In case you haven’t been keeping up with the tech news over the last few months, Google and Apple have been duking it out over the direction they see the web heading.
It seems that Apple is more and more interested in determining how content will flow through its tubes. It claims that Adobe’s Flash is “buggy,” and it wants a more “open” world wide web.
Apple is pushing for HTML5, which is technically open source programming. Anyone with text edit and a little bit of knowledge can write code for HTML5, unlike coding for Adobe’s Flash, which requires several hundred dollars investment into proprietary software.
Google has fired back at Apple, embracing Flash. It recently announced that a Flash plugin will be bundled with its Chrome browser for Windows. This means there won’t be a need to download Flash’s plugin manually, allowing a smoother experience for the end user.
This is a direct shot at Apple that refuses to allow Flash content on any of its devices, like the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, by not supporting flash content on its proprietary browser, Safari.
Personally, I don’t understand Apple’s aversion to letting the user and developer decide how they create media and view that media on an Apple device.
Luckily, Apple hasn’t pushed to remove Flash on their desktop or laptop computers. But one can only assume it would be a matter of time before they try to start pushing in that direction.
Here’s the problem:
It’s the same problem you’ve heard us complain about with Internet Explorer, and that is the lack of support for new technologies on certain browsers. Once Apple starts to ban certain technologies on their devices, developers will be forced to build to the lowest common denominator; which means skipping flash altogether.
Now, before I get any feedback about HTML5 and how it’s a superior technology, let me say this: I’m not here to tout Flash over HTML5, or vise versa. Both have their advantages.
Flash for instance allows for smoother animation of objects, more integration of actual animation, rather than objects moving, but it is not great for adding content because of Search Engine Optimization reasons. Search bots can’t index flash content as well, for instance.
I don’t develop in Flash, for some of the reasons stated above, but I recognize the value of a really cool, interactive flash intro for certain situations. Just click around the movie site for “District 9” as an example of a great way to integrate flash into a website – d-9.com.
Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to view any of that on an iPad.
What I don’t agree with is a platform dictating to the developer and end user what programs they can or cannot use. If Flash were as bad as Apple claims it to be, wouldn’t Flash’s own shortcomings ultimately do it in? And wouldn’t it be up to Adobe to fix those problems to make it a viable technology? Flash’s pitfalls should be the downfall of Flash, not Apple’s decisions to forgo its use.
You can read up more about the Apple/Google spat here: