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The question of Flash

Posted by Xaotik - April 24th, 2011

Hi there Newgrounds,

I've got an interesting question to ask of you all out there. But first, let's get some back-story:

Recently, a good friend and I were having a little chat about computers, computer engineering, programming, software development, etc. My friend is, as you may have guessed, a programmer, like myself. His main interests lie in desktop application development, most of which he uses C++ for; and as for my development, I use AS3. So we got into the topic of Flash and AS3, and at this point, he began to tell me that its not a good idea to continue using Flash. I asked him why, and he basically said that he believes Flash and Actionscript will be dead in the near future and replaced by HTML5. We then began a long conversation on the positives and negatives of Flash and Actionscript, and a comparison to HTML5.

The end of this conversation resulted in each of us standing behind our own opinions of Flash.

He believes that HTML5 will completely overtake Flash, and that Flash and Actionscript will die out eventually.

I personally believe that Flash can not survive as a $699.99 USD IDE, however, the technology of Actionscript can and will survive in a more open-source medium.

I am also aware of the new features being launched in Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, a refresh built in order to gear towards developers.

The new Creative Suite will somehow integrate HTML5 into development, and the new Flash IDE will have publishing options for Android, Blackberry, and iOS.

More into on this at Adobe's website.

So, my question to you Newgrounds, is, what do you think the future holds for Flash and AS technology?

I'd love to see some interesting points of view on this.

Comments (8)

this whole argument is beyond ridiculous.

HTML5 can't even come close to replicating a flash movie or game from 1999. so how far in the "near future" until html is better at everything flash can do? both have their place, but saying flash is dead or will be replaced "soon" is foolish.

I would tend to agree with you considering the animation standpoint, although what I wrote above really didn't consider animation, just programming.

But yeah, like I said, I agree, HTML5 is incapable of replicating the quality of animation that Flash can output.

I've been thinking that it could one day topple Flash.

I've seen a lot of cool stuff in HTML5 that well outperforms anything I've seen in Flash - as far as the programming side goes. This includes things like webGL. However they're only available with a browser that supports the canvas element - which means I need to wait for FF to catch up, or get on the chrome train.

For drawing and animation, as far as I can tell you still need some editor to create/export graphics - whether or not Flash is used for editing is dependent on what the author prefers - but I have seen animations in HTML5 that are better than typical 1999 Flash animations - actually comparable to things I see today - however, not to the artistic level of many top NG animations. However, I doubt this is due to the potential limits of HTML5, and more due to its small development numbers - and perhaps due to the attraction so far to primarily the coding community.

It seems like it will take more time for the guys in charge to agree on all the aspects, features, and elements HTML5 will provide. So for a while, I don't think we will see development numbers increase much. Even if HTML5 does end up being better than Flash in every way, you still need to consider the investments people put in learning and developing using Flash (and bias). Just because something is superior doesn't mean it will catch on.


HTML5 will kill Flash, for games in HTML5 just google "Biolab Disaster" or "VII".

HTML5 CAN achieve same results and even betters in terms of performance than Flash, if people doesn't actually know how to make them using pure JS is a different thing. Canvas are a really powerful tool for making also animation (google "HTML5 animations") not to mention that they outperform Flash in resource management (C++ vs Java is a good analogy).

In the end HTML5 outperforms Flash in his own game, period. JS was and will be a better tool for web development than flash and with the new canvas will be a better tool for creating games and animations. Not to mentions that HTML5 now supports multi threaded JS, a clear advantage over the old single threaded Flash.

As for JohnnyUtah, that clearly doesn't know what he's talking about and seems to be just an Adobe fanboy, there's a port of Quake 2 made in pure HTML5 (Browser playable), obviously HTML5 can outperform Flash in the games department.

And to OP, HTML5 has so many new things, not just animation, that can and will enrich applications made in HTML5 such as websockets (for multiplayer), local databases (for storage), sound and video objects (for SFX, BGM, and visual effects), Geolocation and many other things that make HTML5 a GREAT free adversary to an overpriced solution. Why spend, like you said, $700 when you can achieve the smae result with better performance for free?

Now as for AS3, sure it will stick around, languages actually never die, we still have Cobol and Golf laying round.

Now we have Apple supporting HTML5 and force stopping his users to use Flash, the WHATWG is also conformed by Google, Opera and Mozilla. It´s just amatter of time before they all go "Apple". And BTW C/C++/JS programmers will prefer 100% of the time working with canvas over Flash.

I'm in full agreement with JohnnyUtah.

We have HTML, a programming language that has been, since the beginning, basically based around web design, relaying information, and providing resources, which has been only recently upgraded to create the most basic Flash-esque models that are clearly imperfect and are essentially lag machines...

and an animation program with its own language that is almost completely based around effective movie- and game-creation and has been the source of practically everything you see on the Internet that moves, not to mention it is being constantly advanced at this very moment by Adobe, the same company that made the endlessly-successful Photoshop.

And we're assuming the meager HTML5 is going to overshadow Flash by supposedly outdoing what Flash has done best since it began, as if that is even a possibility? Not just that, but we're saying that will happen in the near future?

Even the idea of people believing such things blows my mind.

OMFGROFLMAO you're foaming at the mouth.

I'm speaking common sense here and the point I'm making is a simple one - flash is an easy to use, all-in-one solution. you can cite what is *technically* possible all you like, but until something with more ease of use comes along, it's not going anywhere.

Agh... I just read my first post and I failed miserably to state one thing.

My beliefs are, as an environment for development, Flash would struggle in the long run, however, AS3 in general would survive as a language because it can still be developed with for no charge, despite the cost of Flash.

But this won't happen any time soon if it happens at all.

So to clarify, as far as an environment for developing rich media, I agree with what JohnnyUtah and JonBro are saying, however, I think that the advent of HTML5 from a development point of view will give Flash's IDE some competition, simply because of the differences in price point, with HTML being free to develop. Honestly though, I don't even think it would be so much a decoupling of Flash and AS, more so, in the future, I wouldn't be surprised if AS3 became more openly available to integrate into other IDEs.

However, I would also like to say that I'm skeptical to stand behind even this position I've established because of the new HTML5-integration in the upcoming CS5.5. Really eager to see what that refresh holds in store for Flash technology.

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