HTML5 is a young programming language, with a lot of promise. It has been lauded as the Flash replacement that will revolutionize the web and more importantly, the mobile web. But with so much speculation and excitement, it's hard to recognize the forest for the trees. Where did HTML5 come from and what does it mean for the future of the internet as we know it?Apple Made HTML5 a Household Name Without a doubt, the iPhone is the catalyst for the ever growing contention with Flash. It wasn't until everyone had the web in their pocket that they realized what browsing would be like without it. People began doubting Flash's longevity based on Apple's (Job's) evaluation and proceeded to jump on the HTML5 bandwagon. According to Jobs, Flash isn't optimized for their hardware and contains security holes that threaten our mobile devices.
Unfortunately for dedicated Apple junkies, HTML5 is far from replacing the venerable Flash, and Apple is unlikely to have a change of heart. Until then, you'll have to rely on hackers like Comex, who ported a functional version of the Flash plugin to the iPad. Maybe it's time to hop aboard the Android train. Android handsets gained official Flash Player 10.1 support towards the end of June and it was just announced that Android OS is the best selling mobile OS on the market. Maybe the exodus has already begun?
Flash Isn't Going Anywhere, Yet
Regardless of the inane basis for Apple's rejection of Adobe's tech, HTML5 is exciting for the connected-public, albeit down the road. If the boys behind HTML5 are to believed, we have a long way to go before HTML5 is “complete”. Ian Hickson of Google and David Hyatt from Apple, project that HTML5 will reach W3C recommendation sometime around 2022, at the earliest. By that time, HTML5 will have been under development nearly 20 years since it began in 2004. Luckily, we won't have to wait to reap the fruits of the new language. If you look in the right places, you can find HTML5 content spread around all corners of the web.
Website, appstorm.net, has a handy list of games either ported to or built in HTML5 from the ground up. The two notable selections are Quake II , ported by Google employees, and The Akihabara Collection , a group of five games built with retro tastes in mind.
CBS announced that they will be porting their video content to HTML5 this fall. Hulu and the studios' work they carry, will stick with Flash for now, though.
It is hard to believe that we can do all of this without installing Flash after relying on it for so long. Still, these examples represent a small subset of features planned for HTML5 down the road. Lots of folks have it in their head that Flash is on it's way out, but in reality, that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. The fact is, there are many applications, game related an otherwise, that are suited to Flash. The production pipeline has been perfected and honed, like a well oiled machine. HTML5 does have the chops to handle gaming and rich-media, but not everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side.
We Need Flash
It has taken years for Flash to reach the saturation level it currently has. Corporations have invested lots of money and man hours into the integration of Flash, and it would be unwise for them to retire the old horse prematurely. No one is playing favorites here. Browsers have added piecemeal support for HTML5 and you can test your browser's compatibility using the handy website, HTML5Test . It is a simple fact that Flash has a grip on the web as we know it, though. The advertising industry is increasingly reliant on Flash, and without the ability to incorporate ads and monetize websites, how will developers support themselves? It's a scary thought for most people who rely on the web for their livelihood, and all the more reason to stick with tried and true methods.