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Software Graphics Technology

Adobe's New HTML5 Design Tool No Threat To Flash 110

pbahra writes "It is a reflection of the huge interest in HTML5 as a possible alternative to Flash that Adobe's launch of a very early preview of a toolkit for professional web developers immediately became a trending topic on Twitter. What has excited people is Adobe's statement that Edge will, 'bring animation, similar to that created in Flash Professional, to websites using standards likes HTML, JavaScript and CSS.' Across the web some headline writers been almost apocalyptic. Beta News, for instance, talks of The Final Days of Flash while SlashGear says, 'Adobe Edge HTML5 app could eat Flash from the inside.' Many analysts, however, are more sanguine. 'People have shown that you can do animation with HTML5, but it's not nearly as well realized as with Flash,' said James Governor, an industry analyst at RedMonk."
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Adobe's New HTML5 Design Tool No Threat To Flash

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday August 01, 2011 @04:58PM (#36953218)

    Translation: Many of the privacy-robbing features built into Flash at the behest of advertisers have no good HTML5 analog... yet.

    • The real problem with this, is that soon advertisers will start making canvas ads instead of flash ads, and then what have end users really gained? The reason that Flash is hated is mostly because it's been misused. And now it will be easy to misuse HTML5/canvas too.
      We can now use Javascript to do the same stuff that flash could for many years. Don't take me wrong. I love programming in javascript, and I like that I can now do these things. But what do normal, non-programming users get out of this? That they don't need a plugin? I'd bet most normal users doesn't even know what is flash and what is not. And the way I see it, the canvas-renderer isn't somehow more magic than the flash-engine. Except that it's built into the browser, but you could argue that you could just as well do that with Flash.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When it's built into the browser, you're guaranteed to have multiple implementations. This is bad for browser developers (duplication of effort) but good for users (competitive pressure). Expect less bugs than with the monoculture of flashplayer.

        Then there's the benefit that several of those implementations will be open source. Which means where Flash pukes all over a non-typical sound setup (e.g. using microphone input from a different card than the speaker output), and you have to either reconfigure your

      • What I'd really like is to be able to create a .zip file, with an extension htmlz, or .htpkg or something that has an index.html inside of it as a default point... then have browsers support packagename.htpkg#!/somefile.ext where they request packagename.htpkg, and use that archive for the files within it... That way you can have archived sets of files, html, css, javascript, images etc as a single control set that can be used for in/out of browser usage.

        When Adobe first bought Macromedia, I was really
        • You're basically describing the ePub format.

        • MAFF is similar to what you're looking for (zip storage), but it's really only supported by Mozilla's browsers.
          http://maf.mozdev.org/maff-file-format.html [mozdev.org]

          And then there's Microsoft's original MHTML (MIME HTML) that uses a mime format like e-mail.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MHTML [wikipedia.org]

          It looks like Safari on Macs have the Webarchive format, but they mention that most people just use PDFs:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webarchive [wikipedia.org]

          ePub has some similarity as Thomas mentions.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPUB [wikipedia.org]

        • by guruevi ( 827432 )

          Why don't you just do it all in HTML? I created a 'web app' in a single HTML file (Requirements were interactive, universal (mobile, desktop, linux, mac, windows) offline access to a database and sending people a directory structure was just unacceptable).

          Before that it was an Excel file but then the iPhone came along and Mac's were always left out and Office 2010 eventually ate the VBScript.

          I created the full structure and intelligence to fetch the repetitive database stuff in PHP. Then to export it, the C

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        The real problem with this, is that soon advertisers will start making canvas ads instead of flash ads, and then what have end users really gained? The reason that Flash is hated is mostly because it's been misused. And now it will be easy to misuse HTML5/canvas too.

        The problem is, Flash has way less customizability than my browser.

        With NoScript, I can control where Javascript comes from. That HTML ad? Blocked and rejected. But if I was using some Flash app and it ran an ad, I have no way of controlling it

        • I disagree. I don't bother with NoScript or anything like that, but I always install some plugin on any browser I use that stops Flash from running until I click on it. Flash adverts just show up to me as a grey button. It's much harder to filter canvas elements, because JavaScript scripts all run in the same context. If you disable the canvas element, then it's trivial for other scripts to avoid showing you the rest of the content.
      • You can use it on your iWhatever. I guess that's one major advantage.

      • No, the reason I hate flash (and PDF) is that on top of Windoze holes, I now have Adobe flash holes, and unlike Windoze holes, they Adobe affects all my browsers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well some people hate flash because it is
        1. Proprietary
        2. Bulky and slow

        Its true that misuse by advertisers is annoying, but that's not the reason people want to see it die.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          The number of people that hate flash because it's proprietary would barely fill a full length school bus.

      • The problem is that it does not produce a canvas. It uses divs and CSS. Add to that the lack of a scripting window and I think what you have here is just a cute, memory intensive animation tool.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      You are not an animator. HTML5 Canvas was not designed for animation. Flash is a better animation tool. That said, no one will argue its best purpose is to adorn the dung-heap of history.

      • HTML5 Canvas was not designed for animation

        I'm pretty sure it is. Canvas lets you draw vector art and composite images (sprites) using a PDF-like display model and and animate them by changing the display based on a timer event. Flash, in contrast, is quite different. It lets you draw vector art and composite images (sprites) using a PDF-like display model and animate them by changing the display based on a timer event.

        • Not so. Canvas doesn't do sprites. You draw your vectors on the image, but as soon as your draw call returns, there's nothing persistent; no data structure is left around, just a bunch of pixels in an image buffer somewhere. This is one reason Raphael [raphaeljs.com] is still gaining developers. It's much easier to manipulate embedded SVG through JavaScript than the canvas.

          The canvas tag is much more "fire and forget." There's also no decent scene graph library for canvas yet. Lots of web developers like me writing for-pla

          • You need to check the spec [whatwg.org]. Canvas permits compositing images. In a typical implementation, these will be stored as textures on the GPU and composited in hardware (unlike Flash, which does it on the CPU, to keep your laptop nice and warm). You're right about the lack of a scene graph API - canvas is lower level than that. If you want a scene graph, use SVG (or implement a scene graph on top of canvas).
    • by alostpacket ( 1972110 ) on Monday August 01, 2011 @06:02PM (#36953808) Homepage

      I thought the privacy robbing stuff was already there in HTML5 with local storage, and the like. It's the vector rendering animation engine, tools, text rendering, DRM, and ubiquitous video platform that are lagging. Isn't that the crux of some of the new "super" undeletable cookies? They make use of HTML5, JS, fIngerprinting, Flash, regular cookies, and more.

      There is also a highly subjective argument to be made that ActionScript far outpaces JavaScript in feature and elegance -- being more akin to C#. (Also possibly performance. It certainly had a JIT first, though Adobe contributed some of the JIT to FF for JavaScript IIRC, but I dont think they use that JIT anymore) . But that's subjective so take it as you will. HTML does have some long held advantages with regards to reflowing content though.

      There really are legit reasons to dislike Flash, dont get me wrong -- the privacy controls should be more easily discoverable and integrated with the browser. And it does hog CPU to give performance. But this kinda angry spite seems uninformed and unhelpful. IMHO, if people want Flash to go away, build alternatives, dont complain.

      With things like FlashBlock and NoScript we've got it (relatively) easy these days when we want to block unwanted content. But if we removed Flash from the equation, you will just end up having privacy invanding HTML local storage with CPU hogging sites that are renderd completely in a canvas tag. Bad sites and ads aren't bad because of Flash, they are bad because of the motivations behind the people that built them. Those motivations wont change just because of HTML5.

      Do people forget the GIFs that used to blink and fly accross the pages of bad sites in the pre-Flash days?

      • I would say that having similarities with c# is not going to make a language elegant. I left flash development when they came out with as3 and haven't looked back. JavaScript isn't the most elegant language, but it is one of the most understood out there. And things like coffeescript help where it falls short. As to your concerns about FlashBlock (which I love), browser vendors will add similar features. Just like popup blockers. Remember when there were no popup blockers? Now everybody has one. We just ha
        • JavaScript isn't the most elegant language, but it is one of the most understood out there.

          It's also one of the most misunderstood languages too :)

      • There really are legit reasons to dislike Flash, dont get me wrong -- the privacy controls should be more easily discoverable and integrated with the browser. And it does hog CPU to give performance.

        Those aren't the only complaints. It's also essentially proprietary. It creates problems in dealing with text (text isn't necessarily searchable or selectable). Deep linking is still a problem. There are other subtle but serious problems that aren't coming to mind at the moment. Flash is a problem, and at this point the only valid uses that I can think of is video playback or games.

      • Do people forget the GIFs that used to blink and fly accross the pages of bad sites in the pre-Flash days?

        Actually, a lot of people--and even some website and interface designers, weren't actually "around" in those days. Around as in, surfing the web.

  • by instagib ( 879544 ) on Monday August 01, 2011 @05:01PM (#36953254)

    ... because there a thousands of Web "developers" who are too lazy or too dumb to learn correct code.

    • Are you saying that Flash is never a good idea to put online? For the past 10-plus years there have been several applications for which Flash is perfectly suited and for which there haven't been any decent alternatives. What are all of the lazy and dumb "developers" supposed to use if Flash is so verboten? If you want an example, use online training courses. Explain how I can create an online training course that takes 12 hours to complete and includes narration, video, non-video animation, other audio,

      • Are you saying that Flash is never a good idea to put online?

        No - and you already gave a good example of a useful application. But Flash is annoying when used for menus or any other way to access static content, or the entire site is just one big Flash file.

    • by Tei ( 520358 )

      you mispelled flash developers or designers. These that don't want HTML, to begin first, and Flash give other "option".

    • That kind of thinking is what will kill Internet as we know it. . Web 'developers' (yes, with ' ') are the kind of people that turned the internet something really different from TV, Radio and other kind of media that only a few people could use. . 'correct code' usually means a code that just a professional could write. And that's not the kind of Internet I want.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I was going to reply with this:

        Me too!

        but I am afraid you would miss the point entirely, and think I was sincerely agreeing with you, since that's the way your kind comport themselves.

        So instead, I shall drop the sarcasm and speak plainly:
        Believe it or not, the internet existed before all you proud non-professionals got dial-up ISPs. And most people (who were actually online then) say it was a better place in most ways. Moreover, if you think the internet, or even the web, is in any significant degree composed of

        • I'm not sure what era you're talking about. Was the web better in the Geocities era, when every other web page had a dozen animated GIFs and a MIDI background track? Or was it better before then? Because I still have a map of the Internet from before that era, and it shows all of the web sites in the UK - well under a hundred of them, and one was the Swansea University Surfing Society (some members were physicists and one of the lecturers got back from a trip to CERN just after the Web was launched, with

    • Because there are thousands of new "developers" unwilling to learn correct FORTRAN.

      /Silly flamebait is silly

    • by popo ( 107611 )

      Give it a break. How on Earth did you not get modded, Troll? Are you saying that the developers who made YouTube (Flash based), Google Analytics (Flash based) and 99% of games which have taken the web by storm (Flash based), just don't know how to write "correct" code?

      Every time somebody sends me a link of something supposedly "impressive" in HTML5, it looks weaker than old FutureSplash 1.0 stuff.


  • Uh oh (Score:4, Funny)

    by MimeticLie ( 1866406 ) on Monday August 01, 2011 @05:05PM (#36953294)
    Adobe Edge? I think someone is about to receive a lawsuit from Tim Langdell [wikipedia.org].
  • Don't get me wrong IE 9 is really great and supports HTML 5 and CSS 3 and IE 10 looks like a full contender with Chrome/Firefox for sure. The problem is most users are still running IE 7 and 8. Add to the corporate users who still browse the net with IE 6 and you have a problem.

    Most web developers used flash as a work around with these browsers. The problem is besides a few tech professionals does anyone upgrade IE? Until then most webmasters should stick with flash. Oddly, I do see corporate crappy intrane

    • by dingen ( 958134 )

      IE7 doesn't have a lot of market share at all, IE9 is already topping it according to NetApplications [hitslink.com]. Most IE-users are on IE8 right now, so they're not that far away of using a proper browser, really. It's just a matter of a little time and those users will be on IE9, which as you correctly state offers a lot things other browsers have been shipping for a long time, like HTML5, CSS3 and a decent Javascript engine.

      IE6 is a problem when you look at the numbers. The thing is however, I haven't shipped a sing

      • by pavon ( 30274 )

        It's just a matter of a little time and those users will be on IE9

        No they won't. You can't install IE9 on Windows XP and according to your same source half of all windows users are using XP. They will continue to do so until they get a new computer, and if they haven't moved away from IE yet, they are unlikely to do so in the future. It will be a good 3 years before you can use HTML5 and expect it to work on most computers.

        • by smash ( 1351 )
          Given that the average life expectancy for a PC is 3-5 years, and microsoft stopped shipping XP in volume about 3 years ago, XP won't be around much longer.
      • by Lennie ( 16154 )

        The biggest problem for IE9 adoption is obvious: Microsoft has no IE9 for Windows XP.

      • by sgbett ( 739519 )

        All of the NHS. It's a nightmare.

    • IE6 has less than 2% usage in most of the western world, and IE7 is lower than 6. Really you only have to worry about IE8 unless you're targeting the far east.

  • OK, so why does anyone think Adobe is busy making an HTML5 tool if it thinks HTML5 is going to kill Flash? Hello? Adobe already makes Dreamweaver. It also already makes Flash. The summary reads as though upstart Adobe is running in to steal Flash's lunch, when Flash's lunchbox has Adobe's name on it.

    • The simple fact is that HTML5 does not support DRM. If it wants to remain an open architecture, able to be implemented by anyone, it can never support DRM. That is why Flash has nothing to worry about until something better AND closed source comes along.
    • by pavon ( 30274 )

      OK, so why does anyone think Adobe is busy making an HTML5 tool if it thinks HTML5 is going to kill Flash?

      Because HTML5 is going to take some of Flash's market share (more and more as capabilities improve), and they would rather transition to selling HTML5 tools than to loose all those customers.

    • OK, so why does anyone think Adobe is busy making an HTML5 tool if it thinks HTML5 is going to kill Flash?

      Does Adobe make any money from flash outside of the content creation suite?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    it's SWF that's going away.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a way to simply serve up raster video, Flash is an absolute waste of coding. It's like building up a shopping mall just to sell snow cones out of a stand in front. Talk to me when people start using VECTOR video that is photo realistic, now THAT will be worthy of using Flash.

    It's funny how everyone here thinks they are so smart, yet they have no idea what the true capabilities of Flash are for: vector based video.

    • by smash ( 1351 )
      Because just about zero people care about vector based video.
    • Not sure why you're marked funny - maybe the photorealistic part - but things like StrongBad Email use Flash for exactly that. It's a lot lower bandwidth to distribute cartoons as vector animations than as raster video. Unfortunately, while the Flash authoring tools are good for that, the Flash player is pretty bad.
  • I have a Flash/PHP app (with webservices/DB backend) that was written in those frontend languages only because there was no HTML5 yet. But now there is. What's the best way to go about porting it to HTML5? In fact, what's the best way to go about reverse engineering it into a spec for porting to HTML5? The legacy app was written over a few years on demand from a basic PHP app, but there's not a lot of decent specs for the current version. Are there consultancies in NYC that will do this for me?

  • I tried to look at their examples, but with noscript running the page was basically static. Does html5 rely on javascript? Or is adobe incompetent at web page design?
    • Adobe Edge right now is mainly used to make animations, while DreamWeaver is their tool for web page design. With HTML5, unless using CSS3 transitions, Javascript is generally required for animations. Adobe is using jQuery to animate the content, so if JavaScript is turned off you won't see anything.
  • I knew C/C++ quite well and didn't want to learn a new language. But I learned Flash in under 1 week. Flash is actually easier than C/C++ for a lot of things, so you end up writing code faster. With a garbage collection tool, it is harder to get a memory leak. If you know C/C++, it is extremely worth it to buy Flash Builder 4.5

    Here is a free to play game I wrote which took me 1 year in Flash. It will remind you of Gauntlet 2. [shockwave.com]
    • by JackAxe ( 689361 )
      Very Nice! Same here about Flash. AS3 is my personal favorite language. I also know Java and Objective C, and also scripting languages like JavaScript of course. I studied C and C++ examples to learn code optimization and what a difference it made. :O
  • Flash is a very capable platform which enables a lot of things Java set out to do, along with an extremely tight integration to designers tools. It's popular amongst designers because if you've ever seen the work-flow it's amazingly well done - unparalleled. AS3 as a language is much nicer and ore robust than JavaScript and can be developed using the free Flex compiler, which is written (strangely enough?) in Java so it's completely cross platform. Flash can also do a lot of things HTML5/JS can't do like re

  • Flash and HTML 5 both have their place, and HTML 5 does NOT replace Flash for more complex applications. Yes, animations are better left to HTML 5, but guess what, Flash is about more than animated banner advertisements, and it can do many things that HTML 5 just is not able to do. Just accept that, and stop complaining about how Flash is the evil that has caused all of the problems in your life, because it's not.

    • There really isn't a whole lot that flash can do that HTML5+Javascript can't. Perhaps you need to look at it better.

    • Care to give ANY examples...?
      • Here's a few off the top of my head:

        No touch interface support (full API in Flash, very early stages of development with HTML5)
        No alpha channel support on top of video
        No dynamic objects (captions / titles etc) or navigational items on top of video
        Can't interact (e.g. record from) a webcam
        Can't record audio from your microphone
        Can't create desktop applications with HTML5
        Very limited set of codecs (audio and video) in HTML5
        No built in color correction
        Can't handle binary data
        No peer to peer support
        No binary n

    • It's about the low-hanging fruit. Flash is a rich multimedia platform, but it's also used to make up for limitations of the browser. The reason that it's installed on over 90% of web browsers is that lots of sites use it for things that lots of people want (e.g. little games, YouTube video). If you can do all of these things without Flash, then there's much less of a point in having the plugin installed - it just increases the browser's attack surface for no benefit. This then makes Flash a much less at
  • The examples look pretty cool. However... The ad example alone takes about 60% of both my CPU cores. Both HTML5 technology and EDGE have a fair bit of optimization to do before it becomes actually useful.

"Dump the condiments. If we are to be eaten, we don't need to taste good." -- "Visionaries" cartoon