Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Future of Flash

I've been developing Flash tools, specifically Flex, for a few months now, and my current opinion is that it's a pain in the ass. I've worked with various javascript toolkits over the last few years, and so far all of them make building a functional, attractive UI far less painful than Flex; the only thing Flex has on the other tools is the ability to integrate Flash elements and animations. HTML5, however, is on the near horizon, officially supported in all of the major browsers' current versions, and with canvas, svg, audio and video tags you can pretty much do anything Flash can do without the pain of Flash. All of Apple's portable devices, iPhone, iPod and iPad, support it (and not Flash).

In fact, Apple's stance on Flash is surprisingly harsh. My experiences with Flash in Linux back Jobs' assertion that Flash is buggy, however; I regularly find the Flash process spinning out of control and taking down my computer until I can kill it. On top of that, the universal binary approach Flash takes means that viruses can be built to infect any platform on which Flash runs, and one researcher even built a special virus as an experiment that would infect Windows, Macs, or Linux machines.

So in the end, I'm inclined to side with Jobs: Flash is doomed. There's nothing notable that it does that HTML5 doesn't, so Flash now has a lot of competition, and Flash just doesn't do much very well. Hopefully I can convince my company of this sooner than later.

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