The Bull Og

Onine since 1994. Offline since 1976.

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At work, I'm transitioning off of the Mail team into a project where we'll be prototyping some new functionality in HTML5.

While I originally thought we would be analyzing HTML5 as it will affect organizational strategy (can you imagine how much impact that would have?) it turns out that we'll be implementing prototypes for a very specific need. Either way, it's very exciting to be working in this emerging space in a team of top-notch FEs along with one of Yahoo's top UEDs. Although not an explicit thought-leadership effort per se, I'm sure engineering will inform strategy will inform engineering.

On that note, I've started to reflect on the Adobe vs. Apple fight and future of RIAs, particularly in the online advertising space. According to the Apple iPhone OS 4 keynote:

"Users spend 30 minutes a day in apps. Say an ad every 3 minutes...10 ads per day. We'll be at 100 million devices soon, so that's 1 billion ad opportunities per day."

1B impressions/day, as achieved with HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript?!? That's certainly nothing to sneeze at. Is Flash really on its way out as the default interactive media platform? How long before it's replaced by HTML5, if at all?

I don't personally think that the move by Apple will completely eliminate the need for Flash, ever, even if the company continues its rapid growth in the mobile hardware sector. As much as I - as a web developer - would like to simplify my life by having one language (for both client and server-side) on one platform, I know we won't ever get there (proof? that would imply a monopoly and current US regulation prohibits that, no?)

After some reflection on just how much has been invested in Flash as an industry standard in the last 14 years in addition to reading this article and its comments, I would tend to agree with this assessment on the future of Flash.

I have found myself wondering: "for all those developers and businesses who have legacy systems built around Flash, how will they transition from Flash to HTML5?" and that's when I remembered OpenLaszlo. It's been a while since I've looked at it, but I was duly impressed by its ability to generate both SWF and DHTML output.

For all of you developers who have never touched Flash in your life and are jumping on the HTML5 band-wagon right now, you have bright futures in 3-5 years when HTML5 matures and you're already experts on it. For all of you SMBs (and enterprises?) who have heavy investments in Flash and want to migrate to capture more market-share, I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to port your current solutions to OpenLaszlo and "compile" for both Flash- and non-Flash-enabled platforms. I think there's a real opportunity for OpenLaszlo and the company behind it - Laszlo systems - to assist in the transition and/or bridge the gap as HTML5 becomes more of an industry standard.

Disclosure: I am an Apple fanboy, in spite of everything that's happened recently with their developer policies, but I do not have any interest in Laszlo Systems.