One of the dumbest things I heard tech pundits say this year – and more than a few did, more than a few times – was that somehow HTML5 was a threat to Adobe. The logic goes something like this:

1. Adobe makes Flash.
2. HTML5 does stuff that Flash does.
3. Apple blocks Flash from the iPad and iPhone. They say you can use HTML5 instead.
4. If you use HTML5, you don’t use Flash.
5. Adobe must be in big trouble!

Okay, whatever you think of Apple, Adobe, HTML5, or Flash, that doesn’t make any sense at all. It seems worth pointing that out, because what I assumed was obvious must not be.

Ignore that Flash appears very safe for the foreseeable future, and that Flash does things like animation that have nothing to do with HTML5, and that people are ignoring the AIR and Flex frameworks which are now on a growing number of devices, not a shrinking one.

Adobe is in the business of selling software. Their primary goal is pushing CS5. In some sense, Flash is just added ammunition to get people into an Adobe ecosystem. (And hey, more power to them – they’re one of the planet’s most successful software companies as a result.)

HTML5 is therefore great news for Adobe, because they can use it to sell more copies of CS5. In fact, in some perverse way, the fact that Adobe’s Flash developers now can’t use Flash on devices like the iPad is great news. Huh, why? Well, Flash users might be happy with the current version of Flash. But then Apple blocks it, and everyone needs to use something else. The company who can solve the problem for them: Adobe. (HTML5, for one, is complex and evolving and Flash developers may not know how to use it.) With recent changes to Apple’s developer agreement, Adobe can likely build a tool for iOS, too. And don’t forget Android – Adobe has an app for that. (It’s AIR, and CDM contributor Momo likes it.)

This is neither praise nor criticism for Adobe. It just is. And how anyone couldn’t see that has been making my head hurt. To try to explain that to other people, I’ve routinely been ranting about how I fully expected to see an email message in my inbox telling me that I could use this HTML5 thing just by trying the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite.

Well, this week, the email arrived. Please feel free, if you got one yourself, to print one out and mark it with a Sharpie that says “Adobe and HTML5 are not enemies.”

Happily, this is all good news for us, as it means Adobe is promoting some great emerging standards – even if you prefer a text editor to a lot of Adobe apps.

  • http://www,TweakingKnobs.com TweakingKnobs

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  • http://jansensan.net jansensan

    Wow, someone's angry!

    I gotta say that indeed people confuse a lot of stuff, but in the end no one is forced to use any tool they don't wan to. Create your stuff in Notepad for all we care, but instead of blaming the tools and getting into ridiculous religious tech arguments, create stuff.

  • yoo

    wow ….. man I suggest some meditation, a nice relaxing walk. That can't be good for your health. I don't get all the adobe hate either..If you like it don't buy it… Personally I've had fun with flash over the years.

  • http://www,TweakingKnobs.com TweakingKnobs

    i dont buy it , i dont use it.

    but i hate monopolies.

  • Peter Kirn

    Right, and frankly, if you like HTML5, having more people onboard — Adobe included — is a good thing. It exposes this new galaxy of ideas to a broader audience.

  • http://www,TweakingKnobs.com TweakingKnobs

    you´re right peter , sorry for my angry answer…

    i didnt slept much yesterday 8)

  • http://www,TweakingKnobs.com TweakingKnobs

    just a bit of sarcasm, how much ?

  • Steve Elbows

    Well given that HTML5 also tends to be shorthand for other developments like CSS3, I think it can be vaguely misleading to say that Animation have nothing to do with HTML5.

    But you main point is spot on – Ive been hoping that Flash will be relegated to a few niche functions in the years ahead, and I think its reasonable to say that these evolving web standards are a threat to Flash. But Adobe are a toolmaker, and as long as they make decent tools that can utilise HTML5, CSS3 etc, they will be able to maintain their position and revenue streams.

    And for all the good use people can make of HTML5 & CSS3 by hand-coding, we do need some great tools if we are to see the broadest benefits from the ui/presentation/animation side of CSS3. I expect the going will be relatively slow in some areas, and whilst the future for browsers & standards are bright there are still some pitfalls that we will be lucky to avoid. WebGL interests me a lot too, but again considering the level I like to work on, its too painful for me right now so I will stick with things like Unity3D until the tools are in place.

  • Brian

    Aside from its uses as an animation platform, and a bad one at that especially now there is lots of competent competition. Flash offers very little for most people that cant be done better in other ways.

    Flash is pretty much redundant and outdated. Its ill optimised which would be fine if most modern sites where not littered with flash based advertising.

    I dont think Flash is going anywhere soon, but I do hope its going somewhere, either away or evolving into a product that is more refined and suited to the internet of today.

  • http://gabesimagination.com gabe

    "Flash does things like animation that have nothing to do with HTML5"

    I feel like you are ignoring HTML 5's canvas element. not to be nit-picking this very relevant argument or anything, but seems like one of the most exciting things about html5 is increased support for web animation techniques.