I have had enough of Adobe’s Flash. If there is a worse piece of software on a Mac or PC, I don’t know what it is.
It’s 2010, a full 15 years after the internet went public, and the de facto standard for web video is Flash. Why? Because there is not a valid standard for web page audio and video that is cross platform and runs on every browser—including Flash.
It’s time for Flash to retire.
Flush The De Facto Video Standard Flash
Without a full-fledged, standards body approved format for displaying video and audio on the web, browser makers were free to do their own thing.
Standards are important, though, and Flash filled the void.
For better or worse, Adobe’s ubiquitous Flash video runs on Mac or Windows PC, in Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome and other browsers.
YouTube loves Flash video. Porn loves Flash video. Advertisers love Flash video. Somewhere around 98-percent of all the worlds’ Macs and PCs are capable of displaying Flash video. In the absence of a video standard, Flash rules. Put another way, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. Flash, for now, is King.
Unfortunately, Flash is everywhere, and wherever it is, it doesn’t run very well, especially Macs, and most notably on mobile devices, which, if you’ve noticed, are selling like crazy. Flash has performance and ubiquity problems. Hardly a web page with ads doesn’t have two or three flash ad videos. That bogs down performance.
For Mac users, Flash is the biggest known cause of browser crashes. Flash doesn’t even run on mobile devices (the few that do it runs horribly). It’s time to move into the 21st century and retire Flash.
The No-Standard Video Standard
Long overdue, the W3C standards body has begun work on HTML5, which, amazingly, provides for audio and video tags. Drop the tags into an HTML page and the video just plays. Sometimes.
Even the HTML5 audio and video tags are implemented differently in each browser. Firefox doesn’t do H.264 video. Safari doesn’t do Theora or Vorbis (in an OGG container). Google’s Chrome does both. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer doesn’t know how to spell HTML5.
That’s not much of a standard to replace Adobe’s Flash, is it?
Why doesn’t Apple allow for Flash on the iPhone, iPod touch, or the iPad? Because performance is worse than poor.
Flash is a proprietary format which requires Adobe’s tools to build Flash components. Apple knows they can help push adoption of the emerging HTML5 audio and video standards through the sheer popularity of their new mobile devices.
Already, major media publishing companies are adapting their web sites to provide audio and video in HTML5 specifically for the iPad and iPhone, bypassing Adobe’s Flash. Google and other streaming video sites have begun moving videos to HTML5 so they will play appropriately on mobile devices (unlike Flash, which doesn’t play appropriately on anything).
This is a change on the web of monumental proportions, and, based on how slowly standards emerge, is moving along at a rapid pace. For now, there is no way to create a single web video that will display on all major platforms, all major browsers, and on mobile devices, without multiple video files. Adoption of HTML5 and flushing of Adobe Flash will put an end to that nonsense.
Who do we blame for the audio and video file format mess on the internet? W3C, the standards body who failed to act. Microsoft who acted only in their self interests. Who do we thank for the march of progress? Apple, Inc.