It’s a loaded question, isn’t it? The kind of attention grabbing headline we’ve come to expect from the mainstream media who receive a substantial portion of the $691,000,000 (2010) of Apple Inc.’s annual marketing budget. So what of this epic struggle between Adobe’s flagship software platform and the open source, open standard HTML5?
Some sobering facts
- HTML was born* in 1995.
- CSS was born in 1996.
- Flash was born in 1997.
* By “born” I mean the first working versions of the respective languages and runtimes were released to the public, i.e. HTML 2.0 and Flash Player 2.0.
- HTML is open specification and great for flexibility and accessibility. HTML text flows naturally across the screen, browsers can apply anti-aliasing to make it smoother on the eye, the text can be resized (Ctrl + mouse wheel) which is perfect for the sight-impaired, assistive technologies can convert the text to speech for accessibility, etc. In short HTML is wonderful for everyone.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) defines the physical appearance (look and formatting) of web pages, for example defining text fonts, sizes, colours and styles, the arrangement of areas of text, images and other elements on the page.
In short, they’ve all had a long and productive history together and they’ve all contributed to making the web a richer, more enaging, more accessible medium. At one time or another, they’ve all had their critics and predictions of their demise. Will HTML5 kill Flash? More likely, HTML5 will gradually replace HTML4 and some but not all of what Flash currently does. No killers, no victims and not very sensational after all.