I had wanted to compose and post this article from my iPad. Unfortunately, the WordPress app is very buggy and pretty useless at this time. The developers should be ashamed of themselves for releasing this product. This blog can be viewed from the Safari browser but any attempt to make a post simply is not possible. But this post is about Adobe Flash, not WordPress.
Computer hardware is always more advanced than the software running on it. Not too many years ago, before the invention of the Internet there were two competing technologies, Apple machines running on Motorola processors and PC’s running on Intel processors. Apple developed it’s own operating system (now at OS X 10.5) and Microsoft developed Windows (now at Windows 7). The Internet got invented and along came a third OS, i.e. GNU/Linux (Ubuntu is now at 10.04). Adobe Systems was an early software developer for all three platforms. After the invention of the Internet, Adobe Systems developed the pdf document format. The format was very popular and soon nearly every computer manufactured had a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader on it. But, because of it’s popularity, many “third party” developers released software to both read and produce pdf documents. These softwares contain no code developed by Adobe. In 2008 the pdf format became an open standard.
In the last two years a fourth computing platform has emerged. First in the form of “smartphones” including the Apple iPhone, and most recently the Apple iPad. These devices run on a variety of operating systems mostly Linux based such as Google’s Android, but the iPad runs on a mini version of Mac OS X. Apple and Adobe have not been able to reach agreement on how to incorporate Flash into the Safari browser. If you browse to a website with embedded Flash it will not display. How important is this? Is this a “show-stopper” for the iPad? For a few it might be, but for most it is not.
Apple devices come supplied with a YouTube application. YouTube supplies streaming video in H.264 format. Apple devices support this format. You do not need Flash to watch YouTube. NetFlix has provided an iPad app to watch movies and some television. You do not need Flash to use NetFlix. Some sites have implemented third party solutions. For example use your Apple device to browse to cnettv. A Flash-like window pops up allowing you to watch the video. It doesn’t have many controls but it gets the job done.
HTML5 is under development. It has an embedded video tag. I have no idea what codec will drive this but I am certain that every popular browser will support it. Flash is passing technology. As good as it is, in the near future it will no longer be the logical choice for embedded video. Web developers will want their pages to be viewed on as many platforms as possible. Mobile devices and cloud computing are where the Internet is headed now. Apple is a strong leader in the technology. If Apple and Adobe cannot come to terms, I do not see a future for Flash.
What’s your opinion?