In the wake of Adobe ending development of Flash for mobile devices, the launch pad has been cleared for HTML 5 to take off and change the web forever. HTML 5, the fifth incarnation of the hypertext markup language used to drive websites, allows web developers to create “app-like” experiences that work in most modern browsers without any plugins.
In the past, websites that wanted media-rich interactive content had to rely upon Adobe’s Flash or other browser add-ons. The technology was developed for desktop computers, and in April of 2011 Steve Jobs famously penned an essay condemning the use of Flash on mobile devices, and popular Apple mobile products like the iPad and iPhone have continued to eschew Flash.
Adobe made great strides with the mobile version of Flash
Player, and modern dual-core smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S II provide
excellent Flash experience for mobile web-surfing. Unfortunately for Adobe, the
popularity of iOS products meant they had to find a way to support those
platforms, or risk losing developers who want to create cross-platform content.
HTML 5 was the solution – it will work on any device with a modern browser. As a result, Adobe built HTML 5 support into its content creation software. While yhis means that Adobe developers can now export apps and interactive websites to all mobile platforms, it also meant that the money Adobe invested into mobile Flash was redundant, as Android and Blackberry handsets support HTML 5 just as effectively as they do Flash.
It’s important to note that HTML 5 standard isn’t finished yet. It has been under development since 2004, but the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has yet to finalize it, and it’s thought that HTML 5 won’t see it’s official incarnation until 2012. Despite its unfinished status, HTML 5 has seen widespread adoption across the web. A recent survey reported in The Wall Street Journal shows that 34 of the top 100 most popular websites use HTML 5.
It’s likely that the average user won’t even realize there’s
a difference between HTML 5 and Flash – and that’s exactly how developers want
it. The point is to make interactive experiences on the web that will rival
what is seen in apps. End users just want good content; they don’t really care
how it’s delivered to them.
Now that Adobe has committed to HTML 5, we will probably see an acceleration of their efforts to promote HTML 5 creation tools, which can only aid the forward march of HTML 5 as it transforms the web as we know it.