Is Adobe Flash Support Really Coming to the iPhone and iPad?

Today, someone posted a statement on Wikipedia saying:

On Mar 8, 2011, it was announced that Flash support would be coming to the iPad, iPad 2 and iPhone.

When I read that, I immediately wondered:

  • Is the battle between Apple and Adobe over?
  • Has Adobe come up with a way to install Flash without violating Apple’s iOS license?
  • Has someone released a great third-party Flash plug-in on the Apple Store?

The answer to all 3 questions is a resounding NO!!! The statement on Wikipedia is completely misleading.  The footnote citation references an article titled “Flash is coming to the iPad, iPad 2 and iPhone.”  The cited article is really about Wallaby, a tool for converting basic Flash animations to HTML 5.  Flash is not coming to the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone or iPod.  In other words, this is actually an example of HTML 5 being used to replace Flash.

I anticipate that Flash is going to decrease in popularity over the next 5 years.  I’m well aware that HTML 5 currently has a lower adoption rate than Flash Player, but that won’t last forever.  And many of the UI components built on Flash could be easily replaced with simpler controls using HTML 4 / CSS / JavaScript.

I’m not saying that HTML is a direct replacement for all the fancy animation that Flash can do.  I’m saying that a well-designed HTML/JavaScript interface is a better choice than Flash because:

  1. HTML/JavaScript works on more devices and browsers (including 90 million iPhones).
  2. HTML/JavaScript behaves like the rest of the web without special effort (example:  no complicated programming is needed to build scroll-bars that respond to a mouse wheel).
  3. Users don’t need or want super-fancy animation and “clever” interfaces.  They want something simple that gets the job done.

Overall, the Wallaby announcement is further confirmation of the conclusions in my recent article:  Top 10 Reasons Web Developers Should Avoid Flash.  I took some heat from Flash developers over that article, but I believe my recommendation is sound advice.

If you’re a Flash developer, please read my entire article (including the conclusion) and do your own research.  I’m not a “Flash hater.”  I’m an IT consultant who is trying to help people find the right tool for the job.  If “the job” is a public-facing website, Flash is usually the wrong tool (with exceptions noted in my other Flash article).

Happy coding!

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