Is It Time to Move from Flash to HTML5 ?

For years we’ve been told that the increased proliferation of smartphones would make sites made with Adobe Flash fall by the way side. Since Apple products and most smartphones were either not running Flash or not running it very well, developers looked towards HTML5 for media-rich content (animation, videos) that could run on a mobile device from a browser.

Benefits of HTML5

Now HTML5 is here and we can see the advantages. Because it is natively supported by web browsers, it does not require the user to download any plugins or players to run Rich Internet Applications. It’s open source, not requiring the purchase of Adobe Flash products for website design. It’s said to run 58% faster than Flash on Linux and the Mac OS. It is compatible with touch screens and runs smooth on mobile devices and laptops without causing the device to overheat.

browser-support

Why Stay with Flash ?

But do these advantages mean HTML5 should replace Flash immediately? Not so, since Flash still has many advantages over HTML5. It offers more advanced multimedia and animation tools to create animations and videos. And even though Flash is incompatible with iOS and has performance issues on Linux and Mac OS, HTML5 is still not supported on 50% of user browsers including all versions of Internet Explorer. Until HTML5 is more widely accepted, there are a few reasons why it might be best to wait before you look for a Flash to HTML5 conversion.

What is Adobe’s take on Flash ?

Observing the current trend, Adobe recently launched the ‘Adobe Edge Animate’, a suite of web development tools to create animations, videos and motions using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Adobe Edge combines the canvas tags of HTML5 with the broad functionality of Flash, giving a suite of more robust options for website design.

This left the community skeptical about Flash’s future and whether Adobe was gradually giving up on Flash. However Adobe soon announced that Flash will stay.

In near future, we can expect to see further enhancements in Flash as Adobe plans to add tools for yet more complex multimedia tools for complex animations and motions.

The Verdict

At this stage, HTML5 cannot completely replace Flash. But will it ever? The question may not be as relevant as we’ve been led to think because Flash and HTML5 may not be in such direct competition with each other. Flash has a strong hold on rich graphics and animation while suffering from incompatibility on many mobile devices. On the other hand, HTML5 is lighter and web-friendly, but lacks offline and desktop support. HTML5 offers numerous advantages with web-based video and audio support, but with its limited features it cannot completely replace Flash.

Should You Convert ?

There are indeed some major benefits to converting heavy Flash files to HTML5 on a website. It will increase page loading speed and performance, and it will be mobile-friendly and supported by more web-browsers. Flash to HTML5 conversion is possible through conversion tools such as Adobe Toolkit for CreateJS (formerly known as Wallaby) which can convert basic Flash files to HTML5. The process is more of manual. Google Swiffy can also convert Flash files into HTML5 and has extended support for ActionScript2 (but not yet ActionScript3). Swiffy, on the contrary, offers tools to automate the conversion process.

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