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The death of Flash and the future of HTML 5

The future of Adobe’s flash technology has lately come into question. The next big thing in technology, the iPad, doesn’t support it, nor does the iPhone. In addition, HTML 5 has been touted as a possible replacement for flash in the near future.

The Death of Flash?

Slate magazine posted an article recently saying that the new iPad may kill Flash, pointing out that if the new iPad doesn’t support Flash, web surfers will find it incredibly difficult to view online video on many websites, like, say, the New York Times.

Steve Jobs, for his part, has said that Flash is buggy, and that Adobe is lazy. He said that in the future, no one will use Flash, and that the world is moving towards HTML 5.

Other complaints about Flash are that it’s difficult to modify, slow, and concentrates too much power into Adobe’s hands, and many say it’s bad for search engine optimization, since Google has problems crawling Flash.

How does Adobe react to all this? Adobe’s CTO Kevin Lynch responded to the attacks on Adobe’s Flash player in a recent blog post stating that currently, 85 percent of top websites use Flash, and that Flash is running on most of the world’s computers (98 percent). He said that the company is now just about ready to release its newest version of Flash, Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones, being sure to include Google’s latest goodie, the Nexus One. Addressing the iPad’s recent snub of the Flash Player, Lynch said, “We are ready to enable Flash in the browser on these devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.” Lynch did not, however, address Jobs’ concerns about Flash’s ‘bugginess’.

The Growth of HTML 5

So what exactly is HTML 5, and why are so many people talking about it? HTML 5 is, essentially, the next version of HTML, which is the language in which the internet is written. Its aim is to actually reduce the need for plug-in technologies, including, of course, Flash.

Today’s HTML does not support audio or video, but HTML 5 does. This means that once it becomes the web standard, we won’t need plug-ins like Flash in order to view the media contained on a given web page.

However, some are saying it will be years before HTML 5 can be fully implemented, simply because so many users neglect to update their browsers.

In addition, HTML 5 is bemoaned as “unratified, still-evolving would-be Web Standard, not a done deal.”  So, don’t place your bets too soon, but at least you know where the odds are headed.

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