HTML5 vs Flash – Developer Perspective

This is my perspective of the HTML5 vs Flash debate, which in all honestly is no debate. Both HTML5 and Flash will work together to push the internet forward. I’m using real-world examples of HTML and Flash, and HTML5 on the iPhone. Please also view this video Please people, make your own decisions rather than accepting what Apple tells you!


  • While Flash is arguably more “versatile” (or I suppose ‘interactive’ might be a better way to put it), large Flash applications have trouble running on low-end hardware. That includes netbooks. Case in point: The ASUS EeePC puts the fan into blast mode when I’m watching a full screen YouTube video, and the video itself suffers from noticable framerate drops.

    Of course, the same thing applies to smartphones: the hardware simply isn’t good enough yet to run Flash as smooth as a desktop.

  • Flash is extremely good for a PC, but not good for phones. So.. Adobe should come up with some program to be as easy as HTML, but as strong as Flash for all devices. Even smart phones.

  • Dude I’m so glad you did this Video I think people who think HTML5 is better or the ones who can’t program in flash which is sad but like you said Flash is so much better it has it’s own compiler there is no comparison with that not just a standalone web browser which uses you a lot of your computer processing power for average experiences

  • My firefox on mac is using 75% CPU as I’m watching this video in Flash. I wonder if HTML5 can perform better. Isn’t so called HTML5 really not just HTML5 syntax, but also jQuery and AJAX incorporated together? So wouldn’t the performance problem really just javascript…?

  • @michaelsv10 I think you are getting confused by different canvas content types, the Quake demo uses webGL which is generally speaking, hardware accelerated, what you are talking about with redrawing each pixel would be the 2D content which is not Hardware accelerated in most browsers. WebGL only works in certain versions of Firefox and Chrome right now but should be seeing more broad line implementation hopefully within the next year or so.

  • @hongyi444 that would be a broken test right now due to some firefox issues that Mozilla probably won’t admit to. Namely that plugin-container which firefox now runs all plugin’s in, is broken, horrific and really bad on resources. A different browser like Opera, Safari or IE would give better comparisons… then again Firefox ALWAYS has some issue or another in performance, and a number of memory leaks that always appears to be above 1… (when the others don’t seem to have any…)

  • EXCELLENT video. Great comparisons between the processing requirements, and straightforward demonstration of flash on a touch screen. Great to see someone with real practical knowledge on the subject really get down to the facts. Not just giving over-enthused, optimistic hypotheticals. However. I do think that with HTML5 just now being released the coding is not going to be the best optimized version possible. Also, Firefox isn’t the best browser to test with. Still, Apple’s own website fails

  • (cont) on iphone? Thats horrible. What I would like to know is, the real reason for Apple’s avoidance of Flash. Do you have any ideas on that?

  • Since this video, the Firefox JavaScript engine has been improved. I think HTML5 tests in Chrome would prove to be much more efficient.

    As for the performance of the fade effect on the iPhone, the iPhone takes a screenshot of the page after it is rendered and gives that to the user to increase speed, that’s the reason the fade effects don’t work out very well.

  • @ktils Are you sure you really understand what HTML is?
    Flash uses more processing power than html5.
    HTML5 is better cos it cuts out on one program that uses resources: flash.

  • @noxabellus what do you need flash for? the only thing i allow flash in my browser for is online video streaming. and its horrible. its a plugin that runs a very limited video player inside your browser. instead, just use a real video player like VLC. the problem is, youtube wont let you use VLC, they could, but they dont do it.

  • @noxabellus in fact, for all the things you use flash on the net for, there is a better alternative. even on mobile devices, where performance is a big issue, there are apps to watch youtube videos for iphone. you wont need your browser or a slow resource-hungry flash plugin for that. so why use flash?

  • this video is really pointless. you tried to prove performence differences between html5 and flash by comparing examples of totally different applications. for html5 you use proof-of-concept applications from a DEMO-site. yes, people played around and wouldnt bother about performance. its about what canvas CAN do, not HOW WELL it goes. on the other hand you dont offer any explanation for your observation. the easiest would be the fact, that no browser offers hardware-support for html5.

  • The main difference between Flash and HTML5 for me is DRM support for video. As a person who copyrights my work and believes in intellectual property I think lack of DRM is not good for artists nowadays.

  • @bobbystar101 There is just wayyy more to the subject then this. What about when nvidia drops a quad core processore for phones? thats gonna be nuts. Also with flash and html 5 any front end/ interactive developer knows that as it stands both flash and what html5 carries both work alongside each other. Not everything should be done in flash,but as far as any complex form of animation and or interactive experience html5 cant handle that right now.

  • @123Fusselbirne Not really,as a developer for a large agency, some of the complex interactive sites these companys pay millions for would in no way be possible with just javascript ( for the time being ). However navigations and simple image galleries sure.

  • @fresh81steez can you give an example of one or more of those features this “complex interactive” sites should have? i cant imagine anything you could not also do with js/canvas, which you would also want to see on a website as a user.

  • @noxabellus Its simple really, there are literally hundreds of sites offering flash video content in the way of movies, tv shows and other content, some offering for free while others charging. Apple wants a cut of everything that runs on its devices – hence the App Store and iTunes, they know that if they allow flash to run on their devices they will not be able to cash in on the revenue generated by the online suppliers.

  • Adobe is the multimedia hierarchy at the moment and Apple is just trying to find ways to attack them.

    That’s what boot-camp and and parallels is for, now that i mention that, i notice a lot of MacBooks running windows 7 rather the OSX at school and at cafes.

  • For the record, I have a g4 MacMini and it crashes whenever i stream flash videos, but my old win XP laptop which very close in specs runs no problem. It’s a bullshit Apple thing. But it good to find new and develop new solutions for something that should be universal i.e. the web, I don’t their should be a monopoly when it comes to viewing the web. What if adobe started to charge to use and have flash. In that case at least we have have a more developed version of HTML 5 that free anduniversal

  • Nice vid.

    I myself have been trying to explain this and several other reasons that Flash won’t die anytime soon, but most people just regurgitate the same Apple talking points over and over. A lot of them cite the poor performance of Flash on the Mac as proof that it’s crap. When I try to explain WHY it’s sh!t on the Mac, they just don’t want to hear it.

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