Flash vs. HTML5: Stop the drama!

I thought I’d post a few resources for anyone out there still confused about the Flash vs. HTML5 battle. A  number of people are still wondering about the fate of Flash or whether Adobe is for or against HTML5.  Hopefully some of the following resources will help clear the air.

Adobe loves HTML5

Adobe is very excited about HTLM5.  Yes, I said very excited.  At Adobe MAX this year, they spent a lot of time demonstrating their support for HTML5.  Some of the features included:

  • HTML5 Pack for Illustrator CS5
  • HTML5 Pack for Dreamweaver CS5 (run your updater to get this one)
  • Contributing to Webkit and supporting JQuery/JQuery Mobile

JavaScript is the engine under the hood

Would you believe me if I told you I can convert your website to HTML5 in a matter of seconds? All I need to do is replace the DOCTYPE of every page with this:

<!DOCTYPE html>

That’s it.  You now have an HTML5 website.  Obviously this isn’t adding any functionality.  That’s because HTML5 is nothing more than the next version of HTML.  You can’t detect for HTML5. What you can detect is whether the user supports the <video> tag or the <canvas> tag.  Some browsers have full support for HTML5, other browsers have partial.  Check out this site for details.

In the end, the <canvas> tag isn’t all the useful unless you write JavaScript.  So JavaScript is the real “Flash killer”, not HTML5.

Which one wins? Both.

HTML5 isn’t ready yet.  It won’t be until Summer 2011 that Internet Explorer will have full support so we can’t really consider it mainstream at least until then.  Once it’s ready, it’s up to developers to choose the right tool.  In a lot of cases, it will be a combination of Flash, JavaScript, and HTML5 that will create the best user experience.  If you want clarity, check out Lee Brimelow’s session from Adobe MAX:

Flash, Flex, HTML5: Ouch My Head Hurts!

He does a great job looking at why this is an issue, when to use both technologies, and what the future may hold.

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