Flash, which stands for Future and Splash, may not be the future but it has definitely come a long way and it still has a while to go before it is abandoned completely. A while ago, I had the chance to look over the Adobe Road Map in which they outlined it’s future and it mainly hinted at video on demand services and gaming.
YouTube, last year, allowed people to enter an HTML5 trial to viewing videos. What’s surprising is that while Flash had problems of its own, I’ve had problems viewing content in the HTML5 player as well but it might just be because it’s something that’s still in the works.
I’m sure there’s tons of website out there still running Flash but from what I’ve seen most are already switching over. There’s this Wix website which used to let you build your own Flash websites in a very simplistic interface. They too have now shifted their focus towards HTML5. To me, it is not the question of will it happen but when will it happen? It’s end seems truly inevitable and Flash might just hang on to its life with some niche market gap that still requires it near the end. An interesting article by thenextweb in 2010 indicated how the web is run by designers and not developers. To some extent, this is quite true as Flash provided an external service to build and publish your work without much hassle. With HTML5, there’s not exactly a go-to-guide on how to get things done. Thankfully, Adobe Edge might help in this matter and once again let Adobe manage a partial hold over its development procedure. Also, the dozens of libraries available for Flash will also take some to be ported over to HTML5 or re-written. In this respect, the article also talked about how there’s still things going for Flash that have not been replicated in HTML5 such as sprites, reading of raw webcam pixel data and multi-touch support.
Recently, when the Samsung SIV was announced a few people jokingly suggested that it’s Air Gesture feature be used for MouseOver events in Flash (which could actually work out) in response to Steve Jobs’ letter about how Flash’s MouseEvents would not be feasible on a mobile device. Sadly, Flash development has mostly come to an end in terms of mobile devices. I believe the only way to get Flash Player on most new Android devices is to somehow side-load it (not sure if that’s worth it in the end). Steven J on ZDNet in his article made an interesting point about how long Flash would last on desktop devices. It’s been almost over a year and a half since that post, but it makes sense somewhat to gradually halt desktop development for Flash as well since everything is going mobile. PC sales, as recently reported, are already at their lowest and the trend is quite clear: if you’re not a hardcore user, you will most likely end up using your mobile device at least 80% of the time.
To me, working with ActionScript with Flash has definitely been an overall satisfying experience and it has helped my programming skills quite a bit. Plus, the fact that Flash lets you export your output as a mov file only makes it so much better (I just wish it had more encoding options for other formats).