The Marginalization of Adobe Flash

If you remember, it was not that long ago that Steve Jobs categorically rejected Adobe Flash on the iDevice platform. Instead of Flash, Apple promoted H.264 for video. At the time, that seemed like a crazy idea. Adobe Flash has enjoyed great success, and it seemed short sighted to lock out Flash on any platform. Android phones, when they were first introduced, touted as being Flash enabled, while iDevices were not.

How a couple of years can make a difference. HTML 5 is now a part of most web browsers, and in that is the <video> tag. Web browsers now have native video playback capabilities. The clear winner is H.264, having support in Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome. The free and open standard WebM comes in second, supported by Firefox and Chrome.

I have used FlowPlayer in the past, but now it is obsolete. Instead of placing a Flash player on a web site, you can now simply use HTML to provide video. It is as simple as this:

<video width="480" height="270" controls="controls">
  <source src="http://example.com/video.webm" type="video/webm" />
  <source src="http://example.com/video.mp4" type="video/mp4" />
  Your browser does not support the video tag.
</video>

If your browser desires to download the content instead of playing it, you may need to update a server directive. Consider this .htaccess file:

AddType video/webm .webm 

What is particularly powerful about the <video> tag is that you can specify multiple sources. If a browser does not support a source format, it tries the next.

UPDATE – 20120222 – From the category of not surprising:

For Flash Player releases after 11.2, the Flash Player browser plug-in for Linux will only be available via the “Pepper” API as part of the Google Chrome browser distribution and will no longer be available as a direct download from Adobe. Adobe will continue to provide security updates to non-Pepper distributions of Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for five years from its release.

Adobe Flash Roadmap (URL)

Roadmap PDF

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