August 05, 2013

HTML5: Is it Finally Time to Write Flash’s Obit?

The coming integration of HTML5 holds no greater promise for Web surfers than easy, plug-in free integration of video and media, usurping other popular technologies like Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. The question remains for Web developers and app programmers, though: When is the right time to switch?

That time may be drawing nearer as Netflix announced last month it is ditching Silverlight, and its new HTML5-based site is already on its way. While Netflix’s decision is likely based on HTML5’s implementation of digital rights management (DRM), it seems the great migration to HTML5 is already underway.

It was back in 2010 that Steve Jobs (News Alert) dismissed Adobe’s Flash plug-in, refusing to integrate it into Apple’s mobile devices, especially the highly popular iPhone. Apple went so far as to prohibit the use of Flash in Apple’s (News Alert) terms-of-service agreement for app developers. 

Image via Shutterstock

Jobs wrote on Apple’s website after users complained, explaining his decision: “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Not unlike the moment Apple didn’t put a floppy drive in its iMac, Jobs’ words proved to be prophetic. Although mobile users have complained about the awkward transition between plug-ins and HTML5, the time is drawing nearer where this bump on the Internet highway will be another memory, just like the Mosaic browser and AOL’s “You’ve Got Mail” greeting.

The biggest change is yet to come, and the company to watch is YouTube (NewsAlert). Once the video-sharing giant goes HTML5, there will be no reason for Web developers and app programmers to delay any longer.

HTML5 is currently a candidate recommendation with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C (NewsAlert)). Once endorsed, it is expected ease the ability to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the Web without having to resort to proprietary plug-ins and APIs.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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