Gone in a Flash

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Reimaging Business and Tech in the Digital Age

The next generation of browser technology is Hypertext Markup Language version 5 (HTML5). The transition, which is as slow as any in which a widely deployed format is changed, got a boost this week as Google made important announcements.

The company said on its AdWords G+ profile that display advertisements using Flash won’t be accepted on AdWords or DoubleClick Digital Marketing after June 30. Flash ads will no longer run at all on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick beginning January 2 of next year.

The story at 9to5 Google on the announcement provides three options to help adjust to the new procedure. The attraction of HTML5 is that functions that formerly were plug-ins now are native elements. This vastly simplifies operations. Getting to HTML5 is a long and winding road, however:


Google’s movement towards HTML5 has been a relatively lengthy process, first launching a new HTML5 ad development tool for web designers about three years ago. It took the company around five years to make HTML5 the default media format on YouTube. While, last year, it introduced a new AdWords tool for automatically converting Flash to HTML5.

The flash point – pun intended – is video. The arc website traces the decline of Flash over the years. Two main events stand out: The late Steve Jobs bypassed it for the iPhone in 2010 and the hacking of the security firm (ironically named The Hacking Team) through Flash. Those events apparently put the handwriting on the wall and led, eventually, to the next body blow, which was the announcement made this week.

Though the quest is simplicity, HTML5 nonetheless is complex. SearchMobileComputing’s Robert Sheldon offers a bit of a primer of HTML5 apps. He begins with a definition:

HTML5 apps offer write once, run anywhere mobile app development. They are a collection of webpages optimized for mobile devices that bring advanced capabilities for streaming video and audio data, handling graphics and animation and providing offline support. They also add semantic elements, form controls and multimedia components, as well as a number of new APIs that support geolocation services, drag-and-drop operations, local application caching and more.

Many of the questions Sheldon deals with involve the differences between creating the apps in HTML5 or in the native language of the browser being used. To make things even more complex, hybrid apps, which combine elements of native and HTML5, are possible. The year ahead will see HTML5 gain penetration as the developer community says goodbye to Flash.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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