regarding the future of Flash

In April 2010, Steve Jobs wrote a lengthy blog hitting against Flash (link), in which he announced that Apple would not support it in its mobile devices and claimed that it is insecure, energy-hungry and causes Macs to crash. While there may be some truth to that, many claim that the real reason behind this decision was business oriented – especially the 30% commission that is paid to Apple for applications written in its native system. This situation seemingly brought the ‘death’ of Flash for future mobile applications before there is something new and reliable to replace it.

I decided to do some research to understand what the situation is right now and what is expected in the near future. A blog in PC Pro magazine (link), posted just two months ago, provided me with interesting insight on the matter and made me realise that things aren’t as ‘black and white’ as I thought.

Some selected bits from that article:

“The fundamental shift from Flash to HTML5 in the browser is unavoidable, and now even Adobe is fully and clearly on board. However while “doing Flash in HTML5” sounds simple and desirable, that doesn’t mean it is./..to produce rich Flash-style results you’re going to need a dedicated Flash-style tool for design and output. And the most likely provider will be Adobe. No doubt the next version of Dreamweaver will add canvas tag capabilities while for more complex scenarios you will be able to use the all-new, dedicated, HTML5-native Adobe Edge.

Alternatively, Adobe has made it clear that it plans to graft HTML5 output onto its existing Flash tools whenever that’s possible, so why not stick with what you know?

Most commentators are assuming that Adobe is effectively throwing in the towel when it comes to Flash for the mobile market, but again this is a mistake. Yes the Flash player has been ruled out, but, as I discuss in my current RWC column in the January edition of PC Pro, the Flash tools remain as relevant as ever.

..In particular it’s important to note that Adobe’s recent announcement says: ‘Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores’. Which makes it pretty clear that Adobe is planning to build on its existing Android and iOS native output with new support for Metro.

..It turns out (again) that the rumours of the death of Flash are greatly exaggerated in both the desktop and mobile arenas. In fact the technology and platform is arguably healthier and more relevant than it has ever been, just in the new guise of AIR.

..universal HTML5, native code and Flash in between.”

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