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Flash vs. HTML5

If you’re curious as to which method of bringing people content is going to win out of the two, it’s worth having a look at this list. Flash, while on 99% of computers, lacks some advantages that HTML5 boasts. So which should you go for?

1) Performance

Flash is an extremely powerful tool if you know how to use it right. It loads quickly, is able to give the user access to games, animations, interactive charts, banner adverts – the possibilities are huge. But HTML5 boasts the same capabilities, so what puts Flash ahead? Primarily, ActionScript 3.0, which accelerates code execution by ten times what it was before. However, HTML5 does perform noticeably better on Mac and Linux computers, as Flash tends to overheat OSX machines due to excessive CPU usage.

2) Market presence

You cannot, and likely will not for many years, beat the presence of Flash on the average computer. It has a 99% install base, whereas HTML5 would be lucky to see 10% of that figure. The availability of Flash is a big deal – if you went to the o2 site and they had HTML5 running rather than Flash, chances are that most people would see that as one step too far away from usability, and that’s a big deal. But as HTML5 spreads, both may eventually be as common as each other.

3) Different Browsers

This is really where HTML5 falls flat on its face – it doesn’t run the same in all browsers, and Flash does. That’s a huge flaw in a market where someone could be using anything from IE to Firefox to Chrome, and you’ll struggle to justify the extra effort it takes to “localise” HTML5 content compared to building something in Flash that will work flawlessly in all browsers. However, it is worth noting that iOS devices still don’t support Flash, and likely never will, so be careful if you’ve got mobile browsing in mind.

These are just a few examples, but it’s clear that bar OSX and Linux performance, Flash will continue to outperform its rival for many years to come. But is it worth looking into HTML5? If you’re developing content tuned towards the iOS crowd, of course, but outside them, stick with Flash.