Got to give it up for Steve Jobs, he responds to his followers when things are a muck in his church. But putting aside my dislike for Apple antics, I do agree with most of his comments.
Flash was great in the early days, we had the birth of the XaoXao videos and interactivity on the web, but in the past 5-6 years, the hip cool designers of the world have transformed the browsing experience to be fully Flash driven – which drives me nuts. Do they not realise that content would not be indexable by search engines nor useful for anyone who doesn’t have Flash? Whats more, I’m not after their fancy dancy effects, I’m after content – the exception of Flash being used for animation in addition to content (like slideshows, video presentations or marketing bits) or navigation around a site.
One recent (2006) example is the Eclipse home page, back when I got the AVN6000 installed, I wrote a little blurb on the (then) DeveloperFusion blogs and sure enough took the bulk of the traffic for the keyword AVN6000. The entire site was flash driven up until 2008 and no-one had indexed the content of the site. As the unit was installed a week after release, it got quite a bit of traffic – nice for me.
I have FlashBlock installed to avoid uninvited flash content (especially annoying opening up a bunch of news articles and one of them is playing a video!) and have no _real_ need for Flash on my mobile devices – youtube works. Android 2.2 (Froyo) will ship with some flash support but it doesn’t excite me as much as the JIT functionality. Gotta JIT that, Gotta JIT that…
There are a few points you can criticise Jobs on (HTML5, CSS+JS is no where near the functionality of Flex nor Silverlight – gasp! but it has time and momentum to grow) and everything about Apple is proprietary (sure they have a few good open-source projects – DTrace & WebKit) but their business nature to lock you into fruity loops. I still haven’t got a decent way of avoiding installing iTunes if I want to use an iPod which is the only device my (ironically) AVN6000 supports. As for the latter, overall a job well done I say and well justified move for not having Flash on their devices.
Just like to point out one thing having come from working with the On2 VP6/VP7 bits whilst at Vividas.
Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.
What he’s talking about here is that Adobe utilises the On2 VP6 for their video rendering in Flash (as of Flash Player 8) and as such there’s no standard accelerator for the On2 codec (yet!) – its all CPU bound (and prior to 2008 quite intensive to decode!). The VP6 and VP7 codecs (though quite differently utilised) powered (or still powers) the Vividas format (could be different now, I left in 2008). Compared to Flash Player 7, the enhancements that On2 VP6 brought to Flash Player 8 effectively meant that a lot of media was encoded optimised for VP6. Newer versions of Flash Player 9 Update 3+ support h264 however.
Don’t forget that JavaFX also utilises VP6. While you’re there, checkout Gosling rant on Android and his thoughts on the Apple OS X Secret API hooks for the JVM.
With Google having purchased On2 Technologies earlier this year, there’s a bit of excitement and worry about the future of VP8 and whether it will become open-source and what will happen to h264 or Theora (a derivative of On2 VP3 which On2 open-sourced).
Having said all that, I can’t leave you without leaving something to ponder about when it comes to Apple and its many evangelists enthusiasts – maybe you’re one of them?
It’s funny because its true (!™), don’t Think Different™. Be different
I guess its time for Adobe to chime in and see their take on things, it better be something flashy!