Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

Summary: It's official, Adobe is putting its future mobile video efforts behind HTML5. So, do you really think that desktop Flash will survive for long?


Good-bye Adobe Flash. It was nice to have known you.

Good-bye Adobe Flash. It was nice to have known you.

Adobe's love affair with its Flash format has come to an end. Oh sure, Adobe said they were just killing development on mobile browser Flash in favor of HTML5, but seriously, do you think, that they'll keep working on Flash on the desktop for much longer? If you do, I have a nice, lightly-used bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. No, the end of Flash is in sight and HTML5 is now the one true future for Internet video.

In Adobe's official announcement, Danny Winokur, Adobe's VP and general manager of interactive development, wrote, "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers."

Notice the second company there? Apple. With this move, Adobe has conceded that Flash was never going to make it to iPads or iPhones. Now, Adobe developers and independent software vendors (ISV)s can work on delivering the goods for Apple's family of devices.

Of course, Adobe isn't just saying forget about Flash. Adobe wants to bring all the Flash goodness it can to HTML5.

In speaking about the desktop, Winokur said, "We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible, just as we have done with CSS Shaders. And, we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged."

The writing is on the wall. While Adobe programmers will be able to use their same Adobe software development tools, the end-product is clearly going to be HTML5 video. Flash is now a legacy format.

Silverlight? Microsoft's one time rival to Flash? It's toast. Even before this news, it wasn't a sure thing we'd even see another version of Silverlight. The day of non-standard video formats seems to be coming to and end.

This won't mean the end of the Web video wars. HTML5 currently supports no fewer than three formats for its video element. These are Ogg files with the Theora video codec and Vorbis audio codec; MPEG4 files with the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec; and Google's WebM files with VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec. So, we can expect video format battles to continue. But, it does mean that HTML5's video chief rival, Adobe Flash, is throwing in the towel.

By this time next year, I expect Adobe will have announced that, except for legacy support, all Flash development will have come to an end.

Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

Related Stories:

Exclusive: Adobe ceases development on mobile browser Flash, refocuses efforts on HTML5 (UPDATED)

Killing Flash for mobile is best thing for Android

Adobe cuts 750 jobs; reaffirms Q4 revenue target

Will there be a Silverlight 6 (and does it matter)?

Native apps could be temporary option until HTML5 improves, panel says

Topics: Software Development, Enterprise Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

    HTML5 is not ready until 2014-2015 so there is no reasons to claim Flash is dead.

    Microsoft is trying to push own technologies for that purpose so it is more and more important that developers focus to HTML5 and site designers takes HTML5 in use when it is ready.

    It is clear that on mobile devices flash (and silverlight) is terrible choice for customer for content.
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      >>Microsoft is trying to push own technologies for that purpose
      What own technologies? please be specific. Last time when I checked Microsoft is also pushing HTML5. HTML 5 and JavaScript are first class languages on Windows Runtime in Win8 along with C# and VB.NET. We know you have issues with Microsoft, but learn the facts first and then comment.
      Ram U
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @Rama.NET Microsoft Silverlight is probably what @Fri13 is referring to.
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @Rama.NET - So nice to see Apple vindicated. Even nicer to see Microsoft flounder in yet another attempt to take over.
        The Danger is Microsoft
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      what are you talking about? Do you even know microsoft is holding free htlm5 workshops for the past few months? Are you even aware of the work they are doing with the jquery folks all of which is more than a minor thing in the mobile space? Microsoft likes to support a broad range of technology because they are smart enough to know they need to be in every technology that may become the successful one rather than just bet on one.
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @rengek You are correct ... Microsoft is directionless. They get into everything so that they can decide what the trends will be and see what they can copy or embrace/modify/proprietise. Remember what they did to Java back in the late nineties?
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      Does that mean Html5 is suddenly going to become horribly broken with gaping security flaws that need a new patch every month? Can't Adobe stick to Flash and just keep stuffing that up instead?
      Regards from
      Tom :)
      • Good One

        You made me laugh.
    • Here today

      @Fri13 we've already migrated our entire reporting platform to HTML5. Can't wait for IE support so using the chrome plugin for now.

      Chrome, Firefox and Safari HTML5 support extensive enough to support business line applications today.
      Richard Flude
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      @Fri13 "It is clear that on mobile devices flash (and silverlight) is terrible choice for customer for content."<br>That's the Jobs line, yeah. Where's the proof? Who has done testing? Sure as hell wasn't anyone with iOS devices because they can't run Flash, so there's no way for them to determine if Flash is or isn't good. And based on my own Android tests, HTML 5 apps take more processor time and battery life than Flash. Okay, not a scientific evaluation, but it's a whole lot more proof than the constant "Flash is a resource hog" nonsense which has absolutely no evidence behind it at all. You, like all mind-numbed Applites, just repeat this line like it's anything other than a statement. No fact, no proof, no evidence, no studies, no research, literally NOTHING to prove the statement correct or incorrect.<br>And no, sorry, Steve Jobs' rants don't count as evidence.
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @PatrickBay.ca Sounds like you need a diaper change! Thanks for challenging Fri13's lack of proof with your lack of proof. Very humorous!
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @PatrickBay.ca You're partially correct Patrick. Most people posting here do not understand what they are talking about and can't make the distinction between Flash Player and Flash nor Flash Player and Adobe Air. I am a Flash and HTML5 developer and know the code behind it and many of the limitations of HTML5. You can't honestly compare Flash and HTML5. For video and animation HTML5 is dwarfed by Flash. So for many HTML5 handles a lot of the mobile needs. But a replacement for Flash???? LOL. Not a chance. So this argument that Flash is dead is dead wrong and a stupid ignorant statement. Flash Player for mobiles? Yes that's dead. Flash for mobiles? Very much alive through Adobe Air.
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @PatrickBay.ca - I also have done testing and you're right: HTML5 can be as battery intensive or more so than Flash. And there's no comparison when it comes to animations. While HTML5 (or any HTML) is fine for mostly static business apps, I also doubt seriously that sites like Moshi Monsters are going to drop Flash anytime soon.<br><br>Looking at some of the responses to your post, it's plain to see that people who don't know what they're talking about, continue to resort to childish insults.
    • Steve Jobs was right again...

      @Fri13 <br>Steve Jobs always said that flash is not a good platform for mobile devices. This is what he said in Apr 2010:<br> <br> Flash was created during the PC era for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards all areas where Flash falls short.
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      @Fri13 HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. Flash is dead on mobile devices and the writing is on the wall for the rest of it.

    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      The entire purpose of this outrageous title is to drive traffic to this article. And the truth is, the conclusion is completely ridiculous.

      First of all, the only thing this Adobe announcement means, is the fact that they won't be updating flash player after version 11 only for mobile browsers, instead, Flash will be exporting content to HTML5 instead of swf! Plus, they are directly advertising Flash and Air as full fledged platforms for creating Apps for all mobile devices, including apple's iDevices, adding even another way of distributing flash content (an idea which Steve Jobs fought against very ferociously and resorted to imposing herculian laws to try and prevent that from happening)!

      Supporting more industry standard & open source platforms like HTML5 doesn't kill platforms, it only makes them stronger and more versatile!
      Flash isn't dead, and it won't be anytime soon.

      I'm not sure why the writer jumped to this ridiculous conclusion, I only see flash as getting stronger with this announcement, getting even more popular, and now that Flash supports Hardware Accelerated 3D and 2D graphics, I can see that they are targeting much bigger fish: Desktop, Mobile and Console Gaming (I'm not making this up, Adobe announced their full intentoion to compete in this field through the Flash platform). It might not happen in the next release, or the one after that, but there is no doubt this is where they have their sights set for the future of the platform!

      The writer seems to completely ignore that flash still has the the most advanced and most feature packed framework for desktop multimedia and browser based multimedia & interactivity development in use today. I used both technologies for years, and HTML5 is lagging behind Flash so much, there is no basis for comparison! HTML5 was touted for years as a replacement for Flash's video delivery platform, but as a replacement for developing full fledged interactive, animated, 3D & 2D hardware accelerated content?? Not likely, and not anytime soon either. No framework for HTML5 has been developed so far that can remotely match that of Flash's Animation and Design oriented Framework's capabilities.
      Most online games are programmed in actionscript 3.0, not to even mention the amount of desktop applications that are created on the platform!

      So, Flash is dead?? FAAAAR from it.
  • HTML5 = Back to boring, static web sites

    Without Flash, HTML5 proponents will find out how difficult producing a multimedia experience in hampered jQuery & CSS will truly be.

    HTML5 purists are mostly composed of basic programmers and Mac designers who never had the chops to code in Flash anyway.
    • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

      Flash chops? Now that is funny!
      • RE: Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

        @dhmccoy +1... Flash chops LOL. Now, this one made my day
      • It's ECMAScript with a class library. Save as JavaScript.

        What, you don't think that writing to a class library that doesn't behave the way it's documented requires "chops"? Collecting chops is the only way to achieve the Zen of Flash.
        Robert Hahn