Flash? Who needs Flash?
September 15, 2011 Leave a comment
For background, Adobe Flash is a browser plug-in that enables rich media and rich user interfaces. Over time, we’ve all used it for YouTube videos, spiffy re-sizing menus and games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
Ahh .. Silverlight. I barely knew ye.
That’s a lie: While at Microsoft, I worked diligently launching Silverlight 1.0, engaging worldwide partner adoption for early efforts. Painful, but we had some exciting, .NET-driven, browser-based applications adopting the plug-in playbook. The advantage: one code line .. developers could write code with known conventions, extending their .NET experience into a new, plug-in world.
I digress, therefore, I am.
For more background, here are a few, well-known fun facts (at least, in the developer community):
- The Apple iOS (the operating system that drives the iPod, the iPad, and a variety of Apple devices) does not support Flash. This 2008 article from Wired explains why: “Why Apple Won’t Allow Adobe Flash on iPhone”. Yes: it’s dated, but still relevant. Really relevant.
- Microsoft has relegated Silverlight development to Windows Phone devices, and no longer to the browser. Here’s a post from my favorite … Mary Jo Foley: “Microsoft: Our strategy with Silverlight has shifted”
- That said .. this page is painful to see.
- That said, So is this page.
So. Mobile issues aside. The answer? HTML5.
HTML5 boasts a number of syntactical features (features and functionality that confirm to a language .. provided as part of a platform) .. which eliminates the need for a plug-in.
- Want videos? Embed a <video"> tag .. built into HTML5, which includes position, height, width, codec, etc., etc. and etc.
- Want absolute positioning? It’s there, built into HTML5.
- Want SEO (Search Engine Optimization?). it’s built into HTML5.
If the operative term in all cases is: “built into ..”, suffice to say: it is.
Why do I bring this up? Well, TechCrunch (and a host of others) report: “The company announced today Microsoft Excises Flash And Plugins From Metro Internet Explorer In Windows 8”. The title of the article says it all: The shipping browser atop Windows 8 will not support (or need) vendor plug-ins.
This is significant .. remove the platform initiative, and you remove the need for developers to write to the platform.