HTML5 vs. Flash: Choosing the Right Tool

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HTML5 vs. Flash: Choosing the Right Tool

When to Use HTML 5 Over Flash

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Business Applications

Adobe says HTML5 is generally mature enough and sufficient for typical business applications.

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HTML5 beats out Flash in terms of supporting applications that provide accessibility for users with impediments.

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Search Engine Optimization

HTML5 is better for apps that convey written words or data that needs to be accessed by screen readers or search engines.

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Developers say HTML5 is becoming the standard for creating general Websites.

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Companion Apps

HTML5 is a go-to platform for developing companion applications such as those that accompany popular desktop apps, movies, TV shows and games—although Flash also is used to develop companion apps with richer content. (Image: Bento for iPad)

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Branded Microsites

HTML5 also can be used for creating branded microsites, which are sites dedicated to highlighting a particular product or promotion. (Image: Burton Bag Check)

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When to Use Flash Over HTML5

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High-End Entertainment

Flash is still the platform of choice in the realm of high-end entertainment on the Web and devices.

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Advanced 3D Gaming

Flash is the platform of choice for advanced multimedia content and gaming. (Image: Tanki Online game as seen via Flash Player 11)

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Cinema-Quality Video Playback

Flash is the platform of choice for long-form video playback.

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Content That Requires DRM

Flash is the best solution for content that requires digital rights management to prevent piracy. It is well-suited for protected and controlled video and audio content on the Web.

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Faster to Market

Developers say Flash should be used for apps that need to get to market faster and deliver a faster return on investment.

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Flash also is often preferred where an organization wants to leverage the object-oriented programming (OOP) backgrounds many developers possess based on their computer science education.

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Pushing Boundaries

Adobe officials say they will continue to evolve Flash and push the boundaries of the technology to bring new features and elements into the HTML standard. For instance, Adobe, along with Opera and Apple, introduced CSS Shaders to the W3C to become part of the HTML standard. CSS Shaders enable developers to deliver cinematic effects to Web content. Below is an example of CSS Shaders in action.

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When to Go Native

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For high performance, it is best to use native app development, using the tools and resources available with a device's native platform. Native apps simply run faster.

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Native apps enable a developer to deliver a more consistent look and feel.

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