Under the Bridge

Web Future: Flash Wars!

If you’re at all interested in the future of the interactive Web, you’ve probably heard of Adobe’s Open Screen Project to put Flash everywhere, which we’ll stake out our Official Position™ on in this post. But before that, here’s what we would say qualifies as a Do Not Miss series to read — since it pretty much follows our line of thought, just in exhaustive and well-written detail — Flash Wars at AppleInsider. There’s three parts to it:

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

Flash Wars: The Many Enemies and Obstacles of Flash

Flash Wars: Adobe Fights for AIR with the Open Screen Project

If you’re in a hurry, here’s your money quote:

Adobe seems to be hoping that nobody notices these problems and that its vigilant marketing efforts can entrance the public into thinking that a drawing app extended into an animation tool and then retrofitted into a monstrous hack of a development platform is a superior technology basis for building web apps compared to the use of modern open standards created expressly to promote true interoperability by design rather than retroactively.

Indeed. Now, as a disclaimer, when backed into a corner and beaten with whips, we will grudgingly agree that if you need to deploy a cross-platform web based rich media application right this very second! there is no practical alternative to Flash. As a matter of fact, before we took our headlong plunge into this brave new iPhone world, one of our last projects we were forced kicking and screaming for mercy into doing was prototyping the not-insubstantial Flex application you can see at VideoClix.tv. And if you want to publish or advertise on interactive web video right this very second! well then that would be the premiere avenue for you to explore, go check it out and enjoy your monetization experience.

However, the present is merely an interpretation of the past, and here Under The Bridge, we’re all about TEH FUTUR!! So, let’s look at that. With the announcement of the Open Screen Project, we seem to have most likely reached the point where all significant players for dominating the future of web browsing, which means mobile devices, have their starting positions drawn up. Ranking them in the order that we’re personally going to bet on their future, we have:

1. Apple: Touch Platform; OS X + Cocoa Touch + WebKit (CSS3; HTML5; SVG+SMIL); FTW!!

2. Google: Android; Linux + Java(ish) + WebKit; If you’re an OSS believer, this would be your platform of choice. We don’t see it stomping Apple, because we don’t expect any Android handsets to have the style and integration of the iPhone. But we do expect it to be, at least, a worthy competitor. In any case, since Google has shown the good sense to integrate android.webkit, the effort spent educating oneself as an iPhone web app developer will be directly applicable to Android deployment as well. Convenient hedge, that.

3. Microsoft: Silverlight; Whilst this is a gimme for the Windows desktop browsing experience, we do not expect it to be a major player anywhere else. And Microsoft’s OK with that too, we figure. The real point of Silverlight is to end Flash’s encroachment towards indispensability on the Windows-hosted web, not to replace it everywhere. Flash and Crackberry are the two threats that actually worry Microsoft, which is why they licensed ActiveSync to Apple; sure that nails the Windows Mobile coffin shut, but it boosts Apple into a cage match with RIM for the business smartphone market, which Apple will certainly win, plus props up the anti-Flash forces (indeed, we very strongly suspect that there’s a codicil in that agreement making ActiveSync licensing contingent on Apple sticking to its no-Flash guns). The enemy of my enemy is useful cannon fodder, or something like that.

4. Sun: JavaFX Mobile; This is a bit of a dark horse at present, and so far we don’t really see JavaFX gaining a lot of traction outside enterprise development where Java has its stronghold. However, it definitely merits major player status and at least a modicum of attention.

5. Adobe: Open Screen Project; In general, when you open source something voluntarily, that means you know you can’t win keeping it closed. Adobe knows this from Flash v. SVG, OpenType v. PostScript, XPS v. PDF, yadayadayada, and is completely panicked that the future of Flash now that they paid an insane amount of money to buy it when they couldn’t beat it is headed down that same no-win road. Thus this project, and their pathetically feeble attempts to find someone, anyone, that actually matters to try and prop up their fundamentally outmoded technology. Yeah … we figure that we’ll just go out on a limb right now and call out the success they’re going to have with this:

Check back in a couple years on how these predictions work out!

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

Flash Wars: The Many Enemies and Obstacles of Flash

Flash Wars: Adobe Fights for AIR with the Open Screen Project

If you’re in a hurry, here’s your money quote:

Adobe seems to be hoping that nobody notices these problems and that its vigilant marketing efforts can entrance the public into thinking that a drawing app extended into an animation tool and then retrofitted into a monstrous hack of a development platform is a superior technology basis for building web apps compared to the use of modern open standards created expressly to promote true interoperability by design rather than retroactively. 

Indeed. Now, as a disclaimer, when backed into a corner and beaten with whips, we will grudgingly agree that if you need to deploy a cross-platform web based rich media application right this very second! there is no practical alternative to Flash. As a matter of fact, before we took our headlong plunge into this brave new iPhone world, one of our last projects we were forced kicking and screaming for mercy into doing was prototyping the not-insubstantial Flex application you can see at VideoClix.tv. And if you want to publish or advertise on interactive web video right this very second! well then that would be the premiere avenue for you to explore, go check it out and enjoy your monetization experience. 

However, the present is merely an interpretation of the past, and here Under The Bridge, we’re all about TEH FUTUR!! So, let’s look at that. With the announcement of the Open Screen Project, we seem to have most likely reached the point where all significant players for dominating the future of web browsing, which means mobile devices, have their starting positions drawn up. Ranking them in the order that we’re personally going to bet on their future, we have:

1. Apple: Touch Platform; OS X + Cocoa Touch + WebKit (CSS3; HTML5; SVG+SMIL); FTW!!

2. Google: Android; Linux + Java(ish) + WebKit; If you’re an OSS believer, this would be your platform of choice. We don’t see it stomping Apple, because we don’t expect any Android handsets to have the style and integration of the iPhone. But we do expect it to be, at least, a worthy competitor. In any case, since Google has shown the good sense to integrate android.webkit, the effort spent educating oneself as an iPhone web app developer will be directly applicable to Android deployment as well. Convenient hedge, that.

3. Microsoft: Silverlight; Whilst this is a gimme for the Windows desktop browsing experience, we do not expect it to be a major player anywhere else. And Microsoft’s OK with that too, we figure. The real point of Silverlight is to end Flash’s encroachment towards indispensability on the Windows-hosted web, not to replace it everywhere. Flash and Crackberry are the two threats that actually worry Microsoft, which is why they licensed ActiveSync to Apple; sure that nails the Windows Mobile coffin shut, but it boosts Apple into a cage match with RIM for the business smartphone market, which Apple will certainly win, plus props up the anti-Flash forces (indeed, we very strongly suspect that there’s a codicil in that agreement making ActiveSync licensing contingent on Apple sticking to its no-Flash guns). The enemy of my enemy is useful cannon fodder, or something like that.

4. Sun: JavaFX Mobile; This is a bit of a dark horse at present, and so far we don’t really see JavaFX gaining a lot of traction outside enterprise development where Java has its stronghold. However, it definitely merits major player status and at least a modicum of attention.

5. Adobe: Open Screen Project; In general, when you open source something voluntarily, that means you know you can’t win keeping it closed. Adobe knows this from Flash v. SVG, OpenType v. PostScript, XPS v. PDF, yadayadayada, and is completely panicked that the future of Flash now that they paid an insane amount of money to buy it when they couldn’t beat it is headed down that same no-win road. Thus this project, and their pathetically feeble attempts to find someone, anyone, that actually matters to try and prop up their fundamentally outmoded technology. Yeah … we figure that we’ll just go out on a limb right now and call out the success they’re going to have with this:

Check back in a couple years on how these predictions work out!

 

1
  • http://www.READ-MY-STARS.INFO Jayne Roceo

    Hi there, Regarding predictions which I read on Tuesday. I think we might disagree on this, but I still appreciate your comment on Web Future: Flash Wars!.