When it comes to custom web development, there seems to be a lot of talk between the three different platforms for video and animation. Flash has been the most used platform for streaming videos and animations but HTML5 and Silverlight are attempting to take its place. What separates these three technologies, and will one of them ultimately prevail over the others?
Everybody is familiar with Flash, especially when it comes to custom software development. It’s used on major websites such as YouTube, Hulu, and other video sites. The technology is also used on portable electronic devices and more companies are trying to support the format for their users. The fact of the matter is that Flash is deeply rooted into computer users and is used by almost all users.
As you may know, HTML is the programming code we use to create websites. You can go to any website and view source in order to read the HTML code in which it is written. HTML5 was released with new features, specifically the ability to include audio and video within the code. The addition of this feature will result in Flash no longer being necessary for multimedia, greatly impacting the market between these three mediums.
Silverlight is a plug-in designed by Microsoft that allows users to stream video, audio, and interactive content. This plug-in is designed to work with all operating systems and will also support all the major browsers out there. It doesn’t matter if you use Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer — Silverlight is made to work with all of them. Silverlight is an already-popular, growing alternative to Flash. Some notable companies already leveraging Silverlight include Netflix and Major League Baseball. Netflix’s instant streaming player and MLB’s video highlights and news clips both rely on Silverlight.
With the release of HTML5 and the growing popularity of Silverlight, many people in the tech world and Internet experts are saying that Flash will no longer be necessary. Some are going as far as saying that these two technologies will render Flash obsolete. In order to get an accurate prediction of what will happen, you really have to look at the user base.
When you think about it, Flash already exists in the core of our computer and electronic device usage. Many of us are not even aware that we are using Flash and don’t really want to deal with anything new. As for web developers, there is a huge community supporting Flash and the use of it.
This means that it will be really hard to replace Flash altogether. Consider that some of the most trafficked websites on the Internet use Flash, it will also be a big move to replace it. Of course there are some sites like YouTube and Vimeo that are adapting to technologies such as HTML5. That does show that it is being considered and in some cases accepted.
Silverlight application development will improve as it becomes more used and the user base grows. While some are saying that it may outshine HTML5, you have to understand that no tool is right for every job. It will be an option for web developers to support Silverlight but different jobs will require HTML and Flash.
HTML5 also has limitations. It cannot stream video according to the user’s bandwidth. This means that subscription sites like Netflix will have issues with HTML5. Silverlight also has weaknesses. It is designed on Expression Blend and Expression Design which many designers don’t use.
Silverlight is also browser-based and cannot be used on applications. It also will not support H.264 video codec. Of course when you talk about the limitations, you have to understand that Microsoft will be making improvements in order to keep its product up to speed with the its high profile competitors.
While HTML5 and Silverlight are exciting technologies, it’s hard to say that they will replace Flash. HTML5 and Silverlight have to be promoted and will have to persuade the majority of the population that uses Flash. This will be a tough uphill battle and may be a losing one. Both developers and users are used to Flash and use it on everything from their computers to mobile devices like Android-powered smartphones and tablets.
It may seem like this is a battle between Silverlight, Flash, and HTML5, but Silverlight and HTML5 may actually be alternate ways to deliver the same result for users. Developers looking for custom software development may find many unique uses for the new technologies but it’s really hard to say that either one will replace Flash altogether. In the end, the real benefit will be the users. As these technologies continue to compete with one another, the quality of the products delivered via these mediums will increase, providing a superior user experience.