Why HTML5 Could Never Truly Replace Flash
Everywhere you look people are making assumptions about HTML 5 and how it is going to kill Adobe’s proprietary Flash platform, most of them are wrong and are looking at this whole argument wrong.
HTML5 will have features that will put it on par with Flash (it already does), but does that mean it will do them better? No. Flash is installed last time I checked on over 90% of user machines worldwide, if you compare that to the market share of browsers that currently support HTML5, HTML5 has a very long way to go.
Flash CPU Hogging
Flash has been known to be relatively unstable for a lot of people using Mac OS and even Linux, I’ve had my fair share of issues with Windows too, but Flash has come a long way in terms of stabilising CPU usage (Flash Player 10.1 is pretty damn stable compared to previous versions). The simple reason that Flash is a CPU hog on Mac is because Mac doesn’t supply the required hardware decoding support for Flash player to truly optimise itself for a less-resourceful experience. I can’t speak for Linux, I’m not sure what is going on there.
HTML5 Video Codec Arguments
The very fact that all supporters of HTML5 video still can’t decide on a universal codec, instead rather opting for their own implementations. Firefox’s video codec support is very different than that of Apple’s for example. Once more people start coming to the HTML5 table, expect most likely a bunch more different codec’s.
HTML Can Cause Problems Too
While people throw around the same “but Flash hogs CPU and HTML5 will fix that” argument, everyone is ignoring the fact that all versions of HTML can cause the same issues if badly used. You don’t think throwing a whole bunch of canvas tags on your page and using them for intensive issues like HTML gaming (which I’ve seen done) is going to make your browser choke?
If HTML5 gains more ground and say in 10 years and becomes the new HTML4, don’t expect everyone to abide by the HTML5 specifications and only use each new tag as it was intended to be used. Expect a lot of HTML5 misuse which is only going to create more browser issues and work for web developers.
Check out this example of a simple HTML5 application using the CANVAS tag and monitor your browser RAM usage and CPU usage, doesn’t appear to be any better than using Flash in terms of resource usage for me in Firefox on Windows 7.
HTML5 Won’t Stop Banner Ads
We all know Flash is used to power annoying banner advertisements, but you don’t think that banner advertisements won’t just be created in HTML5 instead? A flash blocker won’t be able to block a HTML5 banner advertisement, sure AdBlock could do it easily, but the fact that it will require some kind of extra work to write the definition files to block them. You’re essentially not fixing this problem whatsoever. Replacing one thing with another is not how you make a problem go away most of the time.
Flash Splash Pages
You think HTML5 will put an end to Flash splash pages? Think again. A HTML5 splash page, *cringe* – say no more.
Everyone is quick to bash Flash and call for its demise, but if it weren’t for Macromedia & Adobe making Flash the product it is today, video sites like Youtube & Vimeo would never have existed without it.
If it wasn’t for Adobe & Macromedia giving out their hard earned work for free (Flash Player, Adobe Reader) in the hopes that some will purchase the authoring tools, then the Internet would be a pretty different place.