Is Flash Animation dying?

By Nathaniel Vega

The topic concerning the reliability of Adobe Flash compared to HTML5 as tools for multimedia, both on the Internet and on mobile devices, has been ongoing for the past few years. Technology is evolving and the purposes for devices and software are constantly being changed or improved. Mobile devices are operating with HTML5 functionality and its usefulness continues to grow. Because of the halt on support for Adobe Flash on mobile devices, will Flash’s functionality eventually be replaced on all devices for good? What exactly are Flash and HTML5 and how do they both play a part in today’s technology?

Adobe Flash was introduced in 1996 and has been one of the more popular tools for both audio and video functionality on web pages. Similar to the way computer programs work, requiring .dll (dynamic link library) and other system files in order to execute flawlessly, Flash multimedia on web pages require special plug-ins to be downloaded prior to being used or displayed. These particular plug-ins are provided by Adobe and are easily accessible by visiting their web page online at http://www.adobe.com. Creation of animation is possible with Adobe Flash, which is a program that provides its users with a handy graphical user interface and various shortcut tools for a quicker and more pleasing point-and-click experience. Flash’s support for vector graphics, supporting files created by image-editing programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, made it one of the more popular animation tools to use for both online and offline purposes. It is also capable of running advanced functions through scripting, for artists who wish to incorporate extra features to their animations.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) has existed on the Internet, not necessarily for video and audio, ever since the early 1990’s. It is primarily a text-based programming language, relying solely on scripting and lacking a functional and user-friendly graphical user interface. This particular style of programming matches the styles of older computer programming languages, such as “QBasic” and “C”, where specific words and numbers in each sentence or line prompts specific commands. Each command called for in the scripts is then used to perform various functions (or actions). For example, changing the color of a large rectangle isn’t as easy as grabbing a paint bucket on graphic-editing programs such as Microsoft Paint and clicking on the rectangle itself. Instead, the color value of the rectangle must be typed, the number value of the color being defined and filled within the parameters of the shape itself, in the lines of the text-based script. HTML was not the point-and-click experience that most users have preferred it to be.

HTML5 is different compared to its predecessor in that it is capable of playing both video and audio on web pages. Though it still lacks a graphical user interface, it is reliable enough of a tool to motivate programmers to create software that will make its functionalities easier to control. HTML5 is capable of handling vector graphics and that makes it a necessary alternative to Adobe Flash on the latest web browsers. Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple Computer Inc., believed that HTML5 would supersede Adobe Flash in popular mobile devices like iPads, Blackberries, and Androids.

Because of Adobe’s decision to put a stop toward developing the Mobile Flash Player, Jobs’ prediction came true and this is how Adobe Flash is inferior to HTML5.

Software is everything in today’s technology and if any kind of software can’t keep up with the evolution of technology, second-best alternatives are placed on the highest level of importance.

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