I am looking for opinions with a little reason behind them for this question.

I am starting a new project for work that will need to be supported (by me) for the next 3 years. It is a suitable project to be done in HTML5, however, my boss doesn't think that HTML5 is supported enough yet to use. He is pushing me to do it in Flash. What does the community think about starting a new project in Flash when Flash appears to be dieing?

Also, what does the community think about using HTML5 for a project that won't be deployed for another 6 months?

closed as off topic by Patrick McElhaney Dec 3 '11 at 18:59

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  • This question isn't really on topic for UX. It might be accepted on Stack Overflow or Webmasters but you'll need to list what specific features you intend to use from HTML5 or Flash. – Patrick McElhaney Dec 3 '11 at 18:59
  • Adobe's recent blog post on how they've shifted focus with respect to HTML5 and Flash might shed some light on your decision. – Patrick McElhaney Dec 3 '11 at 19:06
  • Thanks Patrick. I am aware of what Adobe is saying. I was really interested to know what the community thought on the matter. This is surely not a question for stack overflow, and I believed it to be better suited here. I'm not going to try re-posting this elsewhere. – Boundless Dec 3 '11 at 19:11
  • people use iphones. that's usually argument enough to not go the Flash route. Adobe's recent decision only shows that they were thinking the same thing. – DA01 Dec 5 '11 at 14:47

IMHO the question is rather what audience do you intend to reach? If you are targetting mobile devices or Apple products, then HTML5 is definitely the way to go. AFAIK the time horizon for Flash support (even with the last version of Flash Mobile just being rolled out) is 1 year. Even for desktop applications, I don't know whether Adobe will make another 'flash' annoncement discontinuing support in the near future.

In addition, HTML5 is not that different from its predecessors. The 'main innovation' is the <canvas> tag, which in fact is a container for JavaScript code... so what's the big fuss? It's technology around since '94 if I'm not mistaken...

Ok, rants aside, I have two projects and we are just at a turning point, meaning, we have clarified the specs, but no coding has been done, so we can (relatively) easily change the dev tools. In both projects, the technology to be used would've been Flash. But now, we will opt for HTML5. I am not going to hide the fact that we faced pressure from other participants in our project to switch.

It is true that HTML5's support is not a solved question and it will probably remain that way for some more time, but with Adobe dropping support, pressure to get things straight in that department is bigger.

I admit that certain things were much easier to do in Flash and that a shift to HTML5 might be problematic for advanced features and probably your management sees it as a waste to leave that expensive software unused plus to invest any effort for the shift... But that's the way things go: who cannot cope with the change, is doomed.

Now on the user experience/usability end of things I believe it will be a bit of a rough start with the patchy support ther is right now, but if the product still needs to be there 3 years from now, I think HTML5 is a safer bet.

  • Thanks for the feedback. The application will be run only on desktop computers in elementary schools. We need to support basic animation and be able to time events around audio files (when a sound has finished playing a function is triggered). If we went with HTML5 and the browser didn't support the new audio capabilities our application wouldn't work properly. It's a little scary going with either choice knowing that I will be the one to support any problems. – Boundless Dec 3 '11 at 19:02
  • I can feel your pain... We've been scratching our heads for a couple of weeks, too. In education more often than not (except maybe for privately owned schools) software is used even years after support has stopped. Btw: one of our projects is about education software... So I agreed to choose HTML5 as a Flash developer... – Count Zero Dec 3 '11 at 19:21
  • You can use canvas now. Use excanvas to add support in IE. Something similar is probably possible with Flash as a fallback for audio. – Patrick McElhaney Dec 3 '11 at 19:28
  • @PatrickMcElhaney Being the one to have to support this application for years to come, do you think that I should push to have it done in HTML5 rather than Flash? I feel like this would be a better solution for the long run. – Boundless Dec 3 '11 at 19:31
  • @Boundless I think you need to establish a baseline for what browsers you'll support. If you can make it work with HTML5 and polyfills, you'll probably be able to address your boss's concerns. – Patrick McElhaney Dec 3 '11 at 19:44

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