Monday, November 28, 2011

The 'Occupy Flash' Campaign...

Looking for some nonsensical news today? Try the emergence of an "Occupy Flash" movement. Adobe Flash, that is. The group's goal is to get the software firm to abandon Flash altogether - not just for the mobile web, as Adobe already did two weeks ago - and instead push Web developers to HTML5.

To most readers, this needs a bit of explanatory context. See, critics have knocked Flash for several years now as making the Web less functional. Sites that use it as a design tool, while very nice-looking with all the bells-and-whistles, then cannot be properly displayed on computers or devices without the magical Flash plugin. It created a situation where much of the Web was basically inaccessible for people who didn't want to download the sometimes-buggy software. And to cyber-ideologues, that flies in the face of the "Open Web" concept.

But what's really behind the "Occupy Flash" campaign is a nerd-based devotion to promoting HTML5 - an open language developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). HTML5 handles multimedia in some similar ways as Flash, but because it's not a proprietary corporate-owned software product, the push is on for its widespread adoption.

Ummmm... some problems with the "Occupy Flash" movement...

First of all, there are still some things that Flash can do that HTML5 cannot, and as long as this is the case, Web developers will probably still want to occasionally make use of it. And if they want to, they should be able to.

Second, why is there a need for Adobe to suddenly just stop distributing Flash altogether? If what critics say is true, then why not just let Flash die off gradually on its own? It's happened before. Remember "RealPlayer"? There's no need to be so heavy-handed.

Third, users also have a capability to "flashblock-by-default". As long as that's the case, it seems like a decent compromise solution.

In the end, the massive push by HTML5 supporters (of which I actually consider myself one) comes across here as rather maniacal and definitely unnecessary. "Occupy Flash", really? Just let better open technology run its course. The writing's on the wall anyway.


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