About this recent HTML5 vs Flash video fuss

Ever since last week, this seems to be all people can talk about it. It’s the latest chapter in the standards vs. Flash war that has been so popular of late. I find this kind of conversation very interesting. It’s amazing to see how our industry reacts to the prospect of changes like this. Especially how it always seems to have to be framed as life or death battle.

Youtube and Vimeo’s public HTML5 betas are a first step into making HTML5 video a common thing on the web. In the grand scheme of things, thanks to our pal Internet Explorer, very few people have the option of joining these beta. This is the very beginning, not the end. It’s pretty hard to make anything but predictions at this point. Both HTML5 and Flash have time and room to grow what they can do with video.

Plenty of other folks have posted on the facts of the debate at hand, so I won’t rehash those. Instead, there are two positive things I hope come out of this latest debate.

Two things I hope come out of this latest debate

A little more respect for HTML
It’s trendy to hate on the Flash Player lately, that’s for sure. But there is also a faction of Flash Developers — albeit a small group — who believe HTML/CSS/JS is below them. They say it’s “just HTML” and not worth their time. I’ve always thought that having even a working knowledge of how the web standards crew get things done makes you a better Flash Developer. I also think the reverse holds true. (In fact, why stop at just those two? There are so many out there!)

Even better options for video on the web
Competition is good, you can’t deny that. Having other legitimate options in the market forces all parties to make their product better. While we have heated debates over how evil Flash is or how HTML5 isn’t good enough yet, both sides will be working to make their “product” better.

In our line of work — interactive design & development — things are constantly changing and evolving. Technology moves fast, that’s what keeps this all so interesting and it pushes everyone to create amazing work.