web standards is that it allows developers to do stuff CURRENTLY not possible in HTML.

The reason I emphasize “currently” is that design follows need. When set free, HTML5 can develop the same rich set of features Flash has to offer and can even surpass Flash.

My name is Peter Kaptein. I develop stuff for the web and I wish you a good day.

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Posted in: Standards