some points to think about between Flash and HTML 5

Discussion in 'iPad' started by smetvid, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. smetvid macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    Well the debates have been very interesting so far on the topic of Flash vs. HTML 5. I just wanted to point out a few things that I don't think people are really thinking through right now. There seems to be a lot of hatred towards Adobe but it is really the content people are upset with.

    1. Flash ads - A lot of people seem to hate Flash because it is used in ads all over the internet. Well if the world switches to HTML 5 nothing is really going to change. People will still animate annoying ads that eat up your cpu. The problem is that you may actually start to see more of them.

    2. Video performance - Performance of H264 video playback does seem to be a bit better then Flash H264 playback. At the end of the day it isn't just about performance however. Companies will only switch to 100% HTML 5 streaming when they know it can be supported on a very high percentage of the systems out there. There is also the issue of live video streaming and DRM or private streaming for corporations. There needs to be some level of protection in the commercial world for video and until HTML 5 has this companies are going to be very nervous about using HTML 5 for video. I work for a company that does global live video streaming for companies and I can tell you right now that they want perfect security.

    3. CPU hog - This actually isn't as much the fault of Flash as it is over the top applications running in a browser. Any language used inside a browser would bog down the system if an application is too complex. The Exact same is true for HTML 5 as well. There "will" be HTML 5 pages created by the same over the top designers that will run like doodoo on even a desktop computer. HTML, Javascript and Flash are all scripting languages and they are designed to run on top of a web browser which will never have great performance compared to a true built application. So those of you that hate Flash for draining your performance you will end up equally hating HTML 5.

    4. Turning off Flash - Flash being a plugin does have the option to turn off. If you don't like it you don't have to use it. This means not dealing with the performance drain. Try that with HTML 5 however. Since it is part of HTML how are you going to block ads or turn off the performance draining HTML 5 animation? You cannot. You will be forced to watch everything no matter how annoying it is.

    5. Content - Who exactly is going to make all of this new HTML 5 content in the next two months? Very few designers and developers know how to use HTML 5 right now. Sure there are a few examples on the internet but those few people who have made this content are like a grain of sand on the beach of Flash creators. I teach web design at a college and yes we focus on all forms of web creation but a large chunk of students all over the world are using Flash and normal HTML and CSS. Not one college that I know of has any form of HTML 5 foundation to teach new students. So who exactly is going to replace Flash content with HTML 5 content. It doesn't just magically happen because Apple said it will. The way I look at it is that it is going to take at the very least two years for web community to adapt to HTML 5 on a professional level. I'm not talking neat examples but actually using it in a professional environment with clients. I'm not saying the switch may never happen but that the transition is going to take at least 2 to 4 years. During that time many websites that already paid a lot of money for their Flash content will keep that content. That means no support on the Ipad. The economy is bad and nobody wants to pay somebody to build their site all over again.

    6. over the top websites - HTML 5 will not stop this at all. In fact it will make it worse. Right now most Flash based websites are limited to companies, artists and designers. Most people don't make their own personal sites with Flash. With HTML 5 that will change. Everybody under the sun will create animation just because they can and every site on the internet will hog a part of your cpu.

    7. An open web? - Open means not shutting everybody else out. Open means commercial options will also work. It isn't just Flash that is limited on the Ipad. There is Shockwave, Windows Media, Unity3D, Silverlight just to name a few examples of internet technology besides Flash. A lot of technological advanced happen because of these companies and part of what they have created is why we are getting HTML 5 in the future. Do we really want to shut out the next form of technology for the internet because it doesn't fit with Apple's closed system? Apple and the web consortium cannot develop everything for the web and we need to keep the web open so new technologies can be developed. Sometimes they may fail but sometimes they succeed like Flash has.

    8. Adobe controlling the web? - Not really. A lot of web sites are still HTML based. Flash is mainly a visual addition to the process. Adobe also doesn't really make any money off of Flash. Adobe saw a need to make the web a more visual experience and they did so when nobody else was doing it. Love them or hate them but you cannot change the fact that up until now there was no HTML 5. Maybe if there was an alternative things would be different today but the fact is that the only real option was Flash. Besides how is Flash everywhere any different then Apple controlling software development on the Iphone and Ipad? Apple is much more controlling then Adobe has ever been with Flash. Sure with Adobe you have to buy the development software but once you do you can create and share as much Flash as you want without having to give Adobe a piece of the pie. Adobe also doesn't tell people what to create. In some ways this makes Adobe and Flash much more open then Apple. Open in the sense that we are free to develop design and distribute how and where we want to. You really cannot accuse one company of proprietary software and not the other.

    9. Flash performance on the Ipad - Apple says performance is bad. Adobe wants to work with Apple to make it better. I say why not let them try. What if Adobe could make Flash perform very well on the Ipad? I think that if both the companies worked together they could get the performance better then what HTML 5 could ever do with the cpu or gpu.
  2. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008

    Adobe doesn't need Apple's help to fix flash for OSX, they just choose not to.
  3. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Says you. Apple keeps a lot of the graphics underpinnings of OS X to themselves. That's why graphics cards need to be supported by Apple instead of the graphics card company supporting OS X.
  4. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    There's just so much ignorance in your post.

    HTML5 video and audio tags are just as simple to disable as Flash. Extensions will make these minor changes as HTML5 becomes more prominent.

    HTML H.264 playback is a little bit better than Flash H.264? Try more like a LOT better. If you don't believe me, try YouTube or Vimeo's HTML5 version with Activity Monitor running. Then compare to the Flash counterpart. JavaScript, etc. that you mention have nothing to do with HTML5, by the way.

    As for letting Adobe try, they did. Flash on platforms other than Windows (e.g., Mac OS X and Linux) uniformly stink. Actions speak louder than words. Make Flash great on Mac and they will gain a lot more support (other than Adobe employee/educator like you).

    HTML5 is relatively new. Many Flash website won't switch over to HTML5 for simple facts like codec issue (Firefox and Opera support Ogg only, Chrome and Safari H.264 only). And for some, particularly smaller operators, hosting both Flash and H.264 video files mean substantially higher storage requirement.

    As the marketshare of HTML5 increases, however, many will support both. Heck, many pr0n sites are doing this now.

    As for "very few designers and developers know how to use HTML 5" claim, have you looked at HTML5 spec? I am surprised that you teach web development because HTML5 is very easy to develop. But because it is so new, there are some browser and codec issues. There are efforts toward open source HTML5 audio and video wrappers and frameworks, making this issue even less relevant.

    Just as poor developers and designers will continue to make crappy websites and applications regardless of the technologies behind them, folks will continue to use ad/content block extensions.

    I actually agree with these points. A company (Apple, Adobe, Microsoft) shouldn't be allowed to control the Internet. That said, HTML5 isn't shutting Adobe out. It's Apple on some of their tightly controlled products that isn't allowing Flash. I suspect when and if Adobe delivers good Flash plugin for Mac OS X, Apple may loosen their leash on the App Store. But that said, I don't understand why Apple won't allow Adobe to develop a Flash app that runs separate from Safari now (minus ActionScript and other features that may constitute a violation of SDK agreement), sort of like how clicking on YouTube link or App Store link launch respective app.
  5. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Could you then explain why Flash sucks on Linux too? Or every platforms other than Windows?
  6. Sketh macrumors 6502


    Sep 14, 2007
    HTML5 ads are no where near as CPU intensive as Flash ads.

    A HTML5 ad won't show any jump in CPU use more often than not.

    Flash will almost ALWAYS slam your CPU, no matter if it's a video or ad.

    There were many other points I could shoot down, but I don't have the time, and they've been covered before.
  7. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
  8. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    flash also runs terrible on linux. Who is Adobe going to blame on that one?
  9. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    The broad range of distros and miniscule amount of users.
  10. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    I don't understand why there is such a nerd rage to kill flash?
    Personally I would like the choice on the iPad to turn a flash plugin on or off.
  11. puffnstuff macrumors 65816

    Jan 2, 2008
    the main point and only point is

    1. HTML5, CSS3 animation is not ready to replace anything yet and won't be for a long time until developers start working with it. What better way to push development then to have the most popular platform not allow flash?

    The people b*tching and moaning will honestly not even notice the damn thing doesn't have flash. Many sites have adapted by streaming through Quicktime or allowing their own apps i.e youtube. In terms of games Flash can be ported over to a native app in the coming months which will be better for devs since they will make actual income instead of hoping for ad revenue.
  12. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I am making up statistics but I think I'm in the ballpark based on other posts/research

    But if the web is dominated by windows users to the tune of 90 percent and flash works well - then Apple should be working with Adobe however they can whether or not it's Adobe's "job" to do so.

    Because to the layman Windows user - flash works fine and they don't know better/difference.

    So for a conversion to HTML5 to work - websites would have to go in that direction - which some are. But not all browsers support HTML5 yet. That means that websites run the risk of their content not being able to be seen.

    And this is simple math. Do you use technology that 90 percent of the home viewer has - or do you change over and lose some of your audience.

    Apple wants to dictate (passively or actively) what protocol gets used but they are the minority for better or worse. It doesn't matter for now which technology is BETTER. It matters which delivery system has the greatest audience.

    Flash isn't going away anytime soon. It just isn't. For better or worse. The transition and adoption of anything alternate will take several years.
  13. Nerts macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2010
    I think not supporting flash was a bad move simply because HTML5 is hardly used at the moment, no matter what you can do with it. Who knows, maybe the iPad help push HTML5 out.

    What a concise and well researched argument you've put forward.
  14. smetvid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    Well considering I work with Flash everyday on a Mac I don't really think my post was all that ignorant. There are always two sides to every story and I can tell you from real world experience with using Flash everyday and designing content for clients that gets used everyday. I'm not trying to bash one format or the other, I just want people to realize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. More or less I expect the world to stay the same give or take a little bit here and there.

    I'm not talking about disabling audio and video tags but an entire website or section of a website including ads and so forth.

    I even said HTML 5 plays back better then Flash video right now. You may consider it a huge boost but I don't. Right now as I type this at work we are doing a live video stream through Flash to a potential new client. I am streaming two HD videos at the same time and showing them side by side in Safari and my Imac is using 15% of my cpu. You may consider this a massive drain but I do not considering I have Flash, Photoshop, Safari, Firefox and Dreamweaver open on this same system right now. I will admit though that HTML 5 is more efficient for slower systems which is awesome. My whole point however is that the corporate world is not going to give up protected RTMP streaming for an open standard. Maybe someday HTML 5 will have live streaming with buffering controls and dynamic stream switching but it doesn't right now and it is the now that our clients want. I really want to use HTML 5 video but I just cannot right now due to these issues. My clients just will not let me use it.

    You are also talking about HTML 5 from a developer point of view and not a designer point of view. Sure many of the developers will pick it up for the basics but when it comes to animation the learning curve is a bit higher. I'm not talking about the code for the animation itself but being able to create keyframed animation or animation that follows a path. Character animation will be next to impossible to do with code. 1/2 of the web community is designer based and they need a tool and the training to use such a tool to create the same workflow they enjoy with Flash. My point is that not everybody will want to code their website 100% and right now HTML offers no solution of a visual GUI design application or a group proficient enough to use it. Right now Silverlight is plagued by one major factor. The people that use it are programmers and not artists. Look we each have our opinions on what the web community is like all I'm doing is pointing out one side of it. I'm sure at some point Adobe will make a visual animation tool for HTML 5 but that time is not now and once they have one there will be a learning curve for the people that need to use it.

    Look I am also excited about HTML 5 and plan on using it but I just don't see it as a replacement of Flash, "yet". Maybe it will happen and maybe it will not. People need to stop thinking in definite terms and saying "yeah this product will kill this other product" As soon as I see a real solid reason to teach it to my students I will. Right now I don't want to take time away from solutions that are currently out there for my students. I make them aware of the changes coming but the fact is the jobs they will get right now are with HTML CSS and Flash.
  15. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    Didn't see the OP mention that Flash regularly crashes. It's a bag of hurt for many.
  16. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    According to the benchmark (
    AnandTech Tests GPU Accelerated Flash 10.1 Prerelease), Flash 10.1 is a big improvement over Flash 10. But even under hefty 8-core Mac Pro, watching a Hulu 480p programming in full screen uses 190% (450% on Flash 10) of the CPU.

    The same test on lowly Windows box drops the utilization to more reasonable double digit territory, although still high.

    The same test on my MacBook uses up all the CPU with fan blasting at full speed. HTML5 H.264 brings the utilization below 50%.

    You are talking about very specialized cases, whereas vast majority of the consumers uses Flash primarily for non-real time video, such as YouTube and Hulu. The exception to this rule is Flash-based games, but iPhone/iPad SDK is where iPhone and iPad are going. No one's suggesting HTML5's video and audio tags to create interactive contents like games.
  17. WytRaven macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    Orbiting Mercury

    First it's nice to see a balanced and well considered post on the subject.

    To me the main point that Apple is trying to make on why Flash should be replaced is that at present the web is at the mercy of a single company to provide all implementations of the technology. We see where that has gotten us. Flash runs "fine" on Windows but is trash on all other systems. Because Adobe chooses to put all it's effort into the market that has the potential to make it the most money and neglects the rest.

    However, if HTML5 replaced Flash for similar tasks then, as an open standard, anyone with a desire to do so can discuss improvements, optimum methods for implementation, etc. So it's more about ensuring that media delivery of this type can evolve in the open by group effort for the benefit of all.

    It doesn't matter if initial HTML5 implementations are barely better than Flash because by the very nature of the development model it will improve at an accelerated rate, unfettered by corporate agendas.

    Consider this to be application of John Nash's "original idea". Currently Flash, as solely controlled by Adobe, can bee seen as proceeding under Adam Smith's concept of how to succeed; namely everyman for themselves, do the best for yourself if you want to succeed. Whereas Apple is wanting to operate under John Nash's revised concept of how to succeed; namely do what's best for you AND the group if you want to succeed.

    I'm not sure if I have managed to eloquently describe what I am trying to say in the above. I can only hope you can decipher my meaning from it.
  18. smetvid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    I am currently watching Modern Family on Hulu and my cpu load is around 28% with the 480p video on my Imac. I do not consider that ultra high. Maybe my system is special but I doubt it. This is a base model dual core Imac with the Nvidia 9400 gpu. Although I do use Firefox so maybe that has something to do with it. I just tried the same exact show under Safari and I only had 23% cpu usage. So for me Safari is actually a little bit better then Firefox. Now perhaps it is my 3.06 Ghz cpu that is the factor here but that does not explain why a Mac Pro would have that kind of performance.

    On another note when I use my own custom made Flash player for our live streaming video at work I have two 1280x720p H264 video streams playing side by side in a Flash interface and I only had 15% cpu load with two HD streams playing at the same time. There are ways to make Flash play H264 video so it doesn't use as much of the cpu but clearly certain websites do not optimize theirs very well. Thats why I always say Flash isn't the problem, it is bad developers that are the problem.

    The problem with companies like Hulu is that are not just playing progressive download video like Youtube. They are playing streaming video that is protected so it is harder for people to steal the content. They also interject commercials at certain points in the stream which are random. Maybe HTML 5 will work for Hulu but I'm not sure right now. There are many other streaming video sites like that stream protected versions of their TV shows. Youtube may move to HTML 5 but many sites that actually deal with broadcast video may not.
  19. smetvid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    Look everybody, I have no problem with HTML 5 and in fact I am very excited about it. I am already looking into ways to pitch it to our clients but so far none of them want it. I am a huge fan of open source software and run Linux from time to time and follow the developments of Gimp and Blender very close.

    The fact is however that Gimp never killed Photoshop and Blender never killed 3D Studio Max or Cinema 4D. The main reason is that even though those products are developed by a community they are always a few steps behind commercial software. Professionals usually choose the tried and true commercial software because of the level of productivity and performance it can offer. Now of course a web standard is a little bit different then design software but changing the tried and true method is still going to be an uphill battle. I'm not talking about the video tags either but the animation and canvas capabilities of HTML 5. Flash also has the advnatge of being able to deliver any type of media. We can make web content, publish an executable for a desktop application or kiosk, render a video of an animation and soon we will be able to publish Iphone apps and Ipad apps from the same Flash project. It is going to be hard to give up that level of delivery options for professionals. Again I'm not saying this in regards to video playback but the rich media aspect of Flash and HTML 5. Adobe has Flash to fill a gap in the internet. It costs Adobe a lot of money to support Flash but the only real money they make on it is people who buy the software to create it. Adobe would actually make more of a profit if they could just build design software around the canvas portion of HTML 5 and be done with it like Dreamweaver. That way they wouldn't have to support the design software and the engine it uses as well. Of course this would put a lot of talented programmers out of work at Adobe but then again maybe they could all just make apps for the rest of their lives.

    I hope that someday HTML 5 can 100% take the place of Flash so we don't have to make sure clients use plugins but I just don't think that day is here just yet. I am just as excited as all of you but I also understand the reality of the web and have to curb my excitement a little bit. I make what the clients want not what Steve Jobs wants.
  20. Sketh macrumors 6502


    Sep 14, 2007

    If this is true, which I doubt, then they've done a horrible job protecting their content, as the same ripping program I've used for years is currently working for me now.

    Also, as for your 480p 15% CPU usage, that sounds about right, the video isn't exactly high quality, and your computer is pretty robust, so it's handling it quite nicely.

    A majority of the world is still running on 5 year old Dell Computers and chug along at even the thought of watching Modern Family at 480p.
  21. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    Smetvid, you've ignored the number one reason we should all stop using Flash. I already posted this before on these forums, but I'll post it again for you to peruse;

    The singlemost important reason we should all stop using flash — because it's proprietary and non-standard…

    Petition for Adobe to improve the poor performance of the OS X version of Flash

    Petition for Adobe to make a 64-bit version of Flash

    Petition for Adobe to make a FreeBSD version of Flash

    Petition to get Adobe to make Flash run on the Mozilla browser

    Petition begging Adobe to implement support in Flash for blind and visually impaired users

    …Some of those issues are old and have been addressed over time, some of them are still open petitions with thousands of signatures — THIS SHOULD NEVER, EVER HAPPEN.

    Adobe have shown in the past they don't much care for supporting low market share devices. Sure, you see Adobe jumping to support the hugely popular iPhone, but they'd previously never shown an interest in supporting flash on mobile devices. And their Flash support on OS X is acceptable today thanks to the large increase in market share, but even just five years ago the Flash support on OS X was terrible — it was low quality, laggy, and often used 99% of the CPU often freezing the computer — for many users it's still like that today, especially on Linux.

    The internet should be freely open and accessible to everyone, using any system they choose. The problem with Flash is that it's not open source… coders can't just implement Flash into their browser or operating system, they have no choice but to rely on the hope that Adobe will make them a working version of it. The internet should never be under the control of a single company.

    The second biggest important reason to dislike Flash is that it's the #1 cause of browser crashes. Again, this isn't something the browser developers can fix - they have to rely on Adobe to fix the crashing, and often Adobe don't have a strong commitment to doing this on smaller platforms like Linux and OS X.

    Don't get fooled by my strong words, I actually used to be a heavy flash developer. I even have a few major flash projects under my belt. But nowadays I won't touch it with a bargepole, and I'm really glad to see Apple and Google both taking the same stance. There's really no reason not to use HTML5 and CSS 3 animations as a 21st century replacement of Flash - They're standards specifically implemented by the World Wide Web Consortium so browsers will support the specifications natively without needing any sorts of plugin, meaning it also runs considerably faster than Flash; it's designed with accessibility and disabled users fully in mind; and best of all: they're open and free standards, so any operating system and any browser can use them, even iPhone. I appreciate that the standards can't do everything, but it can currently do about 85-90% of what Flash can, and the rest is quickly on its way.
  22. Sketh macrumors 6502


    Sep 14, 2007
    Thank you, EssentialParado, for saying that so well.
  23. smetvid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009

    Open source is not always the answer either. Nobody forces anybody to design with Flash. It is just an option and one that is totally free for everybody except developers. It may not be open source but it is open to the world. If you have a client that wants to pay for Flash then what is the problem with buying the software to give them Flash? You still have options to share whatever information you want through the internet for free if you want to. If Adobe charged for their player then I would agree with the argument that Flash should be open to everybody. As it stands though the player is free so if any of us make Flash content the entire world can see it for free.

    All of our projects are for the corporate world which sadly uses those 5 year old Dell computers and we stream live video to them with no problems at all. Maybe the cpu runs high but what option did we have over the past 10 years?

    I find it odd that everybody wants to criticize Adobe when they were the only company that could make a decent system for the internet. Where exactly were all of our great options for the last 10 years? There were none and now everybody wants to criticize the only company that actually had the nerve and ability to push the internet to new levels. Where were the open standards for animation? Why has it taken this long to come up with something and how long will it take for the next level of advancement? Most of this world is about making money and our clients want to use the cutting edge tools to help deliver their message to make money. I didn't make the world this way and I would love a world where Blender or Gimp were the standards but it just isn't.
  24. WytRaven macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    Orbiting Mercury
    Well technically it was Macromedia, not Adobe...
  25. franzmueller macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2007
    Well , I would like to thank to all contributors in this discussion , I ( very ) seldom read the entire post but in this case I found it was very informative .
    I would like to add ( as a normal and non techie user ) that I own both ; an ibook G4 1,2 Ghz and a Macbook 2,4 Ghz and when I go into which I guess is a fully flash web site , on my G4 it takes to load up to 50% more time comparing to my Macbook , often when I spend quite a bit of time looking for a case on my G4 , the computer gets hot and you can hear the fan working .

    I guess , it depends on which computer you use Flash ....

    Interesting topic .




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