Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I lead Design at a stealthy startup. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

But seriously, who gives a shit?

Blog entry // 05.08.2010 // 3:50 PM // 112 Comments

On the Android Flash demo at FlashCamp Seattle

Yesterday, I moderated a panel discussion on HTML5 and Flash at FlashCamp Seattle, a nice little event put together by the smart people at Universal Mind. It was a good time. For a web standards-oriented designer/developer like myself, it was cool to see how the other half lives and what drives them. There are a lot of good and talented people in the Flash community, and it was awesome to get to meet some of them. The panel went well, and I’d like to put together a blog entry on the conclusions the panelists were able to draw — but not today. Today, I want to talk about something else that happened at FlashCamp Seattle.

In the opening keynote, Ryan Stewart, a Flash Platform evangelist at Adobe, demoed Flash Player 10.1 running on his Nexus One phone. When I realized he was going to show it, I got excited — I’ve been wanting to see how well Flash really works on a phone for years.

Here’s what happened: On his Mac, Ryan pulled up a site called Eco Zoo. It is, seemingly, a pretty intense example of Flash development — full of 3D rendering, rich interactions, and cute little characters. Then, he pulled up the same thing on his Nexus One. The site’s progress bar filled in and the 3D world appeared for a few seconds before the browser crashed. Ryan said (paraphrasing), “Whoops! Well, it’s beta, and this is an intense example — let’s try it again.” He tried it again and got the same result. So he said to the audience, “Well, this one isn’t going to work, but does anyone have a Flash site they’d like to see running?” Someone shouted out “Hulu.” Ryan said, “Hulu doesn’t work,” and then wrapped up his demo, telling people if they wanted to try more sites they could find him later and he’d let them play with his Nexus One.

At that point, I tweeted thusly:

Flash on Android demo crashes twice. Speaker says “What site would you like to see?” Someone says “Hulu.” Speaker says, “Hulu doesn’t work.”

I made no attempt at judgement or analysis — I simply reported what I’d seen, as best I knew how in 140 characters. Now, 24 hours later, that tweet has been retweeted 300+ times, appeared at the top of Reddit, and caused a lot of Twitter noise. So, I felt some responsibility to re-visit it, add a bit of context, and perhaps a bit of my own analysis.

Let me start by saying that I’ve long been aware of Ryan Stewart — he’s a fellow Seattleite, and we have several mutual friends. I finally got the chance to meet him yesterday, and he struck me as a smart and super-nice guy. I have no interest in throwing him personally under the bus for simply doing his job.

Since sending that tweet, several people have suggested to me that Hulu may be blocking mobile devices, such as the Nexus One, from viewing videos on their end — the fault for Hulu not working may not lie with Adobe and Flash. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I’ll bet it’s true, so that probably explains Ryan’s “Hulu doesn’t work” comment. On one hand, I wish he’d explained why it didn’t work in the session. But on the other, it’s not really going to matter why it doesn’t work to consumers, so maybe it shouldn’t matter to a room full of geeks, either.

Let’s all be very clear about something: Flash on Android is beta. It’s to be expected that it’s crashy and buggy at this stage. From my perspective, the fact that the Flash on Android beta crashes is not an issue. What may be an issue for Adobe, though, is the public perception that demoing an unfinished product could result in.

Adobe is already way behind in shipping a full Flash player that works well on mobile. The natives are getting restless, as they say. A demo that crashes on everything it tries is not an effective way to gain confidence that you, as a company, are getting close to a polished product. The bottom line is that those of us who attended FlashCamp got a demo of Flash running on an Android phone, indeed — and it wasn’t impressive. We never saw an example of a site that worked without crashing under this beta version of Android. So if I were Adobe, I may choose not to demo this thing until it’s really solid.

On the other hand, Adobe’s in a tough spot. Flash has been taking a (mostly undeserved) beating in the media recently, and I’m sure they feel like they have to show they’ve got something in order stem the tide. Like I said, the natives are getting restless.

Personally, I hope Adobe gets Flash working well on Android soon. Flash is still one of the greatest tools we as web developers have, and the idea that HTML5 can do everything that Flash can do and thus renders Flash irrelevant is completely inaccurate — patently absurd, in fact.

But with media sites (and yes, porn sites) developing HTML5 video solutions for mobile devices, Hulu and many game companies moving towards native platform apps, and Apple’s impending release of iAd, the question on my mind is: by the time Adobe has Flash working well on mobile, will anyone still care?

Update: Ryan Stewart has since produced a nice video showing the latest build of Flash Player 10.1 (which he tells me, via e-mail, is newer than the one shown at FlashCamp), again on his Nexus One, and it appears to run many sites’ Flash content, including the afore mentioned EcoZoo, just fine. I’ve embedded the video below. Looks sweet!

Comments

  1. 001 // Kevin Stewart // 05.08.2010 // 6:04 PM

    Hey Jeff,

    Good analysis! Some will say I’m biased because I work for Adobe and others will say I’m biased because I’m not known for being a Flash/AIR supporter…

    That said, I agree that we’re between a rock and a hard place. Steve Jobs says “Show me Flash running well on a mobile device.” Well, between the YouTube video showing the browser crashing while running Flash and this demo, we are essentially proving his point.

    At the same time, if we show NOTHING until it’s all spit and polished we allow time to pass and perceptions to cement.

    However, given the current public perception, showing a working demo of Flash Player 10.1 displaying content on an Android device would be my choice. It’s a shame that our first public showings of the technology have been, as you said, unimpressive.

  2. 002 // Andrew Hedges // 05.08.2010 // 6:27 PM

    Personally, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Adobe at the moment. I’ve never been much of a fan of Flash, mainly because it pegs my (Mac) CPU near 100% whenever it’s running. If it does that to my Core 2 Duo, it’s hard to imagine it running at all acceptably on the current generation of mobile devices.

    I met Ryan at Web09 in Auckland. You’re right, super nice guy. Too bad he has to be associated with this botched demo. Still, the sooner we get past plug-ins and have the tools to do things natively in the browser (with canvas, WebGL, etc.) the better.

  3. 003 // Khoi Vinh // 05.09.2010 // 2:49 AM

    It’s interesting how so much of the third party writing about Flash these days seems to fall into two camps: those who vociferously, passionately and usually rudely oppose its very existence, and those who go out of their way to be polite, to seem even-handed and fair about the current state of the platform.

    This write-up here strikes me as being of the second sort: Jeff, you commendably bend over backwards to give Adobe and Flash a fair shake. I prefer this sort of discourse by far, but when the argument comes so consistently in just these two flavors, it’s hard to deny the fact that there’s something deeply wrong with the subject of all this debate. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, as they say.

  4. 004 // David Chu // 05.09.2010 // 11:41 AM

    Adobe is in a difficult spot. They’re digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

    Wasn’t it just last week that ARM released a report saying that Flash support on their chips was running into delays? I don’t know how they are going to climb themselves out of this one. I just don’t think Flash will ever work well on mobile device. I’m not a programmer, but I look at Flash as a really flexible tool that has become very complex and bloated. That just doesn’t fit well in a mobile environment where simplicity and efficiency are key.

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    Either way, Adobe will continue to thrive. I still think they’ve got the best suite of products for professional designers. I don’t think I could live without indesign and illustrator.

  5. 005 // Joseph Matt // 05.09.2010 // 11:43 AM

    @Khoi

    I thing there is another one, from some at the Adobe camp and those in the tent, that support and oppose any negative discussion of Flash, just as passionate as the opposers. Usually this is in response to Apple, as they are the main dissents at the time.

  6. 006 // David Chu // 05.09.2010 // 11:45 AM

    Adobe is in a difficult spot. They’re digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

    Wasn’t it just last week that ARM released a report saying that Flash support on their chips was running into delays? I don’t know how they are going to climb themselves out of this one. I just don’t think Flash will ever work well on mobile device. I’m not a programmer, but I look at Flash as a really flexible tool that has become very complex and bloated. That just doesn’t fit well in a mobile environment where simplicity and efficiency are key.

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    Either way, Adobe will continue to thrive. I still think they’ve got the best suite of products for professional designers. I don’t think I could live without indesign and illustrator.

  7. 007 // addicted // 05.09.2010 // 11:57 AM

    I have to question the idea of demoing a Beta product. I also don’t understand what they were thinking when they did not test whether Eco Zoo actually worked or not in advance. Might have been better/more useful to simply demo a restaurant website (maybe with a side demo of the iPhone showing you a blue lego-brick when you are trying to pull up the reservation number for a restaurant). That will be the greatest usage of Flash on phones at this point, and probably would be handled weel even by the Beta.

    I have a minor quibble with you though. Flash has NOT received a thrashing in the media. In fact, the media (especially the Tech media) has been extremely supportive of Flash, and critical of Apple’s stance. In fact, even the open source advocates have started supporting Adobe’s stance (Apple hatred makes strange bedfellows). All the criticism has come largely from one direction, Apple. Unfortunately for Adobe, it is resounding heavily with most mac and Linux users who have got the step-child treatment from Adobe for years. More unfortunately for Adobe, despite all their bluster, they don’t yet have a response to Apple’s critique (and havent been able to develop one for 3 years, an eternity in tech circles), which probably forced their hand to demo unfinished products, and curiously, digging their hole even deeper.

  8. 008 // rd // 05.09.2010 // 12:04 PM

    if flash is working as Adobe says then it should have shown Farmville.

    I can’t believe that any self respecting engineer would not be able to fool hulu into running on mobile by spoofing the desktop browser. What is the point of asking audience member what sites to visit.
    You are suppose to rehearse what you show in a speech.

    Total Fail.

  9. 009 // Mike Wilkie // 05.09.2010 // 12:15 PM

    Like any other platform, Flash’s future depends on developers. The fact is that for years now, the web development community has been focused on standards-based development. Think about the most well-repected web developers whose blogs you read and whose presentations you can’t wait to see at trade shows. How many of them are talking about Flash? My point is that Flash was on its way out long before this mobile Flash debacle came to light. Even if Flash worked perfectly on Android that still leaves 100 million iPhone, iPod, and iPad users out to dry. These users tend to be the some of the most savvy, active people on the web. As a business, would you put your web presence in the hands of a platform that’s inaccessable to 100 million users, many of whom are extremely influential? No. Adobe should join the rest of the community in transitioning itself away from Flash and towards the clearly superior emerging standards.

  10. 010 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 12:18 PM

    The fact is that for years now, the web development community has been focused on standards-based development. Think about the most well-repected web developers whose blogs you read and whose presentations you can’t wait to see at trade shows. How many of them are talking about Flash?

    I have to step in here to point out that this is inaccurate. Flash has it’s trade shows and conferences, too. It has its rockstars that everyone in the community looks to for inspiration. The Flash community is every bit as active an vibrant as the web standards community, and the idea that the “web development community has been focused on standards-based development” for years is false. The web standards community has been focused on standards-based development, and if that’s the community you’re part of, you may not be aware that there’s a whole other world out there. But the fact that you’re not aware of it doesn’t mean it’s doesn’t exist. I assure you, it does.

  11. 011 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 12:21 PM

    Adobe should join the rest of the community in transitioning itself away from Flash and towards the clearly superior emerging standards.

    While I’m at it, I’ll say that I think this is a biased, loaded statement, as well. To call the emerging standards “clearly superior” is to ignore the fact that there are a lot of things that Flash does that web standards has no answer to — even with HTML5. Like I said, I moderated a panel on this very topic, and I will post on it in the coming days. For now, please know that the standardista’s mantra that HTML5 and related standards somehow provides a standards-based answer to everything that Flash does is patently false.

  12. 012 // Se7en // 05.09.2010 // 12:22 PM

    I am pretty sure the Hulu thing is in fact that Hulu is blocked on any device except a desktop computer/notebook…i.e. they aren’t allowing it on mobile devices, AppleTV type boxes, etc.

    Sadly though, that gives one less reason to need Flash on mobile devices.

  13. 013 // Mike Wilkie // 05.09.2010 // 12:24 PM

    The Flash community does exist, no doubt. But the Flash community has grown increasingly isolated and irrelevent to the web development community as a whole.

  14. 014 // Dear Developer // 05.09.2010 // 12:32 PM

    I have three question that I hope someone can answer for me. So it seems (to me, at least) like a snowball effect is happening where every day I hear news of this or that company is either switching or adding HTML5 support to their website.

    Question 1) If this scenario is really happening, will web interfaces start getting uglier (aesthetically) and clunkier (functionally)? Because Flash produces really nice websites.

    Question 2) Flash designers are really smart and talented, but will it be difficult for them to learn how to take a Flash site and make a compatible/comparable HTML5 site?

    Question 3) If they can, and it becomes the “in” thing for companies to start adding HTML5 support, will Flash designers that learn this new trade be in the new gold rush? Or will it be a waste of their time to learn it?

    Thanks a bunch.

  15. 015 // David Bennett // 05.09.2010 // 12:37 PM

    We use Flash for greetings on our products, so the current HTML5, Flash, Gianduia debate affects us.

    That said, I have a technical question.

    Cacn Hulu actually block a site based on its OS? I mean, is there a way for a site such as Hulu to go through the process of recognizing the OS of the device that is visiting its site, and then block it?

  16. 016 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 12:39 PM
    1. Flash doesn’t “produce really nice websites” — good designers and developers do. Really nice websites can be created using a whole bunch of different technologies — Flash is only one of them.

    2. Some Flash developers are smart and talented — some aren’t. The good ones would certainly have no trouble learning to produce their content using other technologies.

    3. Good developers who are proficient in the tools of the day will continue to be in demand, just as they always have.

    I think you’re making the mistake of thinking Flash is some kind of silver bullet to good websites — it’s not. And before any of the standards gurus say it’s actually a silver bullet to bad websites — it’s not that, either. Flash is just a tool. So is HTML5.

    Tools do not make the designer.

  17. 017 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 12:39 PM

    Cacn Hulu actually block a site based on its OS? I mean, is there a way for a site such as Hulu to go through the process of recognizing the OS of the device that is visiting its site, and then block it?

    Of course.

  18. 018 // Nash Lore // 05.09.2010 // 12:41 PM

    That one company is having 100% control over at product like Flash on the web, is dangerous. The web is supposed to be open, not closed or controlled, nor anything in between.

  19. 019 // Marc // 05.09.2010 // 12:44 PM

    I don’t have a problem with your defense of Flash as being a viable tool and being able to do things HTML5 cannot. I do have a problem with sites that use Flash when there are working alternatives. I am speaking as a consumer (though I do web design, it is just for my sites): I personally avoid Flash websites. If a site only has Flash, they lose my business. That simple.

  20. 020 // Samuel Herschbein // 05.09.2010 // 12:52 PM

    As a Mac user, I understand the fustration with Adobe. Creative Suite apps like Acrobat have been missing features on the Mac for years. Yet the professionals who use CS generally use Macs. Adobe got where it is because of the capabilities of the Mac platform.

    I support a lot of Mac users, Flash is a problem. It crashes more than it should and it eats CPU. Every day someone complains about a web site that won’t work, it’s always either Flash or Microsoft ActiveX. The concept of Flash isn’t the issue, and for me the propriety isn’t either. Robustness and use of resources are the issues.

    Abode has also decided to develop their own GUI style. Installers, et al. on the Mac do not look like Mac applications. Way to often the text is too small, unsmoothed, and in a bad font for screen display, this is inexcusable from the company that pioneered so much in typography.

    Adobe has faultered once too many times, the marketplace is speaking and telling them to either get in gear or be a has-been.

    Personally, I’m not buying CS5, IMHO it just isn’t worth the $600 upgrade. This is the first Adobe upgrade I’m not purchasing since Photoshop 3.

  21. 021 // Dear Developer // 05.09.2010 // 12:53 PM

    Thanks Jeff. That was really insightful.

    From your vantage point, do you think there’s going to be a gold rush to HTML5?

    Is it really worth it for a Flash developer to learn at this point?

  22. 022 // rick // 05.09.2010 // 1:04 PM

    There are several parts to this one..

    First, you have to know that demoing Flash on an Android phone will get attention, especially now, so anyone demoing Flash on an N1 to a bunch of web geeks might want to run through their demo to make sure things work. That’s good practice anyway, doubly so in this case. Nice guy or not, that’s just a basic demofail. The problem with the way this went is that it was billed as a beta demo and beta connotes some level of stability and advancement - it’s not usually a designation given to incomplete, very crashy builds. So, either this isn’t really beta quality code or the site he demoed just tripped something odd…. but we’re now left wondering.

    Second, never ever say “oh that doesn’t work on our product” without explaining. If it’s that Hulu is doing user agent detection and blocking the browser based on that, say that. Ideally, have an alternative (show an embedded video from NBC elsewhere, etc). “That doesn’t work” fails…. “that doesn’t work for reason X but let me show you something similar and talk about how the thing you want is something we will get to work while I do that” is fine.

    Third, yes, Jeff, there’s a lot that Flash can do that HTML5/CSS/JS doesn’t do right now - but there are also a lot of places where Flash is used and where there are standards-based solutions. For example, the headings at the Universal Mind site use Flash (via SiFR) - but they don’t have to, they could use Typekit or an @font-face based solution (or… an image!). Ditto on most video content which could be done via fallback coding that serves h.264 first, Flash as a fallback and on a lot of the slideshows and animations that we see people do. In other words, the domain where Flash is the only option is shrinking, not growing and it feels like the sites that make heavy use of more advanced Flash capabilities are fairly few and usually niche (design, ad agencies etc). I suspect Flash is used in many cases because it’s easier to author, not because of technical superiority.

    Lastly, it tickles me that Mike Wilkie’s site has a Flash animation on the front page.

  23. 023 // David O. // 05.09.2010 // 1:05 PM

    HTML5 can do everything that Flash can do and thus renders Flash irrelevant is completely inaccurate”

    Can you give examples ?

  24. 024 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 1:08 PM

    Is it really worth it for a Flash developer to learn at this point?

    I think it’s a mistake for anyone to consider themselves a “Flash developer.” It’s like a contractor saying he’s a “hammerist” or a “screwdriver tuner.” If you tie yourself to one tool, you’re bound to get bitten in the ass at some point. People tied to Flash are getting bitten right now because Apple has decided not to support it on the iPhone OS, which is really popular. But HTML5 developers could get bitten in the as just as easily, sometime down the road. That’s why it’s important to understand the craft of building web sites and applications, rather than being somehow who simply knows how to use a single tool or two.

    I suspect most “Flash developers” are really just “developers” who have been doing Flash a lot lately. They can probably easily migrate to other platforms, and having a diverse skill set is always a good idea. So yeah, I’d say it’s worth it.

  25. 025 // David Bennett // 05.09.2010 // 1:10 PM

    We use Flash for greetings on our products, so the current HTML5, Flash, Gianduia debate affects us.

    That said, I have a technical question.

    Cacn Hulu actually block a site based on its OS? I mean, is there a way for a site such as Hulu to go through the process of recognizing the OS of the device that is visiting its site, and then block it?

  26. 026 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 1:11 PM

    Can you give examples ?

    I’ll give a lot of examples when I write up the HTML5/Flash panel I moderated, but off the top of my head, here are few examples: cue points on video, DRM on video, webcam access, microphone access, multi-layer vector drawing, etc.

  27. 027 // ascended_master // 05.09.2010 // 1:12 PM
    1. Flash is still not present in the mobile space.

    2. I have been using my iPhone for nearly three years.

    3. Am I missing something?

  28. 028 // Ian Davies // 05.09.2010 // 1:15 PM

    I’m kind of surprised that only one other commenter has posed the very first question that popped into my head:

    What on earth was Adobe thinking demoing this without about half a dozen websites on hand that they knew would run respectably on the Nexus??

    Seriously. Isn’t it a presentation basic to be, you know, prepared? To have actually tried out the stuff you’re going to show people and check it actually works?]

    Jesus.

  29. 029 // Steve Moore // 05.09.2010 // 1:19 PM

    At the same time, if we show NOTHING until it’s all spit and polished we allow time to pass and perceptions to cement.”

    And if the perception was that Adobe was taking too long to bring Flash to mobile, and must be having a hard time, wouldn’t that be true? It’s worse, in my opinion, to confirm the speculation that Flash is struggling. Now not even the big Flash proponents can get behind the idea without some doubt.

  30. 030 // Walt French // 05.09.2010 // 1:24 PM

    Adobe’s challenge with the Nexus, which has more RAM and CPU speed than the vast majority of smartphones in use today, is nonetheless profound: Google has already deprecated the Nexus, steering users to the Incredible.

    In other words, Nexus lived an entire lifetime and died as the hot product before Adobe got Flash running. The ability to put Flash on a single smartphone seems out of Adobe’s reach, but the challenge is to show that they can do it fairly and expeditiously for all. Seems like a very tall order.

    If you’re Apple, and think that Adobe stood on your oxygen hose when you were nearly dead in the early years of Jobs Redux, would you give that type of control over capability to Adobe? For that matter, if it takes an entire product generation when Adobe is in the spotlight, what hopes would HP have for their replacement for the FrankenSlate? Can you imagine Hurd’s send-em-out-wowed final words, “…and this marvelous device, available today, might have Flash in version 2… or 3.”

    Adobe, as it currently chooses to manage its Flash business, makes itself the bottleneck, and tries to devlect blame to Apple. (Jobs is happy to step into the spotlight, even as the bad guy; I guess the only bad PR is NO publicity.)

    I can’t imagine any smartphone manufacturer allying with Adobe until Adobe shows that it is providing a dependable resource. Either deliver on 8-week turnaround for new devices, or take your engineers off the critical path. Strip the “Copyright (C) Adobe” from Flash, and publish a reference implementation that can be tested, adapted, even put into silicon if necessary.

  31. 031 // haleonearth // 05.09.2010 // 1:31 PM

    I’m at a loss as to why significant numbers of Flash developers aren’t angrier with Adobe for completely mismanaging the entire platform.

  32. 032 // Christiaan // 05.09.2010 // 1:32 PM

    What I would dearly love is for Adobe to create something similar to Flash but using CSS, HTML and Javascript. I would buy such software in a flash!

  33. 033 // Nathan DeGruchy // 05.09.2010 // 1:46 PM

    But HTML5 developers could get bitten in the as just as easily, sometime down the road.

    What.

    When would that be? 2050? When the technology has become so irrelevant by the emergence of several generations of newer technologies?

    Also: Please tell me why writing HTML5 is going to become such a point of contention to the point where a ‘developer’ would be “bitten in the ass” by it.

    There is no doubt that HTML5 and its related technologies are in their infancy. The ramp up has been a long time coming and the red-tape surrounding it has been monumental. Standards are painful to implement. It will get there, though.

    The demos that are coming out right now, however, are extremely promising and showcase advanced things that, until now, required Flash. The world is weening itself off of Flash as a plugin. In fact, it looks to me like we’re not going to need m/any plugins at all in the future.

    I am not going to hold out any hope that Flash is going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately. It’s too ingrained in the fabric of the web to just ‘go away’.

  34. 034 // Stacy Young // 05.09.2010 // 1:54 PM

    (disclosure: I work for Adobe!)

    I tried hitting hulu.com from my Nexus, ya, it says the site isn’t “enabled for my platform”.

    Overall the performance and stability has been great. (mostly youtube, facebook, daily show, colbert) I did happen to crash an earlier build a couple of times but that’s to be expected. I can’t say much for the speaker on the Nexus though, really “tinny”.

  35. 035 // jrk // 05.09.2010 // 2:10 PM

    web developers. tss. when will you guys recognize that it’s time to learn a real programming language and not some markup with a little scripting.

  36. 036 // Esko Saikkonen // 05.09.2010 // 2:15 PM

    If Adobe can some day get the Flash 10.1 to work on Nexus one, will it also work on the dozens of other Android Phones with different hardware and different versions of Android?

    Google is very fast to update Android with several major releases every year. How long will it take for Adobe to get their Flash player working in the new releases in all the diffrent hardware configurations?

    Adobe is also planning on making a Flash player for Android tablets, WebOs phones, Symbian phones, etc. Can a small company like Adobe really do that?

    When I refer to Adobe as small I mean their market cap, which is under 8 % of the market cap of Apple. Adobe has limited resources and they have bet the company on Flash. CS5 has no support for HTML5. That is hard to believe but true.

  37. 037 // David Dennis // 05.09.2010 // 2:20 PM

    Flash sites are a bit awkward for me because they are based on a fixed-size “stage” and I like to have all content filling my big screen.

    In addition, Samuel in his 12:52 pm post is perfectly right to say that Flash-based typography looks terrible - downright unreadable, in fact.

    The main problem with HTML5 in my experience is that people are still using Internet Explorer 6. Flash works fine on IE6 but it’s a huge struggle to make HTML5 sites compatible with it.

    It might be comforting for some Flash users to realize that the programming language used in Flash is ECMAScript, which is essentially the same as JavaScript. In fact, the syntax checking and debugging tools in Safari or Firefox are far superior to those in Flash (as I remember them, anyway).

    CSS compatibility among browsers is still a big pain, but it getting less bad as IE 6 and 7 slowly die.

    HTML5 is really going to explode in popularity once that happens.

    D

  38. 038 // Lock // 05.09.2010 // 2:38 PM

    Don’t miss that; Flash is not a video player. Adobe Air is also multi platform desktop application. Flash Lite is an embeded tech with lots of devices(New Nokia’s comes with FL4). Can we build desktop apps. with html5!(not a question). Have you ever see a complete 3d game on web with html5! If you ever try what happends! Is html5 handles all those sprites, textures etc…. Is Java stable on mobile devices!(it is stable at the spaceships, that’s true). Yes Flash is going to die one day like shockwave did. But do you remember DHTML or VRML? HTLM5 is an interesting tech like them. but still early to talk about HTML5’s success. Maybe you can create some nice transition with it, and some new ajax apps, thas all for now. I hope(really) Adobe is going to be success at the mobile devices. And also Eco Zoo is realy heavy app for mobile devices(even for HTML5) You can see the working demo of michael chaize here: http://www.vimeo.com/9596010

  39. 039 // David W. // 05.09.2010 // 3:21 PM

    My take on Flash is a bit different.

    Take a look at most of the Android and iPhone applications. Many of them are rewrites of a website app. For example, there’s a Yelp application. There’s a Hopstop application. There’s a Facebook app. There’s a bunch of Twitter apps. Each one of these are available and can easily be viewed for free on the various browsers that are built into the phones.

    Yet, people download the apps that really don’t do anything more than display the same data you could get from the webpage. Even more amazing is that many of these apps are paid apps. That is, people are paying money for something they could get for free by just using the webpage.

    These people know this, yet they still prefer these native apps. They like the platform constancy. They like the way they run. They feel better. They work better.

    So, what does this say about Flash on the mobile platform? How is the write once, execute anywhere nature of Flash any different than that write once, execute anywhere nature of these web-apps? Do people want Flash or AIR apps?

    This isn’t really a battle between HTML5 and Flash because in the end, people don’t want web apps, and they don’t want Flash. They want native apps that are easy to use and work.

    I’d like to get rid of this browser plugin business. Flash was okay when we had two basic platforms: Mac and Windows, and if Adobe could write a Flash client that supported those two platforms, the world was more or less happy.

    But, Flash is still 32 bit and Mac and Windows have moved into the 64bit realm. Even worse, you now have Android, iPhone, WebOS, Bada, Meego, RIM, and who knows what other platforms in the future. Can Adobe really support all those platforms?

    That’s the real problem with Flash. Right now, Adobe has been working for over a year to produce a Flash for Android phones, and they’ve missed various deadlines. Well, how about all those WebOS users? Will they too wait a year and a half or longer before Adobe gets around to writing a Flash client for WebOS. What happens with Meego and Bada come out, or when RIM writes it’s WebKit based browser? Can Adobe really keep up.

    So, we have a single company, Adobe, trying to keep up with all the various platforms, and it’s having problems. And, all for what: To produce Flash apps that people don’t really want?

    And, that’s the problem with Flash.

  40. 040 // barneyhanway // 05.09.2010 // 3:27 PM

    I’m truly astounded that someone would demo that particular site on a mobile device and expect flawless results. And then omit that Hulu not working was because of a Hulu lockout.

    Like Adobe needed any more bad press right now, especially from a supposedly friendly source. Are we sure this wasn’t just a hatchet job? It’s hard to imagine a better one.

  41. 041 // Tobias // 05.09.2010 // 3:38 PM

    The reason I want Flash to die has little to do with Adobe. Sites using it with no good reason nor expertise just far outnumber things like Eco Zoo. If the people whose content I want can’t be bothered to provide a good experience, I’m all for taking away their tools. Consumers don’t need to be fair to companies.

  42. 042 // Adam // 05.09.2010 // 3:42 PM

    Ryan tweeted “and Hulu loads just fine, but when you play a video they give a “this platform not supported” message.”

    Hopefully Hulu will be lifting this once 10.1 goes public.

  43. 043 // JAKE D // 05.09.2010 // 4:28 PM

    for a full on 3D game in HTML5 look no further than

    http://code.google.com/p/quake2-…

    A Quake II port using WebGL, the Canvas API, HTML 5

    Epic presentation fail any way you cut it.

  44. 044 // Mike Reed // 05.09.2010 // 4:37 PM

    I don’t think it’s really a mater of perception. In Steve Job’s open letter, he mentions the fact that there hasn’t been nor is there now a version of flash player that runs well on mobile devices. If this is true, it remains true whether illustrated in a demo or not. When talking about public perception in this case, I think what’s really being discussed is spin. Letting the public know you’re working on something doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t done.

    Given that Flash demos on mobile devices are likely if not certainly done to try and refute statements about its stability and performance, the “it’s only beta” excuse really can’t be used. If you don’t want people to take note of when you fall, you probably shouldn’t begin by saying “Look what I can do”.

  45. 045 // Ben // 05.09.2010 // 4:44 PM

    To have flash sites not loading during a flash demo is a joke.

    It’s worse than having a BSOD during windows demo, because Adobe has been whining for so long about Apple not allowing flash on their iDevice (speaking as if they already have a 100% working plugin on the iPhone already).

    That’s what Apple does well. They don’t want anything unpredictable. That’s why people trust the Apple brand.

  46. 046 // May // 05.09.2010 // 5:56 PM

    Sorry, I don’t get it, quick recap: Ryan Stewart is a smart guy. So he showcases Flash on Android but never tested any site before, nothing prepared. He asks the audience but gets only 1 answer, Hulu. Then they run out of ideas. That was it.

    No doubts however that any blog post describing how Flash crashes on mobiles is guaranteed to get insane attention these days.

  47. 047 // Peter Payne // 05.09.2010 // 6:25 PM

    I use DreamWeaver and Photoshop, so I bought both CS5 versions to support Adobe, one of my favorite companies. Photoshop, while improved, manages to totally bork all Applescript support, breaking all my scripts and effectively robbing Adobe of 10+ sales since I was going to upgrade my old versions for my employees, but I can’t since everything breaks now. I might be able to switch to Javascript commands for my scripts, but Adobe “forgot” to implement the “do Javascript” step via Applescript. So, no more sales there.

    Then DreamWeaver. I have to give you guys a gold star — every single bug from CS4 was ported to the new version successfully, including the “program crashes hard whenever you quit it” bug. My impression of Adobe is, making bug reports will maybe get them addressed in 18 months in the next CS rev, which makes me less likely to make bug reports than to say, Apple, whose engineers have called me at home to follow up on some of the bug reports I have made.

  48. 048 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 7:16 PM

    Also: Please tell me why writing HTML5 is going to become such a point of contention to the point where a ‘developer’ would be “bitten in the ass” by it.

    No device or web browser manufacturer has any legal obligation to support any technology. So, just like Apple decided that, in their new OS, they weren’t going to support Flash, someone may, at some point, decide they’re not going to support HTML5. Or CSS. Or JavaScript. Or whatever.

    Do I think that’s going to happen? No. At least not soon. But could it? Sure. No technology is bulletproof for the future. Don’t be fooled into thinking one is.

  49. 049 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 7:16 PM

    Then DreamWeaver. I have to give you guys a gold star — every single bug from CS4 was ported to the new version successfully…

    You guys?” Just to be clear, I don’t work for Adobe, so I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you say “you guys.”

  50. 050 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 7:19 PM

    Hopefully Hulu will be lifting this once 10.1 goes public.

    I wouldn’t count on it.

  51. 051 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 7:20 PM

    A Quake II port using WebGL, the Canvas API, HTML 5 elements, the local storage API, and WebSockets…

    And it’s a nice tech demo, but if you believe this proves that web standards is a better platform for writing games than Flash, you clearly don’t understand the issues at play very well.

  52. 052 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 7:22 PM

    He asks the audience but gets only 1 answer, Hulu. Then they run out of ideas.

    The audience wasn’t really given a chance to pose more ideas. Right after saying Hulu doesn’t work, Ryan wrapped up the demo. He did, however, invite people to find him later if they wanted to try out other sites on his Nexus One. I didn’t take him up on the offer — perhaps I should have.

  53. 053 // Matthew // 05.09.2010 // 7:54 PM

    @DAVID W

    People don’t want native apps. They want apps that are fast and intuitive. HTML can’t live up to that, HTML5 can’t live up to that, and neither will HTML6 or HTML7. But down the line the web will finally catch up, and when it does native apps will go away. Everyone knows it’s a temporary diversion.

  54. 054 // Abhi Beckert // 05.09.2010 // 8:13 PM

    035 // JRK // 05.09.2010 // 2:10 PM
    web developers. tss. when will you guys recognize that it’s time to learn a real programming language and not some markup with a little scripting.

    A real programming language such as C++? Do you really want websites to have direct access to your hardware?

    The web is always going to be heavily sandboxes scripts. That will never change. However, with performance so good it’s now possible to edit video footage in javascript, that’s becoming less and less of an issue.

  55. 055 // Abhi Beckert // 05.09.2010 // 8:19 PM

    026 // JEFF CROFT // 05.09.2010 // 1:11 PM

    Can you give examples ?

    I’ll give a lot of examples when I write up the HTML5/Flash panel I moderated, but off the top of my head, here are few examples: cue points on video, DRM on video, webcam access, microphone access, multi-layer vector drawing, etc.

    From rich text editing, to screen reader software, to properly sending cookies to the server, there’s a million things that flash can’t do. And HTML/CSS/JavaScript can.

  56. 056 // Abhi Beckert // 05.09.2010 // 8:21 PM

    052 // MATTHEW // 05.09.2010 // 7:54 PM
    @DAVID W

    People don’t want native apps. They want apps that are fast and intuitive. HTML can’t live up to that, HTML5 can’t live up to that, and neither will HTML6 or HTML7. But down the line the web will finally catch up, and when it does native apps will go away. Everyone knows it’s a temporary diversion.

    I would argue flash is even worse at that.

  57. 057 // Jeff Croft // 05.09.2010 // 8:45 PM

    From rich text editing, to screen reader software, to properly sending cookies to the server, there’s a million things that flash can’t do. And HTML/CSS/JavaScript can.

    Oh, absolutely! There are lots of things HTML can do that Flash can’t, and vice-versa. Which is why, for the foreseeable future, both technologies are going to be co-existing. Everyone needs to get used to that idea.

  58. 058 // Hamranhansenhansen // 05.09.2010 // 9:07 PM

    Adobe deserves every lump they get. They’ve been blaming Apple for the lack of Flash on Mobiles for years. From their PR, many people think Flash runs on every non-Apple phone for years. Instead, it’s “Flash Forever.” I’m really tired of people making excuses for them. I’m tired of them bashing Apple, who brought the Web to mobiles in the first place. Adobe should be ashamed of the blue legos their tool created, not blaming Apple for them. There should have been fallback content at least. No excuse.

    The idea of a “Flash Developer” is ridiculous. You make Web apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You’re Web developers. Can you imagine a “JQuery developer” waiting 3 years to make mobile content because JQuery didn’t work on mobiles? It’s Adobe’s Flash users who should be hardest on them to release an HTML5 export target for Flash, or a JavaScript library like Gordon that brings Flash development into the browser. Only Adobe can liberate all the Flash work and skills. Anyone who learns even a little bit about mobile architecture knows FlashPlayer v10 is not going to work on mobiles. At best they will have Flash heating up the phone and wearing out the battery on 1% of smartphones by mid-2011, using Adobe’s own timeframe right now. Most Android phones cannot even run v2.2, and Nexus One has twice the RAM of any other phone. Making a mobile appear to be a PC is a trick. It’s not a PC. Flash runs the fan on my Core 2 Duo. The lack of honesty in this debate is very disturbing.

    Flash is part of my Web development toolkit since 1997, but I haven’t been able to use it for years now because my clients, who used to say “make it work in IE” have been saying “make it work on mobiles” for years now. That is 100% Adobe’s fault. It can’t be anyone else’s fault. They forgot Flash is a Web development tool, not a Flash development tool, and definitely not a Cocoa development tool.

    So yes, some truth is needed.

  59. 059 // Neil Anderson // 05.09.2010 // 9:58 PM

    What I’m most amazed with is that Flash didn’t crash Ryan’s Mac browser. :)

  60. 060 // Neil Anderson // 05.09.2010 // 10:03 PM

    Hopefully they’ll have Flash running on Android by this winter so I can buy two and use them as hand warmers.

  61. 061 // Dayv // 05.09.2010 // 10:19 PM

    Adobe should be ashamed of the blue legos their tool created, not blaming Apple for them. There should have been fallback content at least.

    I’m something of an Flash detractor, but even I can’t point the finger at Adobe when a web designer fails to account for Flash-incapable devices. That’s like blaming your locksmith when your architect fails to include a doorway.

  62. 062 // virgil // 05.10.2010 // 12:02 AM

    Can you please give the reddit link? You claim it made the #1 spot, yet I can’t find the news on reddit… I searched “Android flash” “flashcamp” “jeffcroft” and lots of combinations…. nothing.

  63. 063 // Shaun // 05.10.2010 // 1:34 AM

    The problem with these ‘Flash won’t work on a mobile’ discussions is that US based journalists and bloggers forget that Flash has been running on mobiles for years already.

    In Europe, we’ve had Flash on Symbian phones for ages. Flash-lite does pretty much everything Flash 8 does plus some additional video codecs. Viewing YouTube for instance is perfectly usable on even slow 2-300Mhz ARM11 based cheap Nokias.

    Sure, Macromedia/Adobe added loads of stuff to Flash 9 and 10 but if your intention was to view Sifr fonts, youtube videos or graphs like in Google Analytics, you can do that already. That’s probably 90% of Flash usage outside of gaming and advertising.

    http://www.adobe.com/devnet/devi…

    The hand-wringing over Android and iPhone getting Flash, from the outside, looks plainly silly.

  64. 064 // Jules // 05.10.2010 // 3:09 AM

    As a web game developer, I’m wondering where to go. 12 months ago the only option was Flash, but now things are rather more fragmented. The value of Flash is under threat, but the alternatives (HTML5, Silverlight, Java) don’t have the depth of market penetration anywhere near the same as Flash. Java is perhaps the best alternative right now, but I’ve always found that far more ropey than Flash in practice.

    Like Jeff Croft, I also believe HTML5 simply can’t fill the boots of Flash. If that were the case, why is Apple now developing it’s own version of Flash (called Gianduia)? To me HTML5 isn’t the most efficient platform for a developer - needing more testing and likely to be more buggy with cross-browser inconsistencies, at least until standards are met (which we are told won’t be for another decade!).

    I’m not against the adoption of HTML5, but it’s not a like-for-like tool as Apple would like you believe. I’m also heavily against the idea of restricting users access to Flash on the iPhone by force - they should have the choice.

    I predict we will still be using Flash years from now, but it will be surrounded by a myriad of rival technologies all with various market shares, and frustrated end users who are unlikely to have browsers or devices that can experience all of the web has to offer, all of the time.

    It’s a lot like Web 1.0 in that respect, we’ve gone back in time! Thanks Apple. ;)

  65. 065 // Gibbon1 // 05.10.2010 // 3:35 AM

    A real programming language such as C++? Do you really want websites to have direct access to your hardware?

    Sure! Websites already have access via security holes in flash. The point I make is, you can’t trust Flash to provide security, which means it’s going to have to be run in a sandbox. If you can do that, you can run a native C/C++ ‘script’ safely in a sandbox. Performance wise said C/C++ web app would blow the doors off a Flash based implementation.

  66. 066 // Samo // 05.10.2010 // 3:37 AM

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why Steve Jobs is rehearsing his presentations like a madman. Even though I favor HTML5 for web apps, Flash can’t be talked out of existence just yet — but Adobe is surely looking like a bumbling idiot if that’s their way of defending it.

  67. 067 // Rich Kinet // 05.10.2010 // 4:25 AM

    great post - one of the few to discuss the subject of HTML5 and Flash pragmatically.

    If its the case that IE9 won’t support the canvas element, as has been reported elsewhere, I reckon Flash will be around for a while yet.

  68. 068 // Stuart Wilkes // 05.10.2010 // 5:03 AM

    I also believe HTML5 simply can’t fill the boots of Flash. If that were the case, why is Apple now developing it’s own version of Flash (called Gianduia)

    Umm, Gianduia is a currently internally used framework within Apple use for creating Javascript/HTML/WebObjects Web apps. Otherwise known as HTML 5…

  69. 069 // MCG // 05.10.2010 // 6:24 AM

    Just as an FYI, and I have no relation to them, but Flash works on SkyFire for Windows Mobile. The Eco Zoo site comes up. Specifically Hulu will come up fine but when it tries to play the video, it says that it doesn’t work for my platform. While Hulu did work for a time in Skyfire, it seems like now it is blocked on mobile devices.

  70. 070 // Jeff Croft // 05.10.2010 // 8:27 AM

    Can you please give the reddit link?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/programm…

  71. 071 // Leo // 05.10.2010 // 8:51 AM

    Painful… For devoted ColdFusion developers, like yours truly, understanding that Flash is being integrated deeper and deeper into into CFML ever since it was acquired from Macromedia, plays into the hand of ColdFusion haters. So… For now, I’m avoiding using any CF functionality that utilizes Flash within my .cfm pages - cfcalendar, flashforms, flashpapers, generating flash output with cfchart, etc.

    No big deal, there are other solutions for all of those things, but makes you think - Adobe is going to fight very hard to keep Flash afloat.

  72. 072 // David H. // 05.10.2010 // 9:37 AM

    People engaged in this debate so fervently are pretty near sighted. Flash is a tool with fantastic capabilities. The ability to use it to create incredibly interactive experiences is a simple fact. Adobe has an obligation to do the best job possible, which I think it’s obvious that they are. Issues where people drop the ball or make mistakes should be a given.

    What should be a bigger issue is not the ability for Adobe to just “win” by making Flash work on all mobile devices like magic, but rather companies like Apple which block out entire swaths of developers and technologies “because they can”. HTML 5 can do some cool stuff, but it’s just not really comparable to Flash. Why on earth would anyone want to “block all plugins”. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If the entire internet was nothing but open standard markup and zero plugins, what would we have; utopia? Uh, no.

    Technology hatred is what I think needs to die, not Flash, not HTML 5. Everyone needs to shut up and just worry about making good content, for good purposes, instead of trying to shiv their competitors in the stomach. People hate Flash because it makes such desirable content that’s it’s basically too good, and “one company just can’t have that much control”. Well, one company has had that much control for a long time with the success of Flash player, and it has not been bad it’s been great.

    I tested out some serious HTML 5 example on an iPad and they all ran ridiculously slow and didn’t even work… should we just kill html5? Uh, no.

    The point is that the best applications will make use of whatever tools work well for the job, and offer the desired capability. All of this battle between technologies and particular manufacturers blocking out competitors doesn’t mean anything other than how obvious it is why Jobs is doing what he’s doing; he wants to kill Flash! I don’t think it matters what technology you know or use, the way developers are being forced in or out of any technology in and of itself should be worrying to everyone and should drive us all to more open platforms like Android, which is happy to support all technologies. Anyone who tries to “control” the internet and force us all into HTML5 because of some litany of complaints against a particular technology (Flash) is a moron and a jerk. Just say no.

  73. 073 // Ken // 05.10.2010 // 9:50 AM

    Let’s all be very clear about something: Flash on Android is beta. It’s to be expected that it’s crashy and buggy at this stage. From my perspective, the fact that the Flash on Android beta crashes is not an issue. What may be an issue for Adobe, though, is the public perception that demoing an unfinished product could result in.”

    If it was just that a beta of Flash for a new platform crashed, there would be no story at all. Imagine any other program on any other platform — say, JVM on Itanium. The first Google hit for that phrase is “jvm hangs on itanium”. (Oh noes!) But nobody thinks the worse of the JVM for it, since we know the JVM itself is pretty darned solid elsewhere. I guess it’s not yet solid on Itanium, but (without ever having used it there) I’m fairly confident it will be soon.

    The joke is that Flash isn’t solid anywhere. Both Flash 9 and Flash 10 (including the last half-dozen .x.y updates), on both Windows and Mac, crash regularly for me. Chrome and Safari even redesigned their architecture to run it in a different process space. There’s simply no belief by anyone at this point that Flash on Android will be stable when it’s out of beta, because it’s never been stable anywhere. What does “beta” even mean for Flash, except the name, then?

  74. 074 // Dan // 05.10.2010 // 10:39 AM

    Hulu blocks mobile devices. Install Skyfire from the Market and switch to desktop mode. Here’s Hulu working on a Nexus One in Flash 10.1

    Try that on an iPhone.

  75. 075 // Chaz // 05.10.2010 // 10:50 AM

    Question: does anyone know how they are going to handle the mouseover events?

  76. 076 // Mike // 05.10.2010 // 11:05 AM

    You have a minor typo: “Adobe is already way behind in shipping a full Flash player that works well on mobile.” should read “Adobe is already way behind in shipping a full Flash player that works well.”

  77. 077 // Woochifer // 05.10.2010 // 1:54 PM

    People hate Flash because it makes such desirable content that’s it’s basically too good, and “one company just can’t have that much control”. Well, one company has had that much control for a long time with the success of Flash player, and it has not been bad it’s been great.”

    As an end user, I hate Flash because it’s “too good” … as in being “too good” at slowing down my computer and crashing my browser. If Flash is so great, then why do so many people install Flash blocking tools like Click2Flash? Ever since I installed a Flash blocker on my browser, I marvel at how much faster and more stable my web browsing has become.

    BTW, I just tried that Eco Zoo site. Impressive visuals, but it ballooned my CPU usage from 11% to 85%.

  78. 078 // SteveS // 05.10.2010 // 2:08 PM

    Apple has certainly been vilified for taking a public stand on the direction of THEIR platform. In the end, Adobe has done nothing over the past three years to prove them wrong.

    I just don’t understand the kind of person that would get on stage to present a demonstration that clearly has not been rehearsed. Really, this was Adobe’s best opportunity to show us a best case scenario. With the crashes and instability, we never even had a chance to criticize the poor performance. Oh well, we’ll save that for another day. ;-)

    Also, for those pedantic enough to make the case that Flash is not a 1:1 equivalent for HTML5/CSS/Javascript… no kidding. However, for roughly 99% of the Flash content on the web, HTML5, etc. is a suitable alternative. What’s lacking are sophisticated tools for designers. Likewise, if Adobe doesn’t completely miss the boat here, they still have a chance to get on board and fill a niche. That said, there are some very impressive Javascript frameworks in development now. Adobe should be concerned. The future of the web does not include Flash. Microsoft’s IE 9 will be the beginning of the end for Flash as it’s the last (and most popular) major browser to include at least basic HTML 5 support.

  79. 079 // Richard // 05.10.2010 // 2:13 PM

    Deardeveloper asked:

    Question 1) If this scenario [HTML 5 video] is really happening, will web interfaces start getting uglier (aesthetically) and clunkier (functionally)? Because Flash produces really nice websites.

    Absolutely not. I’ve seen demo HTML5-based video players that are aesthetically superior to any Flash video player I’ve seen except for one missing feature: full-screen video (which HTML 5 does not allow for security reasons). But it benefits from tighter integration with the rest of an HTML-based site.

    If you want to see a good HTML 5 video player demo, check out http://jilion.com/sublime/video . In place of full screen video they do full-window video and it’s a slick effect.

    As for functionality, HTML 5 video has some great benefits to Flash (tighter integration with an HTML web page) and only a few drawbacks (no DRM, so Hulu would be out).

    Question 2) Flash designers are really smart and talented, but will it be difficult for them to learn how to take a Flash site and make a compatible/comparable HTML5 site?

    As Jeff said, some are smart and talented, and some aren’t. I hope the smart and talented ones would be just as comfortable in a standards-based workflow as in Flash player.

    Few web sites are 100% Flash; most Flash online is for things like video, ads, games, and charts that are embedded in sites that are otherwise built using standard tech like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. So Flash developers should be versed in both.

    (I myself have done a lot of web development in both Flash and HTML.)

    Question 3) If they can, and it becomes the “in” thing for companies to start adding HTML5 support, will Flash designers that learn this new trade be in the new gold rush? Or will it be a waste of their time to learn it?

    It’s never a waste of time to stay on top of a changing industry. The core skills are the same, the only things that change are the tools and the specifics.

  80. 080 // Jon // 05.10.2010 // 4:45 PM

    People hate Flash because it makes such desirable content that’s it’s basically too good”

    That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time!

    David H., you start out with a pretense of objectivity by saying that people so fervently involved in this debate are just short-sighted, but then you show your true colors by stating the above.

    Since I’ve been blocking Flash long before this fight between Adobe and Apple, I am generally stunned by the degree of support for Flash by the comments in places like this, but then I realize that people who make their living off Flash are disproportionately represented.

    While I fully admit that Flash can do things HTML 5 cannot, there is no reason to use Flash for things that web standards do perfectly well. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if I need Flash to navigate your site (i.e. to see and click on links to stuff) you have failed. I am not talking about playing some game. I couldn’t care less about that. It is patently clear that Flash is not necessary for the vast majority of what it is used for on the web. If it were, people wouldn’t use Flash blockers.

  81. 081 // leef // 05.10.2010 // 5:53 PM

    I would care that the Flash Player for mobile had some crashes, if it wasn’t a beta, and HTML5 equivalent sites were doing any better…

    I’ve tried most of the HTML5 demos on my iPhone, and nearly all of them don’t work at all, don’t load, don’t work as expected, or perform so badly to be completely useless.

    That said, I’ve seen some amazing performance from Flash Player 10.1 for mobile, and after Ryan’s demo I grabbed his phone, and ran an old memory-hungry Flash site that we developed in 2008. http://urban.productionvault.com and I was pleased to finally navigate, playback audio, and interact with the site on a mobile device.

    It’s real easy to fan the flames of the “OMFGBBQ Flash sucks!” crowd, they are pathetic. Those in the Apple/HTML5 camp who advocate putting restrictions on web-content by killing web-plugins are the lamest members of the online community, I have zero respect for them, or their points of view. HTML5 is great, Flash is great, restritions on web-content are f*ck!nq lame.

  82. 082 // leef // 05.10.2010 // 5:56 PM

    By the time HTML5 is running well on mobile, will anyone still care? Have you tried running any of the HTML5 games, or demo’s on an iPhone, or iPad? They’re horrible for anything save the most basic of transitions, and still perform less than well at that.

    By the time Adobe has Flash working well on mobile, will anyone still care?”

  83. 083 // canon // 05.10.2010 // 7:22 PM

    The thing that Adobe has going for it is the incredibly ease of use of Flash. If you’re not a programmer, Action Scripting is extremely complex. Flash makes simple coding idiot proof and the new version allows you to export for the iphone and ipad. Who would try to learn HTML5 when they have something this simple?

  84. 084 // Kyle Fox // 05.10.2010 // 7:56 PM

    Am I the only one pissed off I can’t run Java applets on my iPhone?

  85. 085 // Jeff Croft // 05.10.2010 // 8:20 PM

    Flash makes simple coding idiot proof and the new version allows you to export for the iphone and ipad.

    Unless you’ve been a living under a rock, you know that Apple won’t approve any app you build with Flash, so the fact that you can export to iPhone is pretty much a moot point.

    I do generally agree with you, though, that HTML5 needs better tooling to make it more friendly for designers who aren’t also programmers to build stuff with.

    Am I the only one pissed off I can’t run Java applets on my iPhone?

    Yes. :)

  86. 086 // Ben // 05.10.2010 // 8:38 PM

    Great post Jeff. Flash and HTML5 are both just tools, it’s up to us to use best one for the job.

    After watching the video you posted in the update here, I’m in two minds (I use an Android phone).

    The whole “click to enter Flash” thing reeks of the “click to activate Flash” we had to endure for a while there in IE. Unless the user knows which bits are Flash and which bits aren’t, there’s going to be a lot of frustrated clicking on things you thought you already clicked on.

    Being able to access more of the video on the web would be cool (although watching desktop-optimised video over my 3G connection could suck). Games… I’d prefer to just use native apps, but sure why not.

  87. 087 // Jeff Croft // 05.10.2010 // 9:59 PM

    Have you tried running any of the HTML5 games, or demo’s on an iPhone, or iPad?

    No, I haven’t. You know why? Because I have an App Store full of sweet native apps, so I don’t really care about Flash or HTML5 games.

    That’s the point I was making: be it HTML5, native apps, or something else, developers have found alternatives for most of the common-case uses for Flash over the past three years so their wares would work on iPhones. The longer that goes on without Flash being a viable alternative, the less people are going to care when Flash finally does arrive. It might already be too late. Flash is most typically used for video, games, and ads, and the iPhone currently has plenty of all of these — so what’s so compelling, for regular users, about Flash?

  88. 088 // Adam // 05.10.2010 // 11:50 PM

    I got very concerned when I first saw the ‘click to Flash’ feature in the new video but now it doesn’t seem too bad since it looks like you immediately interact with the Flash movie rather than having to click/tap to activate it first.

  89. 089 // leef // 05.11.2010 // 12:19 AM

    You’re right, users could care less about HTML5 or Flash. I doubt most Farmvillers or mahjong-addicts realize what technology powers their game. Developers make the choices when it comes to technology, and of course performance matters in that circle.

    You don’t care for browser based gaming because there’s an app for that? Ok, sorry to hear that. I kinda like the web having access to plugins, like Flash, that offer performance that rivals Cocoa apps, is cross platform, and not subject to 10 year upgrade plans. Seems most users do too, especially the young ones who love the rich interactivity of disney, ecodazoo, and 1st person shooters.

    I’m very happy to see HTML5 and have been DOM scripting like madman for the last two weeks. But Flash isn’t something the tech journalists with divisive headlines will decide on. I hope they think Flash has died just so Adobe can remove the right-click notice and we can get on with developing kickass experiences. In short, developers with a mind for performance will care.

  90. 090 // Matthew Fabb // 05.11.2010 // 6:02 AM

    The Flash community does exist, no doubt. But the Flash community has grown increasingly isolated and irrelevent to the web development community as a whole.”

    Go check out the schedule of Flash conferences like FITC and you will see that the Flash community is far from isolated. People experimenting with Java Processing and many other technologies. Many Flash developers doing Objective-C and iPhone development. Plus of course doing work and experiments with just what is capable in the browser. Basically there’s a lot of overlap between the Flash community and other communities.

    It seems to me that only those in the open-source standards community shun Flash.

  91. 091 // Mark Hayden // 05.11.2010 // 6:53 AM

    I think it’s time for Adobe to “pull a Netscape” with respect to Flash. Without being heavily involved in the use of flash or with the development of flash I cannot say for sure, but it really seems to me that Flash 10.1 == Netscape 4.x. The plugin is bloated and processor intensive for what it does. It only runs acceptably on Win32 platforms and Adobe is having a REALLY hard time of it porting it to anything else properly—either other OSes (it runs so poorly on MacOS and Linux) or platforms (64 bit—c’mon guys EVERYONE ELSE beat you to that goal! And ARM? Been around for a LONG time now—where have you been?)

    I think for Flash to flourish once again it has to be made truly open—put the specs out there for all to see—ALL of them without legal encumbrances—as well as open all the source code to the plugin itself. Adobe should sponsor Mozilla foundation or equivalent to kickstart a dev community. As with Netscape it might end up they decide the code is a pile of useless spaghetti and start over but that process eventually gave us Firefox! If the whole browser can be reworked into something better really can’t the same be done with a plugin?

  92. 092 // Jeff Croft // 05.11.2010 // 9:56 AM

    Seems most users do too, especially the young ones who love the rich interactivity of disney, ecodazoo, and 1st person shooters.

    My point is that they love these games regardless of the technology they’re built on, and these types of games are available on iPhone (as native apps), so I don’t think users feel like they’re missing anything. They need the games, yes. They don’t need them to built built in Flash or be browser-based. They really don’t care, as long as they’re there.

    It seems to me that only those in the open-source standards community shun Flash.

    It’s a shame, indeed, and it’s all about job security and ignorance. People reject what they don’t know, and most standards-oriented developers don’t know the first thing about Flash. That scares them, so they reject it very loudly.

    I think for Flash to flourish once again it has to be made truly open—put the specs out there for all to see—ALL of them without legal encumbrances—as well as open all the source code to the plugin itself.

    It’s a nice idea, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen.

  93. 093 // David B // 05.11.2010 // 1:39 PM

    It’s a shame, indeed, and it’s all about job security and ignorance. People reject what they don’t know, and most standards-oriented developers don’t know the first thing about Flash. That scares them, so they reject it very loudly.”

    True, but on the other side of that coin you can’t say that Flash developers and Adobe employees downplaying non-Flash technologies (or technologies that are showing promise that don’t involve Flash) don’t have an ulterior motive either.

    Here’s the fact that i haven’t heard too many people repeat. A few years ago if you wanted to do any sort of video, audio, or even slideshows on a website the only real choice you had was flash. Over the years however, this has changed. The number of flash-only websites has dropped dramatically. Most slideshows on modern websites use javascript/jquery where once Flash reigned supreme (slideshowpro is probably the only exception). And now video players - whether you want to argue that Flash still is better in this category or not - one cannot deny there is a real alternative out there now.

    Bottom line: flash has had a monopoly on many aspects of the web world. Now there are real alternatives plus a trend of public apathy towards flash - and this all scares the crap out of many Flash developers. (And I probably would be scared too if over one million web devices sold in 28 days that couldn’t support Flash).

  94. 094 // Jason R. // 05.11.2010 // 2:56 PM

    Absurd that the demo vid shown here seems to show all the flash content playing smoothly but I can’t get through the video on my G5 dual 2Gz with 2.5Gb RAM without a half-dozen stutters… and that’s with the video fully downloaded. And people have any question why Apple might now feel that Flash would be a good experience for their significant-sized user base.

    Maybe if Adobe spent 3 years rewriting Flash Player for Mac & Linux users it would play as smoothly as this beta seems to show on Nexus One. Or maybe the Nexus One just has more oomph than a 5 year old PowerMac (;

    Head::meet_ass. My 2¢

    — You’ll have to pry my click2flash from my cold, dead fingers.

  95. 095 // Jesse // 05.11.2010 // 10 PM

    As a Flash and iPhone developer I’m fully in support of html5 being used when it’s best and I like that Apple and Google are pushing its adoption. But as developers and designers we need tools that quickly help us create great user experiences and we need a consistent platform on which to deliver our apps.

    Currently Flash and iPhone support these needs. Html5 doesn’t yet.

    The current html5 tools are very developer focused and aren’t suited for designers. There goes the user experience. Also the platform for html5 - the browser - isn’t consistent and it sounds like it may never be.

    With Flash development the tools allow me to spend most of my time focused on design. When I roll out Flash applications they work and look exactly the same across all browsers. No time spent on browser specific development or testing.

    The same is true for iPhone development. The tools are awesome and the platform is consistent. That’s why these technologies have become so popular.

    So I’m all for more adoption of html5 for embedded video, etc. But for anything more complex we’ll need to wait for designer focused tools and consistent browser support. That’s not going to happen for awhile. Sorry everyone but flash isn’t dead anytime soon.

    Adobe does deserve a lot of the criticism its getting lately. Hopefully it will be a wakeup call for them.

  96. 096 // SteveJ (not obs :) // 05.13.2010 // 7:54 AM

    I can only speak as a Mac user, and not a web developer. I really dislike websites created with Flash. Flash makes the Mac’s fans run crazy, processors peg, videos stutter, and you do experience crashes (of the browser). It’s always been like that and each new version of the flash plugin doesn’t seem to do anything about it. Flash still runs terrible on Macs. So in all this time that Flash has been out there, the only platform it seems to run well on (I guess) is Windows. How can you then expect Apple to be loving the idea of Flash on iPhone OS? Adobe has never bothered to get it right on Macs, or perhaps they are incapable of getting it right on the platform - I don’t know which it is. What expectation could Apple possibly have that Adobe will get it right on the iPhone and why would they leave themselves dependent on it? You folks who defend Adobe and Flash either are either blissfully ignorant of how Flash runs on Macs, or just don’t care. The end of Flash can’t come soon enough for Mac users as it can only lead to a better web experience.

  97. 097 // brock // 05.13.2010 // 10:08 AM

    man alive, this website has some awful color contrast

  98. 098 // Scott // 05.13.2010 // 8:34 PM

    I enjoyed reading comments by intelligent people that are less biased (frequent mac forums a lot).

    The reality is fuzzy.

    There are a lot of comments about hulu - This is a US only content provider. They mean nothing to me as I don’t live in the US. A large percentage of iphone OS users don’t care about hulu.

    People do like videos. A large percentage of flash is used as a video container. It doesn’t have to be for the public. It just has to work.

    My first website was flash. It was only 200k and loaded fast used actionscript to make it efficient and pretty. This was in 2004 when the web was covered with preloaders and graphic intense sites. I use Slideshowpro with director for a while. It was a great way to make pretty photographers sites. Than the iphone came out and I started using javascript slideshows and life is great.

    Developers are small. Adobe is big. (different perspective than when called small compared to apple) Small entities can turn on a dime and move to what works best. Large creatures can’t turn quickly so they have to convince people there is no need to turn. I am very happy to turn all the time. Learning is fun - it is what drives me. I don’t want things to stay the same.

    I think we should channel all this anti flash energy into anti IE energy and let the web develop into the beauty it can be.

    This post is all over the place. I apologize. I don’t have the time to write all I would need to say. I have new things to learn.

  99. 099 // adrian bez // 05.14.2010 // 1:52 AM

    great Page! i like the colours of the page!!

  100. 100 // Scared Poet // 05.14.2010 // 8:11 AM

    I think the point, and the ramifications of what happened at this demo, are being sorely missed by those in the “Pro-Flash” camp here.

    It’s all fine and good to say that Adobe Flash on mobile devices is “in beta.” If that’s so, then so be it. But if you KNOW that your product is in beta and not stable, then it’s neither useful nor helpful to advance the position that Flash works on mobile devices, by showing only examples of it NOT working. This event alone says volumes more about the sad state of Flash than any open letter from some guy in Cupertino could ever write.

    The fact that Ryan Stewart was so confident in his convictions that he went up there and was ultimately proven wrong is disturbing to me. It almost suggests to me that the developers are in denial that Flash is in need of serious, serious fixing to be viable and useful on mobile devices.

    I would respect Ryan and his developers much more if they were willing to simply take their lumps, admit that Flash needs a lot of work, and then actually work on it, rather than making a lot of noise, throwing verbal stompy-fit tantrums at Apple on their blogs (and closing comments to prevent any discourse… heaven forbid!) and having demos like this backfire on them. I would’ve respected Ryan much more if, at this panel, he had NOT demoed anything and simply said “we’re working on it.”

    Instead, this only cements the reason why I switched to a mac and ultimately, to the iPhone platform: the devices work and allow me to do my work, they don’t crash on me on all the time, and while they may not do everything, the things they do are done consistently and reliably.

    I hope for Ryan’s sake and future credibility that someday, he can honestly and truthfully say the same thing about Flash. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case right now, and those responsible for developing the platform need to quit being apologists and start being developers again.

  101. 101 // Dave Dorey // 05.15.2010 // 3:09 PM

    Users are just not used to apps on mobile devices crashing. On a PC sure, but developers can’t afford to assume that the same kind of acceptance for buggy code will carry over and be acceptable on their mobile, they will get turned off the brand very very quickly.

  102. 102 // Paul Kerton // 05.16.2010 // 7:24 PM

    How about you run the same demo in a real world situation… Ie. without the charger plugged in, and let us see the battery life before, and after the demonstration…

  103. 103 // KashKoli // 05.20.2010 // 6:43 PM

    Well, I don’t really understand why a phone like Nexus One can’t run Flash perfectly. I’ll let you know my experience with Flash on my mobile :)

    I have E-TEN X500 it’s with Samsung processor 400Hz and 64Mb RAM it’s quiet old it’s released 3 years ago it’s running Windows Mobile 6.5 and using SkyFire browser on my mobile (BTW, it supports Flash 10.1 and Silverlight) and the flash is working fine I tried to play FarmVilla on it I think it’s one of the heaviest flash application and nothing is wrong everything is working fine ^^

  104. 104 // Nestor Rojas // 05.21.2010 // 9:46 AM

    I believe Flash will have a place in intereactive design for years to come (remember macromedia Director?), however I always opt for a native approach to web design, not to say Flash web sites aren’t great but when it comes to usability I find them limited and slow (depending on your average ISP connection). Now Flash web developement for mobile devices will more likely require mastering ActionScript in order to optimized your code for the bandwidth limitations of mobile carriers.

    Great observations on FlashCamp.

  105. 105 // Pete // 05.21.2010 // 10:08 AM

    Great Post! I still dont understand why Hulu blocks on the phone. I really hope flash comes to the droid soon!

  106. 106 // lingerie // 05.21.2010 // 9:22 PM

    I not either the adobe’s fan number 1. As somebody said before, some flash crash my mac often… it’s suppose they are allies with apple?

  107. 107 // rory // 05.28.2010 // 1:21 AM

    Great article, I’m a fan of Flash and will be sad to see it fade out. I believe its a really useful tool for a web designer but early indications are showing its not going to be generally used in the future of web design (shame) although I do see problems with current Flash on the web crashing and being slow, not where we should be with age of the internet.

  108. 108 // Adam Holt // 06.08.2010 // 2:43 AM

    It does seem that Adobe have a tough battle to fight and I am sure a little cooperation from Apple would have made a great difference to the fate of Flash. I think Flash is still great and agree that many of the mobile issues will be resolved but the advances in other new technological developments may leave Adobe fighting for the respect Flash deserves.

  109. 109 // justin bryan // 06.10.2010 // 1:49 PM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  110. 110 // Arabic Names // 06.29.2010 // 1:35 PM

    wonderful Post! I still dont understand why Hulu blocks on the phone. I really hope flash comes to the droid soon!

  111. 111 // web design nottingham // 06.30.2010 // 8:01 AM

    This was nice to read, not an Adobe fan too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  112. 112 // Erik Reppen // 07.01.2010 // 4:37 PM

    I think Adobe is going to discover that they don’t need the SWF format to sell Adobe Flash. The smart thing to do now would be to transition Action Script to a format that’s easily ported into a JavaScript library so they can transition to being a building platform for whatever new standard(s) becomes dominant for vector graphics animation.

    I never really had a problem with Flash so much as the Adobe-endorsed conceit that it was okay to build everything with it.

    That said, I’m job-hunting atm and “Flash would be a big plus” bullet-points from people who have no frame-intensive animation needs got old after the first day.

Tags for this entry
Links in this entry