Flash and Silverlight replaced by HTML 5? Not quite yet

I have had some interesting discussions over the last few months about HTML 5, Flash, and Silverlight. Flash technology has become a catalyst mobile platforms to use against Apple to get market share.

Here are the facts about Flash:

  1. Flash eats up a lot of system resources, and has gotten worse over the last 5 years.
  2. Though I am not a Mac user, apparently Flash is a nightmare on a Mac.
  3. Mobile devices that run Flash, do so primarily through bruit force thanks to the processing power of today’s latest mobile devices.
  4. Flash support for mobile features will only get better as phones get faster and Adobe invests the resource to keep Flash alive and kicking.
  5. Mobile devices will only get more powerful as vendors battle for market share which is good for Flash.

Flash is widely adopted thanks to video and vector motion graphics which HTML 5 will ultimately replace on the web.. This I have no doubt. I think people are underestimating the time that this will take primarily because the HTML 5 standard is still under development. Media and PR hype machines give visibility and escalate the importance of HTML 5 because it is the only open standard that all major software vendors agree on as the future of the web and how consumers will interact with it. It does not however speed up the process where HTML 5 reigns supreme and Flash dies, which is what I read and hear people regurgitate on a weekly basis. The stakes are higher than ever so all vendors with major skin in the game are fighting to ensure their technology is relevant. For Adobe, Flash is their only proprietary stake in the web Adobe will need to improve Flash.

As a technologist and software vendor I am left scratching my head because I have yet to see any indication how vendors will replace Flash in the areas of BI when it comes to rich internet applications and dashboards. A growing trend that I see is duplicate efforts to re-purpose Flash content as other on-device friendly formats. My feeling is that specialized applications like Xcelsius, which are widely accepted in the enterprise will continue to thrive, though as time moves forward if Flash does completely die on the internet it will be perceived as “old technology”. For now, we still continue to use Flash when it is the best possible tool for the job but it is important for any software developer or vendor to consider what the mobile implications are for building content in Flash will be.

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