Although some members of the tech community may claim that Flash is dead, it’s clear to see that it is still alive and well. However, its days may be numbered now that HTML5 is drawing closer to an official launch. The much anticipated fifth version of Hyper Text Markup Language is being hyped as the end all solution to web development, design, and browsing, but how does it stack up against Adobe’s long running Flash? Here is a comparison of the two.
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Though incredibly useful, Flash is anything but perfect, and if you need more proof of that, ask anyone trying to view a Flash-based web page on their mobile phone. HTML5 on the other hand, is supported by most of the newer mobile browsers, in some cases, exclusively. Flash has proven to be so problematic on mobile devices, that Adobe announced the discontinuation of mobile support, which leads some to believe that updates to its web framework could soon be abandoned as well. With that said, Flash is far more prominent on the conventional web as research shows that it is supported by 99% of browsers compared to HTML5’s 40%.
One task Flash is most commonly used for is streaming video content, which is something it does quite well, except for when running on mobile devices. HTML5 is capable of the same, but while it is supported by most major mobile browsers, the conclusion of this comparison may be surprising. According to a test conducted by the Streaming Learning Center, the two platforms are pretty much a draw in the streaming department. Test results showed while HTML5 is considerably more efficient than Flash in Apple’s Safari browser, that isn’t necessarily the case in Internet Explorer or other Mac browsers. The final conclusion was that neither platform had an advantage over the other when it came to streaming video.
The popular opinion in the tech community is that Flash is a resource-hungry application that forces the user’s system to work significantly harder to process videos, animations, and all the interactive wonders it has to offer. While HTML5 has been touted by advocates as more efficient in terms of overall performance, its overall efficiency is dependent on the platform on which it is running. Adobe may no longer be supporting the mobile channel, but it is still updating its core Flash product, and with those updates, the performance has been able to improve considerably due to better utilization of the underlying hardware.
HTML5 is poised to be the next big thing in the world of interactive media, and well on its way to meeting expectations. However, it could be years before it is in widespread usage, and with Flash being so prevalent in the current internet space, we shouldn’t expect a complete phase out. If anything, the transition to HTML5 will be gradual while fanatics try to hold on to what’s working and pump Flash for all it’s worth.