Some Troubling Tidbits On Flash And HTML 5…But Maybe Not For Flash Game Developers

Today a couple stories arose that, on the surface seem to point to some troubles for Flash, but maybe not yet for flash game developers.

The first comes via PC World: Virgin America Ditches Flash on Its Site. It looks like the Virgin Airline site has decided to remove Flash content so that the site is better suited for iPhone users. It’s a bit frustrating to hear about this, but at the same time it makes sense. Why did they use Flash in the first place? For UI or animations of planes flying? For an airline web site, you’d expect to get information as fast and easily as possible, so HTML should be standard.

I can see this as troubling trend. not necessarily for Flash game developers, but for Flash UI designers it might be a nightmare. I’ve seen some pretty clunky interfaces created in HTML that try to ape Flash, but only achieve in the most rudimentary ways. This trend might set web design back an entire decade if it continues.

So what does these thing mean? Well, a large web site, even a large web site that probably doesn’t need to use Flash in the first place, abandoning Flash so it can be compatible with Apple products *is* a big deal. It’s very slippery slope on these kinds of things. When one the first CIO lemmings makes this kind of choice, the rest go sliding into the abyss after him(or her).

The second tidbit is from Wired’s WebMonkey column Microsoft to Double Down on HTML5 With Internet Explorer 9. I.E. 8 has very little HTML functionality built-in, but it looks like the will try to change that with I.E. 9. However, after reading the article I could see many mentions of SVG (HTML vector graphics engine) but NOTHING about the Canvas. Silverlight solves that problem for Microsoft already, so they will probably be very slow to implement the Canvas.

What does it mean for Flash game developers? Not much, yet. There is still no better way to create viral game and make a profit from that game than to use Flash. With a few modifications, that game can run on the iPhone or iPad (with CS5). Flash game developers should be agile enough to not rely on the Flash IDE, but instead to try to start coding in the FlexSDK for maximum portability of their projects to other platforms. At the same time, Adobe should be planning to spit-out HTML 5 Canvas code along with SWFs, ARM Air apps, etc. in a next-next release of the Flash IDE (CS6), targeting the release of I.E. 9..

Still for Flash game developers, getting to know HTML 5 and the Canvas is a good idea. We should have our second tutorial up later this week. Thanks for making the the first one, a big hit.

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