Flash Takes It in the Teeth

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Flash.

First you had some quotes from Steve Jobs of this ilk:

Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash. The world is moving to HTML5.

Ouch.

Adobe quickly put out a statement that they never ship Flash with known crash bugs (I’m not sure whether they did themselves any service with that remark), and then someone quickly proved they did. If you click on this link your browser will likely explode. It’s a Flash bug first reported in 2008. Only the 10.1 beta is safe.*

With support for HTML5 video and canvas, Flash is in trouble. If you’re using anything but IE, check this out. No Flash or Silverlight or Java here - just HTML5 canvas and JavaScript. The biggest supports under the Flash tent are market share, the lack of a specified coded for HTML5 video and, ironically, Internet Explorer, since they don’t offer much in the way of HTML5 support yet. If there was a HTML5 standard video codec and IE supported it, I don’t think their market share would last long. Big sites like YouTube are already experimenting with HTML5 video (h.264). And with breakout gadgets like the iPhone and (less likely) iPad not supporting Flash, consumers will demand alternatives.

Every time I hear about devs (some of my co-workers included) choosing the Flex API for AGS I have to bite my lip. With the life span of web mapping sites they’re probably more than safe going with Flash - it’s slide will likely be long and slow. But I think that slide is becoming inevitable.

*btw, if you have a supported graphics card the 10.1 beta will hit the GPU rather than clobber your CPU. It’ll keep your media center PC from eating itself.