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Posted July 20, 2010

The Over-Exaggerated Death of Flex and Flash


The war between Adobe’s Flash and Apple’s support for HTML5 continues to heat up. The first set of battles between Apple and Adobe have reached a standstill for the moment. Adobe is pushing Flash for Android (which is awesome, on my new Google Nexus One, by the way). Meanwhile, the Apple-backed SproutCore project makes HTML5 a viable platform for developers to adopt today.

In spite of the Apple marketing machine, we’re betting that Flex and Flash still have their parts to play in the future of the web. After all, how can we just forget about the massive installed base? Flash is now on 98 percent of computers. More importantly, Flex and Flash have comprehensive tool sets that developers still need. Flash is the single browser plug-in that provides consistency for a chaotic and scattered web world. There are things that HTML and Javascript can’t do well, like webcam capture, media-streaming, and full-screen video. And let’s not forget -- a huge segment of the web is gaming, which wouldn’t be possible (so far) without Flash. As YouTube recently noted: “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.” Should we just abandon everything that we’ve known for HTML5 because it is new and exciting?

I’ll admit that even I have drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and see HTML5 for its role in the future of the web. Sauce specializes in cross-browser web app testing and HTML5 is easier to integrate with Selenium. However, the web is bigger than HTML and JavaScript. HTML5 is the future, but we live in the now. Though growing, HTML5 does not yet have the adoption that Flex and Flash have.

It’s this installed base that Sauce Labs is committing to with our announcement of the Sauce Flash-Flex Testing System.

The newest Selenium-based solution, the Sauce Flash-Flex Testing System provides testing of Flex applications on the Flash platform. Other tools in the marketplace can only test Flex applications, but the Sauce Flash-Flex Testing System covers the entire Flash platform. While Flex is a great tool for many developers, the two biggest markets on the web -- gaming and advertising -- are based on Flash, not Flex.

So, while we’re all excited for HTML5, rumors of Flash’s death are greatly exaggerated. Demand for Flash wont die. To a lot of people, Adobe may seem like yesterday’s news. But since not everyone has an iPad or an iPhone, the answer is still Flash and Flex, even if it’s not the new hotness.

To this strong base of Flex and Flash users: try out our Sauce Flash-Flex Testing System and give us your feedback.

Jul 20, 2010
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