For the greater part of many of our web experiences the animated web involved Flash – Shockwave, Macromedia and as of late, Adobe, as an object orientated action script that allowed multimedia experiences embedded inside of existing web frameworks like HTML. Sometimes Flash was a godsend, allowing programmers to display the most complex visual concepts seemlessly, at others it was a bulky platform that stalled user experiences and required endless updates in order to create a proxy of what the artist’s imagination explored.
Originally, the web was flat in 1.0. There was content generation and there was content display. Flash helped make generation more dynamic and the display something easy to achieve for the end user so that they felt more interactive in the web experience. In the modern era of the web flash occupies a point in that ambiguous experience between web 2.0 typically defining as the user generation experience and web 3.0 which isn’t quite defined but probably entails the full touch dynamic experience. Flash attempted to ease some of the burden with elements like Flex that allow more dynamic orientation while F-Lite attempted to debulk the player aspect to that of mobile experiences.
Unfortunately for Adobe, Flash continued to become a heavier and bulkier orientation for content and its ability to render content was becoming supplanted in part by lighter OOA tools like Microsoft’s Silverlight, local / native tools and a combination of HTML5/CSS3. As early as the last Olympics Microsoft showed the dynamics of its proprietary platform and despite not having the US Major Carrier adoption to it’s Win6.5 mobile idea was able to steal a great deal of usership from Adobe and with other frameworks able to compensate the difference and user consumption shill growing it dealt a huge blow. The fact that Apple, once a partner, continued to eschew Flash and Google, who developed Android but never integrated Flash into the natural framework, didn’t bring Adobe’s product into their baseline mobile technologies.
I’m not advocating for any one idea, but this week Adobe conceded, at least on the mobile front to the CSS3/HTML5 concept.
This is huge. For anyone who ever experienced the deficit of a website built in or around older Flash technology and had nothing render in any version of the Apple iOS, or those who were missing plugins or didn’t even have the option on Android, Blackberry, Win7 or was using any Simbian, Win6.5 or related “WAP” based platform. The change won’t mandate the other platforms all of a sudden become compatible though.
This means from here on out, there will be a standard. The standard, the assumed HTML5/CSS3 (or whatever that will become) will allow user to experience the same thing cross handset, cross carrier, cross browser much closer to what they already experience now cross browser, cross operating system, cross connection on their laptops and desktops. The behaviors may not be the same but the embedding process will be similar enough for programmers and executable enough for the end-user that probably there won’t be as many disconnects.
If you ever experienced that lego looking plug in stopper on an animation in the last few years you knew the bane of many users and many programmers. With Adobe, they can finally can take the finite adoption of their technology to the masses but chances are whatever the cross-scripting that occurs to maximize Flash, Flex and Air to the new standard will also help them position new versions of Flex / Air products to the new 3.0 mindset. Chances are they are even playing a card against iOS in the future adoption of Android, Win7 and whatever RIM produces as a next system which will inevitably still work closely with Adobe because of their other program resources.
iOS also has to worry about the continued battle with Adobe in the light OS realm. If Adobe can circumvent the relationship it had with Apple in the past to allow its first person user programs function cross platfrom there’s no reason not to adopt or at least adapt the top teir programs to those more open systems and swing the weight of evangelical users like artists and musicians to other platforms and define usage.
Personally, I’m most excited about the mass adoption ability without excess software needs