Windows 8: Adobe sees Flash in the future of the Metro UI

Adobe sees Flash as playing a pivotal role in Windows for years to come.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

While Microsoft has said that Adoble Flash has no place in the Metro UI in Windows 8, Adobe has different ideas.

In a blog post by Danny Winokur over on the Flash Platform Blog, it's clear that Adobe sees Flash as playing a pivotal role in Windows for years to come.

We expect Windows desktop to be extremely popular for years to come (including Windows 8 desktop) and that it will support Flash just fine, including rich web based games and premium videos that require Flash. In addition, we expect Flash based apps will come to Metro via Adobe AIR, much the way they are on Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS today, including the recent number one paid app for the iPad on the Apple App Store, Machinarium, which is built using Flash tools and deployed on the Web using Flash Player and through app stores as a standalone app.

While nothing will change with respect to plug-in support for the classic Windows 8 desktop, Microsoft has decided to give plug-ins the shove with respect to the Internet Explorer 10 'Metro UI' browser. Instead, Microsoft is cutting legacy ties when it comes to Metro and pushing HTML5 over proprietary  plug-ins such s Flash.

The reasons given by Microsoft for dropping plug-in support in Metro is performance, efficiency and security - three points that make a lot of sense when it comes to tablets. But the Metro UI isn't confined to tablets. Microsoft is pushing the Metro as the default 'desktop' for all, and this means that 'default' support for technologies such as Flash are no longer present in Windows, and some people aren't happy.

In a comment on the Adobe Flash Platform Blog, John Page had this to say:

I have a math reference (http://www.mathopenref.com) site that is widely used in schools which has many animations that use Flash. They are the product of years of development work, but are now being orphaned along with countless other educational web sites.

It was bad enough that Apple banned Flash on the iPad, but we all thought that Microsoft would stick to their traditional positioning of never abandoning legacy applications until something new had completely replaced it. No such luck!

HTML5 is not an option in education yet. Roughly half of my customer base is still on Windows XP, and the IE that supports HTML5 will not run on those. Schools dont have the resources to upgrade all that hardware overnight.

So I am faced with switching to HTML5 and losing half my customers, or not run at all on the tablets. Even if I did switch, it would be a huge amount of work to rewrite the legacy applets for no real reason. They will look just as they do now and developemnt of new content would have to stop to free resources for the massive rewrite.

Microsoft has made a large error with this strategy, and Adobe does not seem to be offering much leadership in changing thier minds.

HTML5 may be the future, but Microsoft has always shown good manners in sustaining legacy applications (witness DOS). They blew it this time.

Microsoft is 'pulling an Apple' by thinking that it can yank the rug from beneath years of legacy and force a new way of working onto millions of developers. It's a big gamble.

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