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Why now’s the time to explore HTML5 over Flash

By Evan Wade / July 25, 2013

Steve Jobs’s dismissal of Adobe’s Flash system in 2010 was a tale of high drama. By avoiding Flash, iPhone users would view the Internet with a combination of existing web technologies, including HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. This act of defiance changed the way HTML5 affects the world wide web.

Mobile users, though not the only ones impacted, were at the heart of the decision and the problem. If you’ve been unable to open a plugin or closed a horribly designed site on your smartphone, you’ve felt the effects of the HTML5 transition. It was originally difficult to see an end to the problem, and the move from Flash to HTML5 was awkward indeed.

Making the switch

“HTML5 Triumphant: Silverlight, Flash Discontinuing,” read the title of a 2011 MIT Technology Review article by Christopher Mims. It sounds like a Dewey Defeats Truman-era newspaper headline, but the context illustrates exactly how HTML5 will win the world wide web. It all started when Silverlight fell out of favor with Netflix, giving HTML5 a chance to flex its multimedia muscle. The result, Mims said, is a new HTML5-based front end for Netflix that will soon be ready for PCs and Macs.

When YouTube starts testing its own HTML5 platform, you know it’s time to make a switch. Users shouldn’t have to deviate from the stock browser on their smart device to see your company’s content. Your mobile site and web app should be just as useful as their desktop counterpart.

Imperfect solution

If your company depends on something only Flash can do, you’re already aware of the potential headaches. Flash-based games and menus are just a couple of the things lost in translation during the HTML5 switch. Fortunately, sites using Flash still exist. As long as your company isn’t completely reliant on Flash, you’re not going to be swept off the Internet. But you really should prepare for an HTML5 takeover. Your users will appreciate it — hopefully with their wallets.

What’s next?

There are already a boatload of new and creative uses for HTML5 hitting the web:

As a marketer or developer still running Flash, your objective is simple: stop, and start learning HTML5.