There seems to be a heated and highly polarised debate in progress about Flash and HTML5. There also seems to be a lot of misinformation flying around and some misunderstandings about what Flash and HTML5 are, what they can do and how the future of the web is likely to shape up in the next ten years.
Microsft, Apple, Adobe and Google are all competing for their own particular profit models and market share. Most of the debate and the disagreements have little to do with what the best technology for the web is or what’s best for developers and users. The link at the end of this post is a sober, well-informed article written by Jeremy Allaire, founder of the Flash MX platform, ColdFusion and Brightcove.
Also, please note that the developments in HTML5 RIAs that they’re talking about are in quite a long-term time frame by web technology standards. Don’t be fooled by Google’s “hard push” campaigns and their YouTube.com/html5 beta demo. Try it out in IE8 and you’ll see it’s still the Flash plugin video player and Internet Explorer still accounts for almost 59% of web browser usage, with versions 6 and 7 making up the majority share. Unless there’s some radical change in web browser user behaviour, we aren’t going to see a widely distributed full implementation of HTML5 on users’ desktop browsers for the next few years.