Another topic about technology: A good year ago; If you would ask me about building some complicated site, I would consider HTML5 but probably have to fall back to flash due to development costs or compatibility. Since Apple blocked the technology Flash on it’s iOS, things have accelerated. (That’s a cliche i don’t want to stress too much in this post) You have to serve websites on iPads today. Suddenly, a lot of users aren’t able to browse your flash site anymore. Luckily, HTML5 is coming to the rescue. it promises us free chocolate and paries on the beach. But it’s not ready for production. What to do? I’d say, use SVG.
But Adobe (owner of Flash) recently announced they will launch a HTML5 building tool that would work simular to flash, called edge. It seems clear then right? We’ll say goodbye to flash and embrace HTML5.
No. That’s what I thought in May and it’s false. The HTML5 standard isn’t officially completed for the next decade. However, there is a silent voice in the Flash VS. HTML5 debate called SVG. With little effort, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) can do most things Flash and HTML5 can do. Yes, even audio. And best of all, it works on the iPhone. Whilst Flash is in the past, and HTML5 the future. SVG is the best what the web can offer today.
When I started a new web project last May, I seriously considered Flash, Canvas (HTML5) and SVG. Whilst all of the could do what I wanted, all had advantages and disadvantages. In short:
- 1) Flash doesn’t’ work on iPhone, proprietary and slow.
- 2) HTML5 is too vernal – ready for mobile but not for desktop – and
- 3) SVG skilled programmers are hard to find in China.
The downturn (compared to HTML5) is that SVG requires a plugin, just like flash, the difference is that most modern browsers (Firefox, IE9, Chrome & Safari) support some degree of SVG directly. To support the older Internet Explorer browsers, there is a great plugin called SVGweb that renders SVG in Flash. SVGweb mentions on their site: “Using the library plus native SVG support you can instantly target ~95% of the existing installed web base.” I tell you, it was a breeze to get most browsers on board.
Developers: Don’t fall back to flash in your wait to HTML5 and CSS3, SVG is gaining popularity fast and is a great way to get things started. Today, most vectorized pictures on Wikipedia are already in SVG and recently Google added SVG to their image search. I see HTML on the pipeline, but for now I will use SVG, saying good bye to flash forever. (Oh, I actually blocked Flash on my browser using Flash Block.)