Lee Brimelow made this wonderful post ridiculing the iPad’s lack of flash. Only one problem with it.
It’s a lie.
And that’s a problem. Apparently, he made those wonderful claims of his without ever once checking the reality of them. Most of those sites that supposedly don’t show anything, actually do. As this set of screen captures shows.
Which means he wasn’t interested in truth at all, nor even in the experience of web users, as he claims. All he wanted to do was complain because that Big Meanie over at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino didn’t want to let him bring his own toys to the iPad and iPhone party. Boo hoo.
Let’s get something straight right up front. I ain’t no fanboy. I don’t own an iPhone, nor will I be queueing up on day one to get an iPad. I’ve been an Adobe customer for as long as I’ve been an Apple customer, since Photoshop version 2.x. I even stayed an Adobe customer after they deliberately killed the best illustration program I’ve ever used (Freehand — after two earlier failed attempts they finally managed, not to beat it in the marketplace, but rather they kept buying companies in a repeated attempt to get it off the market). I’ll admit to a point of view, here. I’m amused by the flash fanboys who can’t seem to realize their own playground is just as proprietary, just as limited and controlled, as Apple’s.
Yes, it’s amusing to watch Adobe, from their closed proprietary yard, cry foul at Apple’s closed proprietary yard (pot, meet kettle) but that’s about it. The world, and the web, will do fine, with or without Flash. Right now, there are far more examples of bad Flash use than bad HTML5 Video use, but I’m sure that will level out eventually — flash developers have certainly not cornered the market on ineptitude. It only seems that way, sometimes.
Professionals know the iPad is just another device we have to deal with, just like we know Flash is just another tool in the box, and no tool is the right choice for every device, and probably never will be. So we plow around the rocks in the field that we can’t lift. For simple video, the solution is fairly obvious: do your video in H.264, because that will give you the widest access to your customers. As John Nack pointed out in a post on a more official site Flash will deliver H.264 as well as native flash format. So you do the video in H.264, and use Flash as the ancillary system to deliver the H.264 to the clients that can’t see it natively. Problem solved, the same way we’ve been working around IE’s limitations for years (thanks for the practice, MS).
John raises other issues about why Flash is such a hog on OSX, and while they may or may not be true (I admit I don’t know) I really can’t see why I, as a professional web builder, should care. It is what it is, and I have to deal with it the way it is, not the way John Nock or Steve Jobs, or anyone else, for that matter, wants it to be. And the way it is, the performance of Flash on OSX is sub-par. That’s reality, and it’d be far more productive to fix that than stand around pointing fingers.