Flash Player is not open == big fat lie; HTML5 is the saviour

Flash Player is open and SWF is documented

The core of Flash Player is the Tamarin Virtual Machine, which is an open source project under Mozilla. While the SWF file format is not fully open, it is documented by the community on osflash.org. Additionally, there are numerous open source products that read and write SWF files.

The Flash Player’s product direction has traditionally been heavily influenced by the community and their needs. The core language for Flash Player is an implementation of ECMAScript 262, which is the same specification for JavaScript. Flex also uses CSS for styling of components/applications.

There are also several libraries included with Flash Player that are licensed through other parties (i.e. h.264) that are not open. Thus, preventing Adobe from making the whole thing open source if they wanted to. Not sure that they would, but this definitely kills the idea.

Come save us HTML5 in 2022 AD

HTML5 has been in the works since 2004 and is still in “draft”. Its primary intent is to reduce the need for proprietary plug-ins (like Flash Player and Silverlight).

I can definitely see the benefit of not relying on a plug-in for multiple reasons. There is a concern if users will have the plug-in, but the bigger concern is vendor dependence. I think Adobe has the install base issue covered fairly well, yet it should still be a concern for locked down environments. To the bigger concern, I’d say that we already depend on companies like Apple and Microsoft quite heavily and that Adobe is far from a fledgling start-up that would be considered very risky. Naturally, I understand to the concern and will help my clients choose the appropriate technology.

The reality is that HTML5 is not coming anytime soon

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, claims that “the world is moving to HTML5″. How is that going to happen Steve when Ian Hickson, editor of the HTML5 specification, expects the specification to reach the W3C Candidate Recommendation stage during 2012, and W3C Recommendation in the year 2022 or later?[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5]

Should we hold off development for a few years while Google (Ian works at Google) finishes the specifications?

Finally, how many different implementations of HTML5 do you think there will be?. There will most likely still be cross browser compatibility issues to deal with.

Flash Player and Silverlight

I’ll sticking with vendor dependence that I can use now over incomplete technology with potential compatibility nightmares any day!

About Rob Rusher

In his role as Principal Consultant for On3, Rob leads an software development practice to help his clients build rich Internet applications for the desktop, browser, and mobile devices, and to rapidly increase their knowledge and skills to better support their organization's goals. Rob is an Adobe Certified Expert, Community Professional, and Certified Instructor. He has taught and mentored the technical teams at HP, Overstock, Paychex, SAS, the FedEx, and other Government and Fortune 100 organizations. Rob has co-authored four best-selling books on building secure, cutting-edge and rapidly developed applications using Adobe AIR, ColdFusion and Flex. He is very active in organizing and speaking at RIA, Adobe LiveCycle, mobile conferences, and user groups. In addition to growing his software consulting practice, On3, Rob has been building expertise in rich client application development on a wider variety of devices and platforms that extend the applications to change the way we all create and live.