Yesterday, Adobe announced
major job cuts and a company restructuring, and indicated that their focus on Flash may not be what it used to be, by cutting off Flash development on Android and the Playbook. Meanwhile last week, Microsoft was reluctantly admitting
that Silverlight isn't a big part of their future either. The message is clear, and even if it means some relearning for long time web designers, it's time to switch to HTML5 if you haven't already.
Flash came early, and quickly became a very popular way for creative types to make web pages show more than text and images. With Flash, you could add animations, interactivity, and videos. There's an endless amount of web based games, full interactive sites, and of course almost all video hosting sites used Flash. Microsoft came in late, but introduced some very compelling features with Silverlight, including the fact that Windows Phones would support it as well.
But these plugins have problems as well. For one thing, they are more CPU intensive, and require more resources. Then, they aren't supported everywhere, with Apple devices being the big missing part. Thankfully, HTML5 came and provided a cross platform, lean and simple alternative. The standard is still not quite where it should be, and there are cases to be made for using Flash or Silverlight. But these trains have passed, and they won't be coming back. When the companies themselves become hesitant to provide support for their own platforms, it's time to move on.
Fortunately, going to HTML5 isn't that difficult. There's already tools to help people get started. We previewed Adobe Edge
a while back, which is an early development tool that can make it really easy to create basic HTML5 based animations. There's also a lot of demos
out there of things you can do with HTML5. Even popular game creation tools that have traditionally been centered around Flash, are now switching over, like GameSalad
, allowing you to make games both for the web and iOS in one go.
The road to HTML5 is not all joy and glory however. There are still issues
, and while the web is cross-platform, you still need to create custom CSS files for older browsers, mobile devices, and so on. Still, this is where the web is going, and if you design on the Internet, whether it's animations, interactive apps, or advertising, then you should get familiar with HTML5.