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Adobe Flash not going out without a fight

Adobe’s Flash Player has been in the news recently, and looked like it was being shown the door by the new kid on the block – HTML5. The main difference being the while Adobe’s Flash was proprietary, HTML5 is an Open Standard. Well Flash still has, a few, Aces up its sleeve and is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

In another one of my posts I talked about Video Streaming, and how the most popular format in use in the Webhosting industry today is Flash. I also mentioned that YouTube was contemplating a move to HTML5 as its standard. Well a recently published post on the YouTube developer’s blog says that after having had some time to work with HTML5, there are a few needs the HTML5 tag is unable to meet for a site like YouTube:

Standard Video Format

Sites like YouTube require all browsers to support a standard format. You can imagine the complications if users were allowed to upload videos in a format of their choice. Due to concerns about patents and licensing, some browsers do not support H.264; this in turn has prevented the HTML5 spec from requiring support for a standard format.

Robust video streaming

Flash Player allows applications to manage the downloading and playback of video via Actionscript in conjunction with either HTTP or the RTMP video streaming protocol, thus allowing users to get to the part of the video they want to watch. There is currently no such standard for HTML5, with a number of vendors and organizations working to improve the experience of delivering video over HTTP. Hopefully they can all decide on a single standard.

Content Protection

HTML5 currently doesn’t support Digital Right Management. So those owners of the videos that wish to control their videos and ensure they are not redistributed, will not be able to do so with HTML5. They currently use the Flash Platform’s RTMPE protocol, allowing YouTube to rent out videos.

Encapsulation + Embedding

If you’ve watched a video on YouTube, you’ll know that you don’t just see a video. If required users can add captions, annotations, and advertising to their videos. While HTML5 adds sandboxing and message-passing functionality, Flash is the only mechanism most web sites allow for embedded content from other sites.

Fullscreen Video

With HTML5, it is not possible to view videos in Fullscreen. This is because browsers will not allow javascripts to enable its fullscreen mode, nor will they allow a portion of the page to fill the screen. Flash Player uses hardware-accelerated fullscreen displays.

Camera and Microphone access

Users are able to record videos directly to YouTube via their browsers using their mic and webcam. Flash Player has provided rich camera and microphone access for several years now, while HTML5 is just getting started.

I’d like to end this post from a quote from John Harding, Software Engineer at YouTube – “While HTML5’s video support enables us to bring most of the content and features of YouTube to computers and other devices that don’t support Flash Player, it does not yet meet all of our needs.“. So don’t un-install FlashPlayer just yet ;).


About the Author:

Hamish works as a Senior Software Engineer in Bobcares. He joined Bobcares in July 2004, and is an expert in Control panels and Operating systems used in the Web Hosting industry. He is highly passionate about Linux and is a great evangelist of open-source. When he is not on his xbox, he is an avid movie lover and critic.


Bobcares
Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.
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