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HTML 5 Burnout? Or just a lazy Flash guy?

HTML 5 Burnout?  Or just a lazy Flash guy?

Steve Fulton posted on Gamasutra (originally posted on 8bitrocket) about “ Not Flash! The (Still) Angsty Zeitgeist Of HTML5 Technology Burnout . I’m not sure if this article is intended to pander to unhappy Flash developers, to be intentionally aggressive in the hope of gaining traffic, or just written without much thought.

To start with, Steve is (presumably deliberately) conflating standards that form “HTML 5” and various frameworks that exist on top of those standards. He mentions 12 standards in the article, being HTML 5, CSS, DOM, SVG, Web Workers, Web Storage, Geolocation, Web Sockets, Web Audio API, Media Capture, Javascript and Web GL (sic). He elso mentions over 60 frameworks and authoring tools, conveniently (for the point he’s trying to make) equating these to the standards they are built on top of.

Of course, it’s been a long time since “Flash” was just about fla’s and swf’s (again, Steve totally ignores this point). We now have “Adobe Flash Builder”, the Flex platform. There are, as I said, also many ActionScript frameworks out there – most of which also claim to be “the best way of doing things”, which when made as a claim by a javascript-based platform becomes a thing worthy of scorn in the article.

He also completely ignores the problems inherent in technologies like Flash and Flex. When I say problem-ridden, I’m talking about all the difficulties I’ve had trying to use Adobe’s own store (far more error-prone than say … just about any other ecommerce website I’ve ever used … and it’s S L O W) and also the complete inability to, oh I don’t know, easily copy and paste, scroll, share a URL, find something in a search result, work in a screen reader (although plenty of “standards based” websites don’t either, they have a better chance), etc.

The next part of the article seems to blame HTML5 for the mobile web as a whole. I’m as sad as anybody at the continuation of the browser wars, but since I also remember what they were really like if you wrote javascript at the time, I also think the world has come a long way in terms of “good” standardisation rather than browser vendors actively trying to out-do one another.

He also, amazingly, blames HTML5 for his own ill-informed customers. If he’s incapable of working with them to understand their own needs and how they can be fulfilled in the current landscape, I would suggest that his clients need a new consultant.

One of the very few (somewhat) positive statements in the article is as follows:

On one side, this is a very cool development. It’s an evolution and revolution, and we are happy to be part of this mini-tech bubble that has moved-in to fill the gulf left by Adobe when they abandoned the mobile web.

I’m not sure that HTML5 only exists because of the imagined “gulf” that Adobe left when they (sob!) abandoned the mobile web …. but, oh, the pathos.

I really LOVE the huge ignorance of this bit though:

Remember when Flash put DHTML, Silverlight, Applets, JavaFX, VRML, Realplayer and Shockwave off the map?

Steve, let me explain something. “DHTML” was a term coined, I believe, by Microsoft in an attempt to give a “brand” to javascript-based interactivity in (mostly) standards-based web pages …. which sounds an awful lot like, you guessed it, HTML5! Which is the very thing that is now taking over since Adobe failed in their sacred duty to prevent you having to learn anything!

The article wraps up with a bit more of a complaint that things require some platform knowledge and experience, instead of continuing to just be able to farm out variations on the same old schtick.

Sorry, Steve, that your “silver bullet” of a proprietary, non-platform-integrated (i.e. copy-paste, scroll, all other form controls), slow platform didn’t make it … but there are plenty of us who are revelling in the new openness and possibilities opened up by the fact that what people once demanded be built in flash can now be done with technologies that have so much more potential.