You may have heard of Steve Jobs’ open letter to Adobe about the use of Flash on websites and to deliver video to PCs and mobile devices. To put it simply, Jobs thinks Flash’s days are numbered. In his own words, “Flash is the number one reason Macs crash.”
Micosoft quickly responded (the next day) in a blog post which isn’t quite as aggressive but nevertheless delivers the same message: HTML5 with H.264 video integration will be the next way to experience video on the web.
The blog, written by IE’s General Manager Dean Hachamovitch, describes an HTML5 environment in which video will be playable in any web browser which supports H.264.
Probably the harshest words came towards the end of the blog, when Microsoft finally mentions Flash’s name. While Flash delivers “a good consumer experience on today’s web,” the blog says, it has issues with “reliability, security, and performance.”
Those aren’t characteristics you want in a web application. Given the vulnerability of websites and PCs to hackers and spammers the last thing you want is to make access even easier.
However, Flash does deliver a great user experience (although often hindered by bandwidth) that HTML does not. And, Adobe’s Flex environment has taken Flash to a new level of scaleability, with one benefit being the ability to allow dataflow without having to refresh pages. And, in 2008, Adobe released Flex 3 SDK under the open source Mozilla Public License to developers, although Flash itself remains proprietary.