Thursday, April 28, 2011

IPad - Heaven for HTML5? Hell for Flash? Both??

In April 2010, Apple issued IPad: an advancing version of IPhone and IPod.  That new  born 'baby' has been intended to supply a modified user experience mainly for its much larger screen.  At first glance it looks that the IPad might replace a laptop, but at a second glance the lack of support for Flash seems awkward.  

The cold war between Apple & Adobe is well known to every computing freak. Apple made sure already in 2007 that Flash had no place on IPhone.   Adobe tried to establish a cooperation for embedding Flash on IPhone, but Apple was reluctant due to 'mass cost of memory' of Flash and 'potential damage to user experience'.

But IPad is a different story - having a much stronger hardware intended for large screen applications, and basically there is no reason for flash not to be a part of it.    Flash nowadays is an integral part of almost every website and the chief video streaming model.   So the absence of it on IPad  is devastating  for the internet usage on IPad.  
Apple's motive to ban Flash from its products is quite obvious: Apple's main income comes from its application store (App Store), and letting Flash on, should reduce the business run at the application store.   But Apple faces a competition from Google's cell-phone operating system Android, which allows Flash, and also should take into consideration the vast impact of Video portals like Youtube.   So Apple's decision-makers have decided to solve the issue through a substitute to Flash called HTML5.

In recent years a new trend has been taking place in the software world: transition from desktop (installed on a local computer) software to web software (using a program on a website).   We all know how much Outlook has diminished and how much Gmail or Yahoo-Mail have grown in popularity throughout the last decade.  We all have heard about 'Cloud Computing' and its rapid growth.

The main scripting language of the internet world has been HTML.  But HTML fails nowadays in providing fast and reliable webpages due to the complexity of web services.  Because of this issue, several modification have been made in the traditional HTML for a better functioning.  The main example for that is Microsoft's modifications to HTML that have been relevant only on Internet Explorer.  

Microsoft's step has caused heavy losses for webmasters: other emerging browsers (i.e Firefox. Chrome) haven't implemented Microsoft 'new' HTML, so a necessity  of adapting the websites also for other browsers has been a burden on the webmasters' bank accounts.

The first firm to address the 'old' HTML problem was Macromedia, who issued the first generation of Flash, in order to enable a rich browsing environment.   Adobe got excited by the new miracle and purchased Macromedia in purpose of mass marketing Flash.  Microsoft 'got jealous' and issued its own  Rich Internet Applications (RIA)  platform Silverlight, which till nowadays hasn't achieved much international success.

Apple, much worried about the mess in the HTML world,  decided in 2007 to promote the new generation of HTML:  HTML5, in purpose of letting every browser run efficiently on IPhone and its    future generations.  Simply put, HTML5 lets the user give Flash/Silverlight up while still be able to run video/animation applications.  No doubt that Apple's push to  HTML5  has contributed to its success up to now.  Several top web portals have implemented HTML5 up to now, such as: The White-House, Gmail and CNN.  This step allows the use of the mentioned portal through Apple's smart phones.

Much depends on IPad success concerning HTML5: if the new smart-phone succeeds significantly, most large websites will have to implement HTML5 in order to stay relevant to their audience. 

Should Adobe CEO fear for his career?  not yet: HTML5 is yet in development and hasn't been fully embedded in all the browsers.  this means, that some of the features of Flash aren't yet available in HTML5. But it's surely possible that HTML5 will take control of the web within 4-5 years. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.
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