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How Adobe is moving on from Flash to embrace HTML5

Chris Minnick and Ed Tittel | May 2, 2014
Adobe Flash is still widely used, but it's seen as obsolete in the face of HTML5. In response, Adobe is taking several steps to adapt and contribute to a HTML5 future without browser plugins.

Cordova bundles HTML5 code as a native app on multiple mobile platforms. Unlike apps created with Flash, hybrid apps created with Phonegap are routinely accepted into the Apple App Store as well as Google Play. Besides compatibility with the app stores, the biggest benefit of Cordova is that it allows developers to write standard HTML5 code and use it to access native device features previously off-limits to Web apps.

There's also jQuery Mobile, a jQuery plugin for creating mobile Web apps that simulate native app user interfaces and that function well across most modern mobile platforms. In addition contributing to this open source project, Adobe has also built tools to work with jQuery Mobile in Dreamweaver.

Adobe's HTML5 Tools and Services

Flash Professional, a powerful and polished multimedia and application development environment, has been around for many years. Adobe continues to develop and improve Flash tools, recently adding HTML5 Canvas support.

However, Adobe has also created some cool tools to develop HTML5 content, including Edge Code and Edge Animate. These Edge tools adhere to Web standards such as JavaScript, run atop WebKit and employ Adobe's new open-source fonts: Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro.

While not quite a Flash replacement, Edge Animate provides a WYSIWYG interface for creating HTML5 multimedia content. Edge also supports audio, video, responsive design, keyframe animation and more — all without plugins.

Edge Code, meanwhile, is built on Adobe's open-source code editor, Brackets. One of its most compelling features is Live Preview, which lets you view HTML, CSS and JavaScript rendered live in Google Chrome as you work.

Death of Adobe Flash May Be Best Thing to Happen to HTML5

While the Flash Player browser plugin is still installed in 99 percent of desktop browsers, it's effectively dead for mobile devices (and browsers). Adobe has been watching which way the wind is blowing and is betting its future on HTML5. In doing so, it's become one of the most active contributors to the Open Web.

Apple's rejection of Flash was the end of mobile Flash, but it's probably the best thing that could have happened for the future of HTML5. After the last splash screen and plugin update notification go away, moving the Open Web forward may be Adobe Flash's most lasting legacy.


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