Friday, May 7, 2010

Not Betting on Flash

On my eLearning blog, I recently predicted the Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash. This got quite a lot of passionate response.

I view the point of this blog to provide my thoughts and perspectives as an Acting CTO mostly concerned with Startup Development to entrepreneurs and other CTOs.

The conversation around Flash is an important one for startups and CTOs. Let me explain based on a comment in the other post. Someone said:
"I am not sure I am ready to bet on the long slow death of Flash just yet."
What does it mean to "place bets" on death of Flash?
  • Short Adobe stock?
  • Make pronouncements in your blog?
  • Argue about it?
I don't actually care that much about these things.

I do care about having to make technical choices that need to live 5+ years. I'm working on defining the technical approach for several startups right now.

We need to deliver on mobile devices in the future. Reality is that we need that now, but at least we don't need to specifically design for it for now.

Do we include Flex or Flash as a delivery technology?


That's my bet. I'm not betting that Flash is dead in five years. I'm hedging by NOT betting on Flash. Instead I'm betting on HTML/JavaScript.

That's been a relatively safe bet for many years.


criticallearner said...

Very well stated.

I see this struggle with companies that have a lot of legacy Flash items. The fear is cost of converting Flash elements to HTML5 and retooling a Flash-focused development team.

I have a long-term relationship with Flash. It's been a great tool and opened opportunities that didn't seem probable with other tools on the market. I am somewhat mourning that it seems the market will shift away from this product, but I feel very fortunate that the forecast future standards, although not definite, seems to have clear trends.

This enables us to retool and adapt proactively to seize opportunities that may be closed to us if we don't carefully consider the information presented.

Benjamin Duffy said...

What is incredibly unfortunate in this whole "Flash is Dead, Long Live Flash" sentiment is that there is no current viable replacement for what Flash is.

HTML 5 is no replacement, as it really isn't the same thing. From a multimedia and eLearning perspective, Flash is incredibly powerful allowing for interlinked and nested movies that can be called from a parent. It also used to run on all systems until Apple decided to throw it under the bus instead of working with Adobe.

I'm not a fan of closed and proprietary systems, or programming for a wide array of target systems. Flash has been a huge benefit for the eLearning development community, rapid eLearning development tools like Articulate, and I will be sad to see it go, bugs and all.

Tony Karrer said...

David and Benjamin - very well said!

I'm not happy to no longer choose Flash either. And HTML5 is really a ways away. But I think we have to deal with the reality of what we currently know.

In a year, this might change quite a bit, but for now ...