WebMonkey’s Scott Gilbertson posts on the future of Flash:
As browser support for HTML5 grows and the video codec situation improves, the new lingua franca of the web will become more evenly distributed and we’ll stop using Flash to display videos, animations and fancy text. The lure of the iPad’s audience will force developers to push HTML5 designs to mobile visitors instead of Flash. But as long as people keep finding new ways to use Flash that HTML5 doesn’t cover, then Flash will likely continue to be part of the web for some time.
I think that gets close to the crux of it. The other day, Facebook developer Joe Hewitt complained that innovation in the Web client withered as Web developers bullied browser makers into giving up the browser wars and focusing on implementing standards written by the W3C, and that Flash as we know it today was the result. The power of Flash was that it works the same in all supported browsers, and that Adobe was providing new features that browser makers weren’t.
The crisis Flash now faces is that Apple has made it clear that Flash will no longer be ubiquitous, as it won’t exist on the iPhone platform, thus turning “runs everywhere” into “runs almost everywhere.” As Web developers know, “runs almost everywhere” is a recipe for doing everything at least twice.
So if I were making a prediction, it would be that Flash will become more a specialty tool for creating certain kinds of applications, and less a tool for delivering content of all kinds on the Web. Now that Flash doesn’t run everywhere, using Flash to skirt around cross-browser Web development and add a bit of extra sizzle to Web sites just doesn’t make as much sense.