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The Battle for Developers: Flash vs HTML5

"Battle for developers" is a short and sharp description of the situation that has emerged recently in the environment that we all live in - the Internet. The Web audience can't stop buzzing about the "Epic Battle" between Flash and HTML 5. Here are some facts of this confrontation. The cornerstone of this struggle lies in a rivalry between Apple and Adobe. But now it is not a simple fight between two of the world's leading IT companies - it is more of a struggle for the future of the web itself. Internet never stops evolving and HTML 5 is the evident results of this process - along with Adobe Flash.

The Video Episode

It is not a secret that most of the web standards are very much tied to Flash technology and when such media giants as YouTube and Vimeo have started playing their content with the help of HMTL 5 in addition to the good old Flash and it was a huge surprise for some companies. Here are examples of two players that are avaliable on YouTube. The designs are almost identical but there are several details that are worth being mentioned. HTML5 player has original feature that allows to choose the connection speed - you can see this panel in the bottom left corner. Plus, since it's HTML 5 the player is so far supported by just a few browsers - but that's more like a problem of a browser, not the player. What's also important is that the HTML 5 player is faster than the Flash player.

HTML5 YouTube Player

Flash YouTube Player

HTML5 - Things We All Totally Love About It!

In our opinion HTML 5 is a great web standard that does have a lot of brilliant features that neither HTML 4 nor Flash have.

  • First and foremost HTML 5 greatly simplifies the creation of websites and web products.
  • Video elements. We've already mentioned that video elements thing and this is one of the best HTML 5 features because you can embed video without having to use any kinds of third party services.
  • HTML 5 facilitates your work with various web applications and this is really cool feature because it allows you to implement different apps even without having an Internet connection.
  • Another great feature is the new approach to the "canvas" element. According to the developers this element will allow you to design it all "on-the-fly". Here's a great example of using this tag - below you'll find a great model called Cloth Simulation. This model was created by Andrew Hoyer with the help of the canvas tag and some jQuery scripts.

Anyways HTML 5 is now a young and a very strong technology that keeps on growing in its quality and accessibility. We are not sure if many of you have seen HTML 5 in action so here are some examples of original live websites based on HTML 5 and you can check out all advantages and weaknesses of their design and functionality.

The Design Superhero

Lindsey Baker Photography



Martin Sarsini

And the winner is...

Adobe Flash is a very honorable and long-standing technology that never stops surprising the web users with the spectacular websites, functional applications and many other features. Though YouTube and some other companies offer an alternative to the Flash player it is still a very powerful software and the latest release of Flash player for mobile browsers speaks for itself. Now what about Apple? Why don't they just use Flash apps on their iPhone and iPad? Flash is really good but it stays a third-party application and Apple showed us that there is an alternative for Flash. As the result we all are in the middle of the battle between these two monsters and it is really hard to foresee the result of this battle.

Summing up everything aforementioned we can state that there are few things that are clear to us.

First is that HTML 5 is a great technology but it still needs some time to gain a foothold. We really hope that this web standard will take its place in the web design world. Someplace close TO Flash but not the place OF Flash.

And the second thing is that many experts (like Gizmodo and TechCrunch) claim that developers turned out to be in the center of this fight and the destiny of future web standards is in their hands. And it's obvious that the lucky winner of the battle will have to attract millions of developers since they're the ones who have the real impact on the industry's end user. No company is now able to either change the world or leave it unchanged only with its own resources - the world has to actually be crazy about you. Well, in several years we'll see who it's going to be - Apple's HTML 5 or Adobe Flash.

But one thing is obvious - we as simple consumers will without a doubt win whatever the results would be. So let's sit back and observe while trying to figure out the side to stick to.

In case you want to know more about HTML5 please feel free to check out the related research - HTML5 - New Old Semantics.

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Edward Korcheg

Edward is a professional technical writer who is also passionate about making stunning designs in Photoshop. You can find many useful tutorials in his collection of articles at MonsterMost.

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20 responses to “The Battle for Developers: Flash vs HTML5”

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  3. TEST RESULTS says:


    Some actual Test Results.

    Also, Apple is upset about Google Chrome OS, Android, the fact that they have used Flash Video to promote the iPad, the INTEL conundrum, and the United US FTC, State of New York, Japan, Korea and The European Union v INTEL – Although Apple use ARM processors for Mobile there is a 3 front war against Apple brewing because it’s starting to fear Competition and lock-out competitors; this is true on the Safari Browser.

    As someone who came from the Microsoft camp to Apple to get away from Anti-Competitive behavior, Steve Jobs fear of losing market share and fear of his huge mistake in exclusively partnering with INTEL for Desktop and Notebooks systems is causing him to panic and lock out everyone that poses a threat.


  4. cMason says:

    I love the fact that TemplateMonster states that Flash is the winner… hum, how many templates have flash in them on TemplateMonster, invested interest in my books.

    Flash has it’s strong points and will be around for a while but it IS an aging technology and Adobe has been lazy with updates, optimization for Linux and Macintosh. Additionally, if you want to stream with Flash, guess what… you have to pay the Toll to Adobe. Want to edit in notepad, ah you can’t… you have to buy Adobe Flash, Want to have access to API, ah you have to be a Adobe developer, $$$. But Flash is A LOT more interactive then HTML5 and offers better multimedia experience.

    HTML5 is gaining ground because, well you can edit in notepad, FREE… stream from your server, FREE (minus server bandwidth which applies to Adobe Flash Streaming app anyway.), Want access to the raw HTML5 specs, FREE. Now add on top of that no browser plugin required, meaning better security! You can do slideshows, flying text, drag-drop, local storage, etc with HTML5 and no memory leaks, CPU hogs, etc. HTML5 offers direct API access to the GPU via

    Now with that at hand, Adobe has interest in HTML5 and CSS3 for Dreamweaver because they know that Plugin technology is gone and open source standards are here to stay, so they aren’t just resting on Flash as a main source of income, smart… very smart. With Android, iPhone, Nokia, Blackberry, iPad, iPod Touch, GPS units, etc, etc. etc, supporting HTML5 as they can provide direct rendering via the on-board GPU, which offers 10x better power (less) consumption then Flash as a plugin can.

    The REAL war that is brewing is the standard Codec that HTML will be implemented… h.264 or OGG Theora. Firefox and Opera is supporting Theora and Microsoft IE 9 and Safari supporting h.264, while Google Chrome is supporting both. I see h.264 winning as there has been MANY dedicated h.264 chips on the market for about 5 years and used in DVD, GPS, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, etc. and TON of open source programs to produce h.264 content. Additionally, I see the LA MPEG group going after OGG Theora for patent infringement here soon to end the battle, that OGG Theora denounces… adding to that the base of OGG Theora was purchased by Google, it hard to see it ever getting any more support.

    Hope that you all enjoyed the read and please provide better HTML5 samples, Superhero isn’t that cool, checkout


  5. Will says:

    Ajax is a dodgy exploit and javascript is a great language that unfortunately behaves differently in each browser. I opted to purchase adobe flex to get more serious about web application development in a corporate environment, where we’ve only just moved to IE8 due to internal webapps that would only work with IE6. I don’t really have to be concerned about the browser’s behaviour and compatibility when I’m writing everything in Flex so to me, it’s far more reliable than the technology we have right now (HTML5 sounds like it’s going to be good, but how long will it take corporate environments to start using it?) Finally, if it’s Adobe that you despise, it’s probably still going to have dominance in web development no matter what – because what’s the bet’s most of the graphics you’ll be using with AJAX/JQuery/HTML5 will be created in Photoshop?

  6. dimi says:

    we will have Flash and HTML/5/ for a long time ,
    becasue Flash have a special purpose although it is disaster for the SEO and etc.
    but the Good news is that we can make and show Easy Video content without Flash implementation , Cheers 🙂

  7. Derek says:

    A few things that are obvious is that HTML 5 and Flash are completely different in almost all ways except that you can play video with both. Most comments have been basing Flash’s use on websites or primarily as the website, but there are other options that make Flash a very powerful tool.

    I am a graduate student at Bloomsburg University studying Instructional Technology with classes specifically for Flash development. We use Flash as a primary tool for eLearning and corporate training modules because of its freedom, flexibility, and amazing capabilities. We also use html for web design with an occasional flash application staring in the design. At no point could we develop eLearning applications to the effectiveness and magnitude with html, as compared to Flash.

    Lasting Thought: Flash has its powers and html5 has its powers, but put them together or use them for which they were intended and they will both flourish with usability and functions for time to come.

    PS: The Design Superhero website has some subtle but very neat features, it is worth a look if you haven’t checked it out yet.

  8. Andy says:

    The problem is, it’s not developers that should be deciding this. Us designers should be. Developers make for crappy tabular-looking sites that are all obviously created by lines of code (ok – slight exaggeration but you take my point). Designers are the ones who create the great-looking sites that have the user oohing and aahing. We’re the ones that incorporate the interactvity that makes for a great web experience – and I’m not talking about crappy “Web 2.0” blogs and messaging – that’s just another dull database function. Flash is a superb tool for creating rich animation media and I can create it using “design” tools, not code. As a Mac fanboy I’m horrified at the lack of support for Flash on the iPhone and iPad. As far as I can see, there is only one possible resolution – Adobe HAVE to release the code and make Flash open-source. That would stop HTML5 dead in its tracks, at least for animation, and at least for at least the next 10 years.

    Code is soulless – simply a necessary evil. Design should be the spirit of the web.

  9. David says:

    IE is going to be the biggest hurdle when it comes to actually be ABLE to use all of the cool HTML5 stuff.

  10. walter says:

    I really hope that html5 + jquery will kill flash.

  11. Marc says:

    If you have a business that needs income or new visitors via the internet, forget flash!! SEO is still a disaster with Flash.
    Flash is good to suprise your existing customers and is most of the time a prestige issue that cost a lot of money.

  12. Angelo says:

    They killed Flash with the iPhone fiasco! One way or another it comes down to development cost.. flash has always been a lot more expensive (unless you are one of those people who pirate their software).. Even jQuery made 60% – 80% of Flash obsolete for development of Web sites and web-based applications. Technologies like XHTML and AJAX are much closer to the future than Flash is… Reminds me of how the dinosaurs became instinct..

  13. Marc Sanchez says:

    Flash is an outdated technology that requires plugins to be executed, HTML5 is the future of animation, we can not currently do much with HTML5 but certainly the next future, thanks to the developers, we can develop more complex animations and flash surely leave his beloved AS3 to pass to export their animations to HTML5.

  14. Christo says:

    Javascript and HTML 5 will never replace Flash as an interactive animation tool. If Flash ceased development and froze in time perhaps in a few years HTML5 and JavaScript could possibly catch up, but it will constantly develop at an equal rate. This argument is silly and its clear these two technology’s will co-exist for years to come.

    P.s. Flash isn’t video, its just a medium! Video is a very small area of Flash and Actionscript 3.

  15. Tiago Ferreira says:

    I believe that we can live with both tecnologies working and improving our internet. The Flash and Html’s battle is the same that we compare Microsoft and Google in search engines.

  16. HTML5 says:

    HTML 5 is not owned by Apple…
    It’s planned to be the successor of XHTML 1.0 standard

  17. webmax says:

    flash can rule html anyway

  18. esmauro says:

    Cool thing if this two come to an agreement!

  19. emy says:

    HTML and FLASH could live side by side as before

  20. Inside the Webb says:

    HTML is so much more semantics-ready and works better for SEO than flash. That’s not to say full Flash websites are bad, but for this old web designer I will always stick to straight HTML code

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