My cents about Apple’s War on Flash

Mashable article “Top 8 Web Development Highlights of 2010” ranked Apple’s war on Flash as No. 8, and one comment tried so hard to screw Apple arguing there will be quarter billion Flash enabled smartphone by 2012. So here’s my ideas:

  1. Adobe did a poor job in the past:
    Stephane quoted the video demonstrating next-gen Flash video player performance boost:

    Ironically, the video partially justifies Apple’s war on current Flash players, poor performance on all devices! If this boost were delivered years ago with iPhone launch, Flash will be in much better positions.
    Besides CPU index, memory footprint is also a big problem. By just opening a dozen pages on on my Macbook, Flash player eats 50+ threads and 500MB+ memory. Lots optimizations maybe done to one Flash thread, but is there any way to limit the number of Flash content web developers can embed in a single web page? That’s what I believe the inborn problem with the plugin mechanism Flash now relies on.
    If Adobe don’t catch up quickly, it really won’t matter much whether a smartphone supports Flash or not.
  2. Standard is not rule but weapon:
    Hardboiled Web DesignAccording to Andy Clarke in his “Hardboiled Web Design“, W3C is not an innovation body but a standardization body whose primary job is to standardize EXISTING technology, i.e., where paid members including Adobe, Apple and Google take competitive advantages! So there won’t be ONE single CSS3 or HTML5 standard, instead there will be lots optional modules, and it leaves the decision to browser vendors to decide whether and when to implement a certain module. Don’t forget the now notorious IE-specific CSS filters was once the secret weapon Microsoft invented to beat Netscape. So by simply complying to a standard won’t help you much, but surpassing it will.

    BTW: is Flex’s own CSS by any means industry standard? Does it offer all the bleeding edge features of CSS3?

  3. Do it once and play everywhere never really happened:
    Historically, there have been numerous bold attempts to enable “write once, play everywhere”, PASCAL, JINI, … Of course that’s everybody’s dream to minimize development effort and yet reach maximum possible audience on every media. In reality, it never really happened since various vendors involved all try to push their own agenda. And judging purely from aesthetic point of view, a “one-size-fits-all” solution won’t satisfy eveyone, or in worst case, satisfy no one.
    Anyway, the basic idea of HTML5 does make lots sense to me: However it doesn’t rule out the possibility that the same content will look different on different platforms
  4. Safe is risky. Risky is safe:
    Depending on one vendor’s cross-platform efforts will always be a SAFE strategy but will never deliver any competitive advantages. It is also based on the impractical assumption that this vendor will always update its engine to catch up with latest innovations on various platforms in a timely manner. So by the end of the day what you gotta play with is “least common denominator” at best, which may get your stuff working cross-plaform somehow, but will never make you SHINE ON ANY PLATFORM!

So do you wanna spend minimal efforts to deliver mediocrity everywhere, or you wanna spend extra energy to delivery superiority somewhere? Make you call.

BTW: I’m no die-hard pro-Apple/iOS or anti-Adobe/Flash, and I program with HTML, JavaScript and CSS as well as FLEX and AIR. For I believe that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So never ever get blinded by a single vendor, be it Apple or Adobe.


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