Does Flash win over HTML5 for interactive design tool development?

As HTML5 is still in the evolution phase, it’s early to derive any conclusions, but we have seen an increasing demand from our customers to design tool applications in HTML5 so that in addition to web browsers it can reach to mobile browsers specifically on Safari for iPad users.

They expect to reach a wider audience (web as well as mobile users) with just one universal application. As now each mobile browsers and web browsers support HTML5, their expectations are reasonable.

With this increasing demand, our team did a thorough analysis of the subject that whether HTML5 can really replace Flash for developing interactive design tools.

I would like to share what are the results of their analysis:

  • Flash is supported by 99% of the available web browsers, while only 40% fully support HTML5.
  • Though most modern browsers can support HTML5, each one is having different HTML5 implementations, which leads to the major concern over browser compatibility and increase development timeframe.
  • There are many advanced effects that are only available in Flash or Silverlight or JavaFX. HTML5 still has a long way to go for providing all those advanced features.
  • HTML5 is gaining visibility for simple interactivity including charting, some limited 3D vector graphics, image transforms, video, audio, etc. But advanced effects and interactive features still look far away.
  • Flash is still the most stable and unified platform for developing interactive applications. Applications can be developed for Flash with fewer technical restrictions and greater speed than is currently possible in HTML5.

We have even started developing our design tool solution on HTML5 and here are initial differences that we have encountered:

  • With HTML5 image masking is neither up-to-the-mark nor smooth. Flash does the job much better.
  • Flash is much faster in calculating areas and diameters for accurate printable outputs.
  • Features like Drag/Scale and Zoom also work better in Flash as compared to HTML5.
  • Flash can directly communicate with remote services, whereas HTML5 cannot.

We agree that HTML5 is a noble platform that has the potential of upstaging Flash in more ways than one, but it is presently a work in progress. With the current study, in our opinion, HTML5/SVC/CSS3/JavaScript is far from a viable Flash replacement. The best option for developing an interactive and user-friendly design tool application right now still seems to be Flash.

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