HTML5 and Adobe Flash ... Why Can't We Be Friends?

html5-logo.jpgThe first draft of the HTML5 spec appeared in early 2008. Its design purpose is to eliminate the need for plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight or Sun JavaFX, especially when playing videos. Adobe Tools such as Creative Suite have enabled thousands of developers to make Flash the standard for 75% of video on the web today. But let's look at whose driving the standard. Ian Hickson is from Google and David Hyatt is from Apple, so it should come as no surprise why Adobe is odd man out. Refined standards take a long time to materialize; the Candidate Recommendation stage for HTML5 starts in 2012 and could end as late as 2022, but we're talking software, not hardware. Meanwhile, we are starting to see more useful implementations of the standard as it sits today. The recent iTunes Preview iPhone App is a good example of HTML5. The new Google Voice iPhone browser also uses HTML5 and leverages local caching of data. It supports voice tags that allow you to play audio voicemails in the browser. Is HTML5 advancing fast enough to overtake Flash on the web? If the CODEC debate of H.264 vs. Ogg Theora doesn't get resolved soon (H.264 has IP licensing and potential patent infringement issues), we will see a splintering of web browser support for HTML5 in the short term. For now, I'd keep some Flash developers around.