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Steve Jobs has had enough of Adobe Flash and wants the world to move on and embrace HTML5

It's no secret that Steve Jobs is no fan of Adobe Flash -- Jobs basically kneecapped Flash development tools with iPhone OS 4.0. In addition, Jobs has long said that Flash on Mac computers is slow, buggy, and an incredible resource hog.

We all thought that the relationship between Apple and Adobe was beginning to thaw a bit when Apple announced that it would make hardware acceleration APIs available to developers like Adobe. That lead the way for yesterday's announcement of Flash Player 10.1 "Gala" for OS X which provides hardware acceleration of H.264 video content on Macs with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M GPUs.

But that isn't quite the end of the story. In fact, Steve Jobs has even more to say about Adobe Flash in the form of an open letter entitled "Thoughts on Flash". Jobs' long-winded rant goes on about the fact that Adobe Flash is proprietary; HTML5 is a better, open solution; the fact that Flash is a security risk to Mac computers; and that Adobe Flash simply eats away battery life on notebook computers (among other things).

Here's a blurb on Adobe Flash being proprietary:

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards.

And here's another section with regards to Adobe Flash and its interaction with touch-based devices:

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Jobs concludes, saying, "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice… But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

"New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too)," Jobs adds. "Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

The fight between Adobe and Apple is definitely not over and we'll just have to sit back and wait to see what Adobe's response to Jobs will be.

For those that want to read the full letter, head on over to Apple's website.

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By Jucken on 4/29/2010 1:58:07 PM , Rating: 0
Apart from the irony and the tu quoque logical fallacy, Jobs does have a point.

By rs1 on 4/29/2010 3:05:17 PM , Rating: 5
No, he really doesn't. Apart from repeating his flawed argument that HTML5 is a viable replacement for Flash (it isn't, HTML5 adds streaming multimedia support, which is only one particular use-case for flash), he makes a number of other fallacious arguments.

For instance, on the subject of open vs. closed standards, from the point of view of a developer, HTML5+Javascript is no more open than Flash is, because it's the browser that ends up interpreting the HTML markup and Javascript code. And the browser implementation itself is, for all practical purposes, closed to the web developer. Even worse is that since each browser has its own implementation of these "open" standards, the developer's code may look and perform differently in each one. So now he has to debug and test on multiple platforms, instead of just one. And if you're a developer, you'd really rather just have to worry about the one.

His "there's no mouse anymore" argument is also a bit odd, as a lot of HTML and Javascript event handling is built upon mouseover and mouseout events (among other things). So he's going to fault Flash websites for relying on an event that is also used just as frequently in HTML+Javascript websites? It sounds more like he's trying to come up with random excuses, to me. Surely it would not be so hard to make the iPhone/Ipad trigger mouseover/mouseout events when the user interacts with a control. In fact, I would be a little surprised if it doesn't do this already, given the number of non-Flash sites that rely on these very same events.

So all-in-all, his arguments are pretty much nonsense.

By Aikouka on 4/29/2010 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 3
As per your point on JavaScript onMouseOver events:

Since JavaScript is interpretted browser-side, that means Apple is able to program Safari Mobile in a way that allows it to be more "touch friendly." If you go to a website with Safari Mobile, instead of performing the action when hovering over the specified object with your non-existent mouse, the browser will execute the action when you press on the object. To actually select the object (if it has an anchor object), you then press it again.

Now, Adobe could try and rework Flash for the iPhone specifically to be more user friendly, but I wonder what effect that would have on current Flash applications.

By jvillaro on 4/30/2010 12:07:44 AM , Rating: 1
Somebody please shut this guy up!
Jobs can't write a single line of code, so he just preaches bullsh!t

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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