SO WHY DOES FLASH NEED DEFENDING? It’s time for a brief history lesson
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS HTML... And in 1993 it was mind blowing.
BROWSER WARSYou know back when Microsoft scared the crap out of everybody and all media played in plugins.
ZELDMAN BRINGS THE STANDARDS DOWNFROM THE MOUNTAINTOP Revenge of the tuque...
WHATWG V. XHTML 2.0 A revolution in the standards making process.
WEB ON YOUR PHONE... Not the kinda sorta web but the real web (Except for Flash).
STEVE SAYS,“WHO NEEDS FLASH? WE HAVE HTML5.” Lee gives him the middle-finger in response.
EVOLUTION STATISTICSBetween 1995 and 2001, Microsoft released six versions ofInternet Explorer.After 2001, the next major version was not released untilOctober 2007.Between 1995 and 2000, four major versions of the HTMLspec were released (including XHTML).After 1997, the next major version the HTML spec did notachieve draft status until January 2008.
MARKUP — HTML5It’s a formal draft and implemented (or will be shortly) by all of the major browser vendors. HTML5
STYLING—CSS3It’s fragmented. It’s proprietary, and implemented with browser prefixes. There might be a standard some day. HTML5
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT? Other than build web pages that is...cause I’ve been doing that like years and years. HTML5
BUILD BETTER WEB PAGESRun a web application without the webHave typography that sucks less.Provide user feedback and context with animation andtransitionsRender new graphics on-the-fly based on applicationstate HTML5
AND WATCH TELEVISION ON THE COMPUTER!!!True, you’ve been able to do that for a long time alreadyNow you can do it natively in the browser. We’re stillfighting about codec...H264 is looking strong and it’s free for a couple moreyearsGoogle-backed WebM and Ogg Theora might be patentunencumbered (but MPEG-LA doesn’t think so). HTML5
FLASH SUPPORT IN CURRENT BROWSERS INTERNET FIREFOX 3.6 CHROME 9 SAFARI 5 OPERA iOS 4.2.1 ANDROID 2.3EXPLORER 8 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✖ ✓
HTML5 SUPPORT* IN CURRENT BROWSERS INTERNET FIREFOX 3.6 CHROME 9 SAFARI 5 OPERA iOS 4.2.1 ANDROID 2.3EXPLORER 8 ✖ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ * EACH BROWSER’S SUPPORT OF HTML5 VARIES.
USAGE SHARE OF WEB BROWSERS AS OF JANUARY 2011 Internet Explorer (46%) Firefox (30.7%) Chrome (14.2%) Safari (5.9%) Opera (2%) Mobile (4%) SOURCE: HTTP://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/BROWSER_STATS
THE BOOGEY MENWhy do people hate flash... And there some peoplewho really hate it. I’m looking at you John Gruber. FLASH
5 COMMON COMPLAINTSIt causes browser crashesHigh resource useProperietaryVector for security exploitsVector for annoying banner ads FLASH
BROWSER CRASHESFlash rarely arbitrarily crashes the browserPrograms running in the Flash player crashCommon Cause 1: Unhandled errors or exceptionsCommon Cause 2: Memory leaks FLASH
HIGH RESOURCE USERendering graphics on the cpu is expensiveRendering video on the cpu is expensivePrior to 10.1 Flash did a bad job releasing resources whennot active (e.g. hidden tabs)Standards have changed. Flash started on computers lesspowerful than my phone. But targeted fps in those days12. Now people are aiming at 30 or better. FLASH
PROPRIETARYThe spec for swf is published.ActionScript 3.0 is ECMA script (and an ISO standard)Flex (and the Flex SDK) is open sourceAlternate compilers exist (but they’re small projects)However, the format probably doesn’t pass the 25 yeartest FLASH
VECTOR FOR SECURITY EXPLOITSWhich is to say “another vector for security exploits”, thebrowser is already vector for security exploits.Policy-wise Macromedia/Adobe has tended to beconservative in swf security restrictions (e.g. no keyboardin full screen, cross domain white-listing, very limited filesystem access).However, turning on Flash does make the browser lesssecure. Hack this box competitions save it for later days. FLASH
VECTOR FOR BANNER ADSAds are not going awayDespite Apple’s affinity for the use of the word “magic”changing runtimes does not make banner ads better.Making banner ads immune to Flash blocker extensionsdoes make banner ads less annoying. FLASH
WHAT HAS FLASH BEENCOMMONLY USED FOR? And does HTML 5 do it better or worse?
COMMON USES FOR FLASHPlaying videoVector/Image rendering in the browserImproving type quality in dynamic designsAnimationsApplication development (e.g. complex visualizations anddata manipulation tools).
HTML5 VIDEO VS. FLASH VIDEOHTML5 is a progressive download standard, but it acts likea stream in some browsersHTML5 often uses the GPU for playbackNo stream or connection-level authenticationRequires multiple encoding formatsNo full screen video
VECTOR/IMAGE RENDERINGThere is a lot of talk about video playback or anecdotes about fans when talking about Flash. But how does raw rendering compare?
TYPOGRAPHYThe sooner we can get rid of sIFR, the better.Foundries are getting on board slowly.Type still sucks.Until you see hanging punctuation, decent hyphenationand justification, and ligatures, you’re browser’s typesucks.