Do you really need Flash for the Web?

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    This is an image response to theflashblog.com/?p=1703, where I took most of the sites they produced scary flashless mockups for and produced actual images browsing from an iPhone.

    Sure there are some things you still can't do without Flash - Farmville, and Hulu (I left the adobe images in place as there was no point in even trying them).

    I did replace the flash games sites with two App Store games searches - if you want a few moments of fun for free you could probably spend a year just playing game trial versions at this point.

    But the blogger at Adobe (Edit: Lee Brimelow, responding thoughtfully below) overstated what the rest of the web looks like and how usable it is without flash. The rest of the web is already moving on. We all use PDF and Photoshop prodigiously, is that not enough for you Adobe?

    EDIT:

    A nice alternate take on the same set of photos, showing the world with Flash ads all disabled - bliss:

    twitpic.com/10fjic

    PACMan3000, Arbron, Slonie, joshkim, and 46 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. JoeBenjamin 51 months ago | reply

      Apple: "We don't want Adobe's proprietary closed system on our proprietary closed system."

      Oh and yes, you can go to the full site if you don't like the limited mobile site but the full site is usually as limited as full mode as in mobile in mobile Safari, even more so if it's a site based on video content.

      This argument has gotten as silly as the argument that Apple had that 'no one wants apps'. Then they let in apps. Then people made thousands of dollars off of apps and Apple said 'hey wasn't our idea to let in apps so great?'

      They're patronizing and hypocritical, and I say this as a long time iPhone owner and Apple fan.

    2. wygit 51 months ago | reply

      >>"No, the solution to Flash is for content publishers to use standards-based options, such as HTML 5 video. "

      So, when HTML 6 becomes a standard, how many weeks are we going to give all the world's websites to rewrite everything?

      For Christ's sake, HTML 5 isn't even APPROVED yet!
      How can it be 'the standard'?

      "HTML5 is the proposed next standard for HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 and DOM Level 2 HTML. It aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Sun JavaFX."

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

    3. Leslie Camacho [deleted] 51 months ago | reply

      Flash isn't content.

      Flash is a technology that helps producers deliver content.

      The iPad's theory simply states that the browsing experience will be better without Flash because Flash's method of delivering the content isn't ultimate; it is simply satisfactory, a necessary stop gap that gave producers solutions during a time when other solutions were worse.

      Now Adobe is in a position they have to prove that Flash is so superior in the way that it delivers content that consumers will hold out for a Flash enabled device because that's how good the average experience with Flash delivered content is.

      This puts Adobe in a uncomfortable position because Flash has never been a superior experience. Its simply been the best of bad options, a technology we put up with because the alternatives were so much worse.

      Consider a site like Hulu, which is incredible. I love it. But Flash doesn't make Hulu great. Flash is just how Hulu currently delivers its content. It was used because Flash was the best of bad options at the time.

      There is nothing so incredible, awesome, or ultimate about Flash as a content delivery vehicle that demands its adoption anymore.

      There are now better ways to deliver video.
      There are now better ways to deliver games.
      There are now better ways to deliver interactive content.

      These methods are not widely adopted, but that just takes time, something Apple has a lot of and Adobe Flash does not.

      Unless Adobe can make the argument that Flash provides the ultimate browsing experience, Flash's days are numbered.

    4. ChurchHatesTucker 51 months ago | reply

      Epic Win!

      I don't know why I assumed Mr. FlashGuy had some way to actually check out how mobileSafari renders...

    5. alibaba0 51 months ago | reply

      I think if Adobe wants to make Flash any useful in the future, they'd better turn it into a library for developers that want to embed an animation into their iPhone/iPad apps.

      Flash on the web is better been assumed already dead, and this is especially true for video playing which is where Flash will lose its supremacy first.

    6. abhibeckert 51 months ago | reply

      The real reason there is no flash is because apple (or perhaps steve jobs?) is pissed off at adobe for not fixing the performance and stability bugs in mac os x for *years*. When software crashes on any apple product, apple asks for permission to phone home to apple's server with a crash report, and it's apple's policy to forward those reports on to the developer of the app in question.

      For years, flash has been behind more crash reports than *all other mac software combined*, and there is no doubt apple has talked to adobe over and over to fix it. Recent versions of safari actually run flash in a separate process, so it can't crash the browser anymore (which must have been months or at least weeks of development work), so it's clear apple is very passionate about flash's bugs.

      Some people above say that "video performance on the Mac sucks". That's complete bullshit, the first mac notebook i ever owned (with a 50Mhz CPU) was able to play video in quicktime better than my current notebook can play youtube videos. My MacBook Air can play high definition videos perfectly fine in the quicktime browser plugin, but struggles with videos half the quality in flash. It's not apple's fault, they have always used cutting edge video technology in their hardware and software. It is adobe's fault that people think "mac's can't do video properly".

      Adobe has known for years that their mac and linux software is vastly inferior to their windows software, without doing anything about it. Why should apple work with them, when there are emerging standards (html5) which are better anyway?

      It's very telling that Apple, which ships the only operating system in the world with Flash pre-installed, is abandoning it.

    7. bkorcsog 51 months ago | reply

      This complete thread has the aspect of FUD so I'll add my own to the mix.

      Flash has been delivering experiences for over 12 years. Apple hasn't come up with an alternative platform that is open source for development (like flash is) as yet -- last time I checked you had to have Mac OS X 10.5.x and The Xcode development platform to build experiences for the iPhone / iPad that come close to delivering the quality of experience that Flash provides. That smacks of closed system development.

      Flash is not just delivering video assets although that is the most visible aspect of Flash application development. Flash platform runtimes give you the ability (for example) to access a webcam for video recording (which surprisingly the iPad seems to be missing on a device aimed at consumers -- odd), present full screen content, provide customized interface elements including embedding and optimization of content and typeface, control remote services through RTMP requests that dynamically manage bandwidth, and delivers the ability in it's runtime to provide an open source development pipeline which allows for a very economical delivery of content to consumers (which in the end is what this is all about as I understand it).

      And Flash is not the only alternative content delivery method that exists. Unity3D, Silverlight and Java are alternative content mechanisms that provide unique content delivery pipelines that can differentiate sites from one another. I guess Apple wants the web to become homogenous and boring where every site will look like apple.com.

      In the end the consumers will dictate and i predict that the iPad will become simply another Newton feather in Apples cap.

    8. ericilla 51 months ago | reply

      @marcelebrate - I don't think Adobe pioneer Flash and its web capability. Just sayin'...

    9. ericilla 51 months ago | reply

      @marcelebrate - I don't think Adobe pioneered Flash and its web capability. Just sayin'...

    10. Mulling it Over 51 months ago | reply

      Yeah sorry, Flash is here to stay and to pretend that HTML5 is going to jump in and crush it tomorrow is sticking your head in the sand. I'm a dedicated Mac guy but the combination of iPhone-style iron curtain for apps and the lack of a real browser is just failure in my eyes. Not just that you can't view flash in the iPad, but that you can't install it if you want to, you can't use a different browser, and their browser lacks a plugin architecture that allows for essentials like AdBlock. Apple has come full circle from their 1984 commercial now, the irony is really incredible.

    11. C G-K 51 months ago | reply

      @bkorcsog

      Flash is not an "opensource" development environment. Stop saying it is. Web standards such as HTML5 are, and many of the features coming in HTML5 are already here in actual opensource based web browsing renders.

      You're woefully ignorant of the developments with those standards as you proceed to pick out specific technologies, all being addressed by current developments (downloadable fonts for example). Dynamically managed bandwidth is not something unique to flash, and, these arguments have nothing to do with whether or not the ipad will sell as a product.

      For example, the sort of thing coming down the standards pike, that already work on webkit based browsers (an opensource renderer): anthonycalzadilla.com/css3-ATAT/index.html

    12. nah nahs 51 months ago | reply

      Flash is terrible.

    13. cheeta2425 51 months ago | reply

      I'm aware that I may not know as much as you guys about all the technical battles apple faces with flash, and I have never experienced how poorly Flash works/worked on a Mac before. On the other hand, I do know that as a student of business, looking at this strictly from a management standpoint, having Flash on any device that accesses the App Store is a bad idea for Apple.

      This point was touched on earlier by Kendall in this post ( www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/4314276957/comment7215762... ), the consumer having a choice would be great, for us. Having an option for games, as small as they might be, from anywhere other than the App Store though is not a good thing for Apple. For example, if a Nickelodeon game could be played in flash on my iPhone on Nick's website, I wouldn't need to buy a $.99 Spongebob app from the App Store to play something similar (I don't know if that's the real price, it's just an example).

      To me, I see this as the same type of reasoning that Apple might replace Google Maps on the phone with their own branded mapping application. It's not to say that the google mapping doesn't work because we all know it does, but to Apple it is better business to keep their competitors away. Flash is in the works for all sorts of mobile devices, and some support it now. I don't see technology of any sort being the limiting factor here, to me, it's comes down to Apple wanting to just keep the business of apps going.

    14. Rob Speed 51 months ago | reply

      cheeta2425,

      You don't need Flash to write web-based games. In fact, there's a growing pool of developers writing web-based games for iPhones because of app store policies.

    15. 44sunsets 51 months ago | reply

      Tom Dibble is spot on: Adobe should concentrate on creating great tools. The writing is on the wall, Flash is going the way of the dodo. Adobe can still remain a major player if they repurposed their authoring tools to work with HTML5 and open, standards-based tech.

      @bkorcsog,I don't want my websites to be dependent on bloated plug-in tech like Silverlight, Flash or Java, thanks.

    16. BoostedKnight 51 months ago | reply

      @Rob Speed - You have a good point that just illustrates mine. I know flash isn't the only way for people to develop web applications but it would have been a good starting point three years ago. Imagine how many things would be out there already if the iPhone did support flash from the 2g or even 3g launch.

    17. Rob Speed 51 months ago | reply

      @BoostedKnight I don't disagree that Flash was the best choice three years ago. I don't even disagree that it's the best choice now. My point is that there are options other than Flash, ones that are based on open standards and will work across browsers, including Safari.

      One thing you have to remember, though, is that even if the iPhone did have Flash support and even if it weren't absurdly inefficient, most games still wouldn't work. The screen is small, there's no up-down-left-right keys, no mouse and it has a relatively slow CPU.

    18. fuad_kamal 51 months ago | reply

      Here are the actual screen shots from Steve Job's LIVE Demo. You can watch the video on Apple's site and hear the audience laughing.
      www.flickr.com/photos/abunur/sets/72157623309383844/

    19. Kendall Helmstetter Gelner 11 months ago | reply

      In a sort of final update to this, the original link no longer has the screenshots this images refers to - possibly because Hulu and FarmVille both have iOS apps now thus eliminating any issues with the things he originally linked to.

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