I like to beat up on Flash a lot, but there’s no way to argue that it hasn’t delivered a ton of value over the years. Here’s Adobe’s John Nack arguing making the argument:
But let’s also be honest and say that Flash is the reason we all have fast, reliable, ubiquitous online video today. It’s the reason that YouTube took off & video consumption exploded four years ago. It’s the reason we have Hulu, Vimeo, and all the rest–and the reason that people now watch billions of videos per day (and nearly 10 hours apiece per month) online. Without it, we’d all still be bumbling along.
Read the whole thing. (Via Webmonkey.)
January 29, 2010 at 12:07 am
Glad to see there’s more to this than “Of course he does!”
I think “Without it, we’d all still be bumbling along” is somewhat debatable, though. There’s no doubt that Flash-based video has had a huge impact, with the sites he mentioned and thousands of other lower-profile sites as well. Even though I’m decisively in the anti-Flash camp, I still use it regularly in my sites for a few things, most notably to create a superior file upload process (using YUI Uploader), and of course, embedded video.
That said, as much as Flash has helped make video a ubiquitous part of the web experience (the one really positive thing I can think of about Flash), I think you could just as easily argue that it has significantly hampered the adoption of a superior, plugin-free approach: the HTML5 video tag. Why bother pushing for broader support of HTML5 when Flash works so well? This is exactly what Adobe wants us to think.
January 29, 2010 at 12:15 am
Sure, but I think the argument is that without the Flash video track record of success, people wouldn’t have even added the video tag to HTML5. It’s thanks to Flash that everyone came to expect that you could just stick video in Web pages the same way you can images and that it will just work for everyone. I’d love to move beyond it, but I have no problem giving credit where it’s due.
Web sites built in Flash are a different story for me. Die die die.
January 29, 2010 at 2:16 am
Past results are no guarantee of future returns. Computers, the Internet, and the web are all about ‘what have you done for me lately’ and I’m not sure what the future for Flash is with HTML5 coming on strong. Oh, I guess they can still count on IE. For now.
January 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Without it, something else would have filled the same role.
January 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm
I’d love to see HTML5 video become the standard way we watch video but, there are two factors (among others) holding it back:
We can’t get everyone to agree on one codec. Right now, it’s split between H.264 and Ogg Theora (see this Ars Technica article: http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/decoding-the-html-5-video-codec-debate.ars)
Internet Explorer (IE6,IE7,IE8 and maybe IE9 when it comes out). It owns somewhere from 60-80% of the market (depending on whether you’re looking at worldwide use or at work), and it doesn’t support HTML5 video.
Currently, only a small percentage of surfers use a browser that supports HTML5 video. And you you have to encode the video twice (once for Ogg Theora browsers, and once for H.264 supporters) vs. once for Flash video.
Finally, standards based tech (like HTML5 video) take a long time to become universally supported in a way that the masses can use (witness CSS1, CSS2, SVG … um, scratch SVG).
Until then, we’re stuck with Flash video (resource hogging warts and all).